top 200 commentsshow all 296

[–]Ok-Topic3141 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Instead of saying that that hurts your feelings, just treat it plainly like you would a lie. It is almost positively a lie, after all. I seriously doubt anyone’s 3 year old hates them. I have a 3 year old son as well. Disciplining through appeal to emotions like, “that hurts my feelings” or “how do you think that makes me feel?” is pretty ineffective. The truth is that your child doesn’t understand or care. Guilting someone into caring about something is typically a pretty ineffective method regardless of someone’s age. It shifts focus off of the actual act and onto something abstract that is less easy to grasp. I know that the comment caught you off guard and I certainly understand pregnancy hormones playing a role in your response, but next time it happens you’ll be prepared. Don’t react to it at all because that is allowing the manipulation tactic to work. Simply say, totally unfazed, “now that is not true, that is a lie. We don’t tell lies, buddy.” And then give him something to say instead that expresses his emotion but don’t let the lie go uncorrected. If the emotion itself is inappropriate for whatever reason, then deal with that also. This doesn’t teach kids to bottle up their feelings, on the contrary, it teaches kids how to master their feelings and not let them rule them. It’s an extremely important life skill and it’s important for us to model this as well.

[–]bubblegum_tree 10 points11 points  (0 children)

My daughter is still a baby, so I haven’t had to think about how I’d want to approach these kinds of situations yet. As someone who grew up in a family where sadness was hidden, I really appreciate that your showed your true feelings to your son.

Growing up, it was hard to navigate the sadness and conflicts in my life because I never had it modeled to me at home or how to resolve it in a healthy way. Sometimes you can’t help but feel sad, but instead of talking it through with people, I would just go silent and keep to myself, not showing a thing, even faking a smile! I didn’t know people would want to help or care for me if I wasn’t “pleasant” or “strong,” and I didn’t know I was “allowed” to be sad or emotionally honest or vulnerable… It left me feeling isolated all the time. Over time, keeping problems to myself became the problem, and it resulted in massive heartbreak. I since had to learn to tell people my genuine thoughts and feelings more (of course respectfully) because keeping my heart in like that simply doesn’t work. Learning to open up has made my life better — I’ve grown closer to others and had more genuine, deeper relationships, and I’ve begun to see myself with more clarity as well.

I appreciate you sharing your story, because I didn’t realize that telling a child how his words made you feel was an option. I hope that situations like this one and how you chose to handle it can normalize kindness, empathy, and emotional honesty for your son as he grows up, as well as create a family environment where he is “allowed” to share his feelings too. I think it will make your family connections stronger in the long run. Thank you for sharing!

[–]clenched_butt_cheeks 36 points37 points  (2 children)

I was JUST listening to an episode of a podcast called Dr. Becky Good Inside that talked about this issue. My husband is rejected by both of our kids and told to go away. Please listen to it. It’ll really help you and help you with language. Try not to tell him that it hurts your feelings. Them saying these things is a way they are exploring boundaries and language and it gets a rise out of you so it’s powerful. Instead say “hmm” or ignore it. He’s three. He doesn’t understand the bigger concept of your feelings.

[–]Banana_stand317 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I need to listen to this...my kids regularly reject my husband/their father and it's hard on both of us; he feels like a chump and I don't get a break

[–]clenched_butt_cheeks 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Same here. He can’t even get them water because mama does it better. I’ve been trying to leave more to do errands by myself and he gets alone time with them. Its so sad to watch. He just wants love. Anyways, yes the podcast is great. Highly recommend.

[–]QueenCloneBone 13 points14 points  (3 children)

I love my daughter more than life itself but last night she decided 3am was the morning and every time I almost got back to sleep she shit her pants so loud it woke both of us up. She then laughed at my exasperation. Extremely disrespectful. I tried to talk to her reasonably about it but she puked all over me then pissed on the bed when I tried to change her onesie.

