Creating Lifelong Memories for Kids: A Mom’s Lesson on Avoiding Mistakes

It’s completely normal to lose your patience as a parent. After all, kids can be quite a handful.

Recently, a mom’s moment of frustration led to a significant realization about how these lapses can affect children, but also how simple it can be to address them.

The mom’s impatience sparked an insight into the potential for creating lasting negative memories for kids.

We all have memories from our childhood of being scolded or reprimanded for something that was important to us, even if it seemed trivial to our parents at the time.

These interactions, though seemingly inconsequential to adults, have a more significant impact on a child’s developing brain. Otherwise, why would we still remember them decades later?

Related: Father’s Response To His Toddler’s Failed Attempt At Pouring Milk Sparks Parenting Debate

Radio personality Jelly Santos had an awakening after a seemingly minor interaction with her daughter left the little girl visibly upset.

“Lemme tell you how easy it is to create lifelong bad memories for your kids,” she wrote on X, aka Twitter. “The other day a conversation about lipstick with my toddler reminded me how easy it is to cause damage to these little beings.”

Santos lost her patience when her daughter smeared lipstick on her face while they were running late.

Santos and her daughter enjoy playing with makeup, often engaging in a game where her daughter creates wildly adorable makeup looks for her mom. However, on this particular day, her daughter’s timing couldn’t have been worse.

Photo: @MrsJellySantos / X

“We were running late. She decided to take my lipstick and smear it on her face,” Santos wrote on X. She “got upset” and said things that every kid has likely heard at some point.

Photo: @MrsJellySantos / X

From an adult perspective, this may seem unimportant, but kids lack the understanding to assess these interactions. In this case, Santos’ daughter’s favorite way of bonding with her mom suddenly became an act for which she was being reprimanded. This momentary impatience likely felt to her like a complete rejection or betrayal.

Santos immediately recognized this. “Her face. The hurt. Omg. I felt bad,” she wrote. “​​Her lip moved. Her tears formed. And I realized how much that hurt her.”

She then employed her gentle parenting skills. She stopped, apologized for getting angry, and allowed her daughter to express her emotions. “She let the tears roll,” Santos said, and after fixing the lipstick, “she smiled and gave me a hug. But it stayed with me.”

Related: Certified Parenting Coach Explains How Gen X Parents ‘Went Too Far’ And Messed Up Their Kids

The mom’s realization about the impact of her impatience on her daughter’s actions and how she rectified it.

The following day, a similar interaction with her daughter shed light on the potential damage of her impatience and how she could address it.

Photo: @MrsJellySantos / X

Santos noticed that her daughter was being unusually cautious while playing with makeup this time. She realized that her anger from the previous day had made her daughter fearful of upsetting her.

“I knew I was the reason. So I said lemme see your lipstick. And she says ‘look mommy. I don’t look like a clown today,'” Santos wrote. “And there it was. Damage waiting.”

The mom’s conversation with her daughter about the previous day’s incident and its positive resolution.

Santos explained to her daughter that what happened the day before wasn’t wrong and reassured her that she could still enjoy playing with lipstick at appropriate times.

Photo: @MrsJellySantos / X

“I had to check myself so fast,” Santos said. In the end, avoiding the creation of negative memories for her daughter was as simple as offering validation.

“I said baby listen. Mommy likes clown lipstick when we’re home. It makes us both happy right?” Santos wrote, sharing that her daughter’s “eyes lit up.” She made a deal with her little girl, agreeing that when they were getting ready to go out, they would tone down the makeup, but at home, they could go wild with the lipstick like clowns.

Simple as it seemed, Santos learned a valuable lesson: “That one moment could’ve stayed with her forever had I not corrected myself.”

It may seem trivial, but Santos’ experience reveals a significant reality. Therapists affirm that when kids get reprimanded for things they don’t understand, it can make them feel fearful and ashamed, affecting their cognitive development.

More importantly, it can flood their bodies with stress hormones, triggering “fight-or-flight” mode and potentially leading to the creation of “bad memories” or traumas, impacting their self-esteem and making them more susceptible to anxiety or depression. It can also have physical effects.

It is normal for parents to lose their patience, but Santos’ story illustrates that it’s also possible to avoid these situations and rectify them. It only requires a moment to “check yourself” and reassure kids that they are safe and accepted, even when it may seem unimportant to adults.

Related: College Student Explodes After Learning Her Mom Went To A Hotel Because The Teen Coming Home For The Holidays ‘Traumatizes’ Her​

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.


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