Yesterday, Zoe's camp class was taking a field trip to one of those places that is full of trampolines. It seemed like a perfect fit for my high-energy daughter, but she refused to go. Apparently one of her fellow campers said she had already been 4 times and Zoe, who had never been, felt intimidated and scared ... hence the refusal to go.
When I dropped her off at camp this morning, all of her friends were telling her how much they missed her yesterday, including the 4-time camper, and Zoe started mouthing off about how that girl said she had been 4 times and it wasn't fair. That little girl defended herself and said, "I said I had been 1 time before, not 4!"
Now I don't know who was telling the truth ... really it could go either way with 6-year-olds ... but what I do know is that poor Zoe was not handling things well. By the time I left, she was standing around by herself looking sad, which made me sad.
I was one of those kids who had no friends, and I'm terrified that Zoe will suffer the same fate as me, so it's always top-of-mind for me. On the drive home, I called my husband to discuss the situation with him. On top of this morning's scene, Zoe told us last night that no one liked her and that none of the other campers wanted to play with her. I wondered after this morning, if she was bringing it upon herself. My husband wondered if we were causing it by the way we treat Zoe and talk to her. Sadly we are both guilty of trying to get her to behave by telling her that no one will want to hang out with her if she does X, Y or Z.
When I got home, I did a Google search on building self confidence in children and found a interesting article by Dr. Sears titled 12 ways to help your child build self confidence. As I was reading the article, I remembered all of the times that I've been short with Zoe because I'm stressed - mostly due to my job but also just household stuff in general. Lately I've been hard pressed to enjoy any time with my daughter because I'm always worried about a work deadline or what I'm making for dinner or when I'm going to have time to clean my house. If it's not one thing, it's another and since I work at home, that stress is ALWAYS present.
I'm cringing when I think about how many times I've probably made her feel like she isn't worthy of having any friends because she can't sit still or she whines a lot or complains too much. Ugh. I feel like such a bad mom and I really want to make an effort to change my behavior. I need to find a way to not let work or all of my other daily stresses get in the way of me raising a happy, healthy, self confident child.
Have any of you made an effort to reduce or even eliminate some of the stress from your life? If so, what kinds of things have you kicked to the curb to make your life more enjoyable?