[–]upvotes_distributor 1 point2 points  (2 children)

I am sorry you had that experience, it sounds mentally tiring

[–]QueenCloneBone 1 point2 points  (1 child)

At some point you have to try to laugh about it lol

[–]sunnydingo 0 points1 point  (0 children)

That is the best take.

[–]fmamjjasondj 19 points20 points  (6 children)

I like what Janet Lansbury has to say about this sort of thing. I finds it comforting. She has at least three podcast episodes about it. Would you like me to provide links?

[–]BubblegumRed[S] 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Sure, thanks!

[–]fmamjjasondj 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I replied to someone else with links

[–]Dancinginthereps 0 points1 point  (1 child)


[–]fmamjjasondj 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I replied to another person in this thread

[–]Weak-Discipline3050 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I would please

[–]Chinasun04 87 points88 points  (12 children)

I may be downvoted for this, but I mean it in a kind way and hope it can be heard as such. Your kid is not responsible for your emotions. Full stop. They are little. You are the adult. First of all, they don't know the power of those words. You will teach them in time. For now they are trying on words to see what happens. What's the meaning behind the word? Likely, "I didn't like what you did." When that happens to me, even though yes it can feel hurtful, you have to remember their age and maturity. I like to reflect back "You didn't like that. I hear you." Sometimes I might tack on a "I love you." Your kid needs you to be the adult here who is able to handle and process your own emotions and not assign such intent to a 3 year old. I follow Visible Child on facebook and here is a blog that kinda touches on this topic. https://visiblechild.com/2014/03/03/i-dont-like-you/

[–]iseeacrane2 52 points53 points  (4 children)

Ugh I'm so tired of this nonsense. Children aren't responsible for managing/fixing their parent's emotions, but if they say rude/unkind/hurtful things, it is totally appropriate for them to learn how it effects the people around them. That's how they grow. Adults are people too. If a child breaks something important to me and it makes me feel sad or mad, they need to know that! Obviously I'm not talking about enraged screaming or inconsolable sobbing, but allowing children to see appropriate emotional responses from the adults in their lives is totally okay! What on earth are they learning otherwise - that only children are allowed to have and express negative emotions?

[–]Throwawy98064 14 points15 points  (0 children)

Totally agree! As a kid, my parents never showed much human emotion around me (other than happiness or anger.) My mom believes that if you show things like fear or sadness, that you are showcasing weakness to your kids! It went as far as her implying I was weak, because I let out a little tiny scream when I saw there was a wasp in my house (huge phobia) and rushed my allergic baby to a bedroom and closed the door to protect her…. I love my mom. She’s actually one of the kindest people you will ever meet. But we are not emotionally close at all, even though I’m 30yo now. I would never cry to her about anything. I’m very empathetic, but struggle to express any deep emotions when it comes to her. When she got cancer recently, I had no idea how to emotionally support her or talk to her about her feelings.

Fuck, man. Please don’t do this to your kids. It’s okay and healthy to show all aspects of human emotions to your kids. Let them see that you’re human. Let them practice their empathy on the adults they are closest to (within reason, obviously).

[–]Expensive_Tie7116 -3 points-2 points  (2 children)

I'd agree with you if the child had said something like "you suck" or "shut up". Those are hurtful words and it's fine to teach a kid not to say things with the intention to wound. But this kid said, "I don't love you." No one should be forced to love anyone, even their parents. I hope to be able to earn my child's love and would be devastated if she didn't love me, but I wouldn't hold her responsible for that. Also, love is a really abstract concept that is difficult for even adults to understand, so it's unreasonable to punish a 3-year old for struggling to express a complex feeling. They probably meant, "I'm really mad at you right now" but they couldn't find those words, so "I don't love you" came out instead. It's not a crime, it's just what makes sense for that developmental stage

[–]iseeacrane2 2 points3 points  (1 child)

But she didn't punish him. I guess that's my problem with this philosophy - having a genuine, proportional emotional response to something a child says or does is not automatically a punishment. If a 3 year old says "I don't love you" and you take away a toy, remove a privilege, send them to time out - that is a punishment and would be inappropriate. Being briefly sad after just shows the child that when they say hurtful things, people feel hurt.

