Keeping her grounded: Not good, not bad

Lately I’ve noticed that I’ve tried to guide my daughter to do the ‘right’ thing by acknowledging her as a “Good girl” when she’s doing it right and trying to find positive spins when she’s getting it wrong. Then at the same time I also believe that assigning labels is not a healthy thing regardless of what the label is — people are always changing and nobody wants to be pigeonholed/typecast. So the irony of my own actions was lost on me until recently.

Obviously as a parent I’m trying to encourage certain behaviors and downplay others, so this “Good girl” label was an easy fit for my strategy. But I’ve realized that nobody is good or bad, we are just as we are, and our actions could be caused my a myriad of causes such as being hungry, being over full, not having enough sleep, still being caught up in the thoughts/emotions of earlier events, etc. So recently I’ve started trying to tell her that she’s just M, and that if she makes a mistake she’s not bad, but then she’s also not good just because she does things that are not mistakes. She just IS.

I’ll love her regardless so she should just be whom she is, try her best, let things happen as they may and do what she can with what she’s got. Taking the pressure off trying to fix all the little things, as well as stopping the labelling of her based on her changing behaviour has made for more authentic and positive interactions.