There’s something I’ve only recently discovered. There have been situations when I thought that my daughter didn’t understand or hear something, or that she was simply unaware of what was going on. It’s also possible that it was I who was unaware of the small being next to me, who carefully watched all I did and took in all I said.
I understand that now. A couple of days ago I had an unpleasant phone call with her father, and I told him that he was never around and didn’t give a damn about anything. When I put the phone down, I saw my daughter’s worried face. She was standing next to me the whole time and heard every word.
I thought that she was still too young and immersed in her own world or in a game, that she couldn’t possibly hear all I said or even interpret my emotions.
Who knows how many times I was in a foul mood? I’ve sometimes quarrelled with people over the phone when she was around, she witnessed many arguments that I thought she couldn’t possibly comprehend. Or perhaps I didn’t care enough. I now realize that every single one of those occasions has probably left an imprint and that it won’t be shaken off so easily.
This doesn’t go only for single parents. It is true that we are in a more delicate situation so we simply have to pay more attention to what our children see or hear us do or say.
My daughter always notices my moods.
She has heard and understood my argument with her father.
Each time I was upset, she felt it.
Is there any way that it could be good for her? Should we burden our children with our problems and frustrations? I don’t think so. I’m convinced we should do our best to spare them and keep our troubles and negative thoughts to ourselves.
A friend, who is also a shrink, once told me that bringing up a child by a single parent is like walking a thin line: it requires exceptional acrobatic skills and much pretence. She also said that it was very important for a child to see a self-confident, positive and stable mother, who can be a true role model.
I can only hope that it’s not too late for me to correct all my mistakes and make sure my daughter’s not permanently affected by the events she has witnessed.