Self Esteem Issues at 3?

Last night, I had a meeting in the evening. My husband's job was to get the kids to bed. We've had a few issues with this lately as Anna has decided to pee right before bed....all over the floor. The last time it resulted in a time out from dad. This wouldn't have been my response, but that's not the point. So after I returned from my meeting and asked hubby about the evening, this is what I found out.

Anna once again peed on the floor. But didn't tell anyone until Alex stepped in it and flipped out. Anna was found upstairs changing her clothes. Smart. Hubby fussed at her again and she cried. He could hear her crying in her room later on and overheard her say, "I can't do anything."

Can I just say, this totally broke my heart and made me weep. My little girl thinks she can't do anything. Where would she get that? Why would she say that? And how do I let her know that of course, she can do lots of things? Poor thing.


Jon said...

I'm commenting mostly to get alerted to other comments to see if anyone has any good ideas. I'll also share that I remember feeling that way at around 6 (and 16, and 26, and 36, oops shared too much) or so mostly because my 4 y.o. sister could swim and do math better than me at the time.

My suggestion would be to focus on what she *can* do, and fill her head with those thoughts, rather than focusing on what she can't/isn't doing yet.

MommyWizdom said...

I know it's heartbreaking to hear your child say that... however, she is "more than likely" just repeating something she's head someone else say, be it on TV, at school, or even at home. Kids do tend to take things out of context.

However, since she was voicing this to herself, I would have to agree with Jon. Spend time with her to focus on the things she's good at. Show her that you have short comings too and that everyone has "different" strengths. Then, I would discuss with Hubby what behavior constitutes "time out." If nothing else so that you're both on the same page. Good luck.

I would've cried too.

MamaBird said...

Oh, sweetie. Hopefully she was just echoing - even if it was to herself - but I agree with PPs. I read recently that kids as old as 8 don't understand how to deal with constructive criticism (they can only process positive feedback). So keep telling her what she's doing well - put a different message in her head to compete.