I know my kids forgive because they've done it a lot. Which means: I've screwed up enough to need to be forgiven.
Originally Posted by kfillmore
I find the hardest thing about being a mom is not wanting to "teach" DD things that will make her have a difficult life. I mean things like confidence, trust in your intuition/feelings, trust, self-esteem, anger management etc. And I mean teaching them by accident meaning when you are angry or rushed etc. I am hoping you know sort of what I mean.
What if you turn this around -- what if you view these indeed as opportunities to teach, but opportunities to teach your child how an adult makes amends when they've screwed up. So, if you said something that you regret when you're angry, show your child how you apologize. If you didn't take the time you wanted to because you were rushed, connect with your child when you have more time and say you're sorry. If you're tired and cranky, model for your child how to stop and take care of yourself so you're not so cranky.
Here's what I think: Kids learn the most from the what happens most of the time. If you're mostly reasonable and compassionate, they can handle it if you fly off the handle once in a while. In fact, it might be good for them to see you do that. It teaches them that you too, have powerful emotions, and demonstrates how you calm down afterward. I've been known to go to my room and slam the door really really hard when I've lost it. Guess what my kids do when they're really angry? I don't see that as a bad thing.
It's also important to talk about emotions -- my kids and I do talk occasionally about getting angry/upset/cranky or whatever. I wish I could tell you how it comes up in conversation, but I can't. It just does. My kids have said things like "You're the best mom ever. Except when you yell." I acknowledge that I shouldn't yell so much. We talk about what we do when we get frustrated. We also share some good laughs about ridiculous things I've said when I'm mad.
At the same time, it's important that my kids experience some genuine emotion on my part. I'm not always chipper. I do get angry, sad, frustrated, cranky, the whole lot. If they never see me experience these emotions (and yes, sometimes react to them in ways that may be uncomfortable for them), then they get the idea that these emotions are so so scary they must be suppressed at all costs. That's not good for kids. You can't prevent your child from experiencing things that hurt. What you can do is to be there to listen to them, hold them and tell them you love them. Sometimes that's all you can do.
I strongly suspect there was more going on in your family life that led to your low self-esteem. A really good book that might help you is Dan Siegal's Parenting from the Inside Out. It talks specifically about the narratives we construct about our lives and how that affects parenting. http://www.amazon.com/Parenting-From-Inside-Daniel-Siegel/dp/1585422959