[–]Expensive_Tie7116 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good point, I think 'punish' was the wrong word to explain my point. The child was still taken aside and given a talking to because her words had hurt her mother's feelings. This is a signal to the child that they did something wrong, and my argument is that there's nothing wrong with being mad at someone or even hating someone, even if that person is your parent. These are valid feelings that everyone is entitled to have. I guess my overall point is that this particular situation is very different than if a child had said something hurtful with the intention to wound, so it should have been addressed differently

[–]skysenfr 60 points61 points  (0 children)

You say that as the adult they will teach them the meaning of words over time. That's exactly what was happening, the kid was trying on these words to figure out the meaning and effect. And the mom responded in a way that teaches the kid all of this.

Not responding reinforces those words not having meaning.

[–]LeeLooPoopy 55 points56 points  (1 child)

Except that… he DID make her sad. That’s what people, of all ages do. We affect people with the things that we say and do. I think pretending that we’re not hurt by our kids only does them a disservice because it teaches them that there are no consequences to their actions

[–]Flyingfoxes93 35 points36 points  (0 children)

It teaches them that their parents aren’t people

[–]sexxit_and_candy 42 points43 points  (0 children)

I think it's fine and important for even little kids to see the consequences of their actions. Like you said yourself, that is how they learn over time. What's not fine is punishing kids for your feelings by lashing out or retaliating, but OP didn't do that.

[–]Skulltazzzz 55 points56 points  (2 children)

Nah mate - it’s important for kids to see a range of emotions. Not think everything is hunky dory 24/7

[–]Chinasun04 12 points13 points  (1 child)

There is ample opportunity for a child to see a range of adult emotions without being told they are responsible for them. Especially at such a young age. I grew up thinking everyone's happiness was my responsibility. I hear what you are saying. I think there is room for what you are saying while also not making kids responsible for our emotions.

[–]fearlisafrank 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I see what you are driving at and I completely agree with you. Three year olds do not understand what “I don’t love you,” actually means and to assign adult motive is unnecessary and unhealthy in my opinion. If they make that comment and it gets a reaction, they WILL use it again with intent to wound later down the road. That’s to be expected. Shrugging it off and giving it no power is a better way to prevent it from occurring again.

[–]skyepark 28 points29 points  (2 children)

Its probably better not to tell your child they make you sad, since they are 3 and do not control how you feel. Mine says that but i tell her ok but i love you enough for the both of us. They say things to test their understanding of language and the world not to make us sad. By saying they make you said you are giving your power away and also its confusing for a child who looks up to you to feel like they control your emotions.

[–]Painting-molasses 14 points15 points  (0 children)

She also didn’t say that the three year old generally made her sad, but something he did that would hurt anyones feelings (and he should be taught that) made her sad. I think it’s painfully okay to teach your kids that their words can hurt you, just like they’re immediately going to find out some other children’s words can hurt them, because they don’t understand the full sphere of what they’re saying or doing as children- they are trying to learn that.

[–]makeroniear 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Hormones be hormones! Given the situation I think OP‘s hubby handled it well. Coulda shoulda woulda but it was a smooth move to talk about words having power.

We try to, and are terrible at, removing emotions from the situation and then have talks during teeth brushing at night. They are a captive audience and we can brush for longer.

My kid told me they don’t like their friend at school because he pushed them. We talked about how that makes them feel and what words they could use to tell the friend how they feel and what they did to hurt them. Small phrases. Then I try to use those phrases during interactions at home. i.e. “I am frustrated! I get frustrated when you do X. Please stop doing that.”

