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Sunday, 13 April 2014

The day Diella pierced her own ear (a mother's perspective)

I remember thinking that I had given Diella lots of freedom to pierce at a young age.
"Mom, I want another piercing", she had announced.
"No, I think two sets of holes is enough for now," I answered.

She had also showed interest in piercing her own ear. I had told her not to do it. Then one afternoon I come home to meet Diella in HIGH spirits – In actual fact, it felt like she was on a high. When I found out what she had done I was confused and bewildered by her behavior. She had pierced her own ear with a safety pin! The atmosphere in the home had become charged with emotion (her excitement and my anger). She was 13 years old at the time and as a mother, I felt enraged. 

I didn't know how to handle it and I paced the floor quietly seething. 
“How much more freedom does she need?” I asked myself.

The more important issue in my mind was that she had gone against my expressed wishes. I was also unnerved at the ”high” she was experiencing. I had this notion that, “people hurt themselves to experience an altered state of mind” (not that I knew much about self-harm at the time). I was scared and felt out of control as I wasn’t only worried about septicemia but also what the future might hold if we continued in this direction.  It slowly dawned on me: that “teen-dom” had crept up behind us and was about to flatten us and it was a horrible feeling. 

My reaction when I feel enraged is to withdraw to a place in myself in order to re-group. My concern is that if I don’t do this I might say or do something I will regret. It is my type of damage control. As I withdrew I realized that it is important to consider Diella’s heart and intentions. Apart from asking yourself what the motivation might be; also ask yourself what you both might learn from the situation.

I realized that I needed to be firm about safety issues so I put boundaries in place. How one communicates is important. Acceptance and understanding are things we all look for from others. I needed to be mindful and respectful of Diella’s feelings. Badly expressed anger can cause deep shame in the recipient. This does not build self-esteem. By communicating in respectful manner we teach them how they can respect themselves.

A child's growth.
My overall aim for my children is to develop self-esteem and interdependence. Ihis is a lifelong journey of self-discovery  and growth.They will discover that they are not always in charge of their emotions and actions; this can be quite bewildering to both parent and child as they find their way in mastering their emotions. Somebody once told me that I need to stand firm like a bulwark that weathers the waves crashing against it. While it is challenging to remain calm and self-controlled, as the parent, it is our duty to model the behavior we want to see our children eventually displaying as adults. Maneuvering through the minefields of this journey can bring up some really tricky stuff for parents as we are continually reminded of our own youth.

Keep pondering while you drink your tea.

A warm smile,


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