Frustration, scolding, and the ever-present guilt


My daughter came home and told me she got a portion of her periodical test completely wrong where she was supposed to give the time of a country given a certain time at the international dateline.  She said it was because she didn’t understand her teacher’s instructions.  Her teacher told her she will NOT accept the answer if she uses AM or PM, mostly likely, meaning for 12:00.   However, instead of writing noon for the 12:00 time, she wrote noon for ALL time answers, which her teacher obviously didn’t accept.

I got so frustrated and, as a result, angry at my daughter.  I felt it didn’t make any sense that all her answers should be noon and she should have asked.  In our mock tests, she answered in AM and PM.  If she had answered NOON for everything I would have been able to correct her.  In our mock tests at home, she perfected that portion of the test and actually found it very easy.  Getting almost zero in a portion of the test where the topic is something she was really good at was very frustrating.

I actually felt a vein in my head started to throb… I had to text a friend in order calm down (Thank you Sa) but only after I already scolded the heck out of her.

My daughter is stoic and strong so she took the scolding very well.  As usual, though, at the end of my ranting I felt very guilty.

I had a talk with her after I had calmed down and I told her we will just catch up and try harder for next semester but I begged her not to make the same mistakes.  I explained to her, if she came out of this learning from her mistake that she should ask when instructions are unclear and to review her mistakes (which I meant in line with other mistakes made in other subjects due to carelessness that I managed to not freak out over), then it all would have been worth it.

I told her everyone makes mistakes, even mama.  But we should all be careful not to do it again.

As an afterthought, it’s better that she experiences mistakes such as this early on in life rather than later.  She should learn to have the humility to ask if she doesn’t understand rather than waste time doing something completely wrong.  So in the end, I appreciated that this incident occurred.

Even though the incident is all but forgotten at our home, I still feel guilty sometimes about scolding her.  My husband insists it was necessary so that she will learn not to repeat the mistake.  Scolding children, no matter how valid the reason, is hard on not just the child… but on the parent as well.

So for now, I’ll just have to swallow my guilt… until the next instance comes along.

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