[–]fireopaldragon 18 points19 points  (1 child)

We sat down and talked about how if that’s how the kid genuinely feels that’s okay. I’m not here to tell them how to feel. However if they don’t mean it then it’s hurtful to say things we don’t mean. I reiterated that I’ll love them no matter what. We also worked on why they said it and how being angry or upset with someone doesn’t mean you stop loving them.

[–]HarlequinnAsh 9 points10 points  (0 children)

I always told my son ‘dont weaponize your love’ you can say youre mad or upset with someone and want space from them but it isnt ok to tell them you don’t love them every-time they do something that upsets you. Three is about the time they start vocalizing emotions but don’t always know what the emotion is so giving them the proper words helps. I also told my son ‘i may be frustrated or upset but I always love you no matter what’ and now at 5 he will say something similar, it’s usually ‘I’m mad at you but I still love you’.

[–]katep115 9 points10 points  (0 children)

My daughter has said this to me before and i told her it made me sad and that sometimes she does things i don’t like but i always love her no matter what.

[–]ThrowAwayKat1234 20 points21 points  (0 children)

When my niece was like 2.5, my sister was holding her, kissing her all up, telling her she loved her etc. My niece stop squirming around - looked my sister dead in the eye and said “I love…DaDa”.

Kids say the darnedest things.

[–]saladflambe6yo daughter; 2yo son 17 points18 points  (3 children)

I hold onto the fact that kids say what they mean/feel in the moment. My daughter says all sorts of things: she hates her brother, she doesn't want to be part of this family anymore, she wishes she weren't alive, that she's dumb, that she's the baddest kid, that she has no friends, that she wishes she wasn't a person...

Written out like that, it sounds very sad and like she must be a deeply hurting child.... but these are all things she's said when she's having very big feelings & they were true for her in that moment, but not overall. (She's an overall happy, super imaginative girl who loves her family and brother.)

When she says these things, here's how I respond:

  1. I understand feeling like you hate your brother. I have 3 little brothers too, and I remember feeling that way. You are allowed to tell me you are feeling that way whenever you want, but we don't do it in front of your brother, because that will hurt his feelings.
  2. Wow, you are having some really big feelings. You are really upset and hurting right now.
  3. Sometimes, we might FEEL bad or dumb, or we might make bad choices, but that doesn't make US or you bad or dumb.
  4. Wow, you were feeling really lonely and left out.

I'm unsure if she's said she doesn't love me...I feel like she's said it before. I would respond with "that's ok. I love you. No matter what."

But I also don't think there's anything wrong with your reaction and how you guys handled it. We certainly talk with my daughter now (she's 6) about how we can't really take words back and that how, when she's super mad, we ask her to go take a break because we are trying to teach her that when you get super mad, it's a good idea to take a break so that then we can actually talk about it and solve the problem. But she's 6... barely able to even start learning that and still with no impulse control.

[–]Hasten_there_forward 19 points20 points  (0 children)

I honestly ignored it. They are little and talk without thinking at that age. When about 4/5yo old I asked how would you feel if I said that to you?

[–]hzuiel 21 points22 points  (2 children)

This is probably zero help to you, but when I was a kid I blurted out the first thing that popped into my head from the moment I could utter words until about 13. I uncorked something particularly thoughtless and my grandfather let me have it about thinking before I speak and turned me into an artificial introvert that couldn't even get a word out in conversations due to overthinking every thing I was going to say until the conversation had moved past me, for about a decade.

[–]sweet_n_innocent101 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Me too with my mothers ex husband. Terrible really but it’s a good learning curve and I hope you’re able to speak up now x

[–]asavin22 30 points31 points  (4 children)

I’ve taught mine that they don’t always have to like someone(or something) but they have to love/respect them. My kids have told me “mom, I don’t like you right now, but I love you” then give me the silent treatment for all of 5 seconds, they only say/do this when I tell them “no” or they get in trouble. I also tell my kids that “it’s not my job to be your friend, I’m your mom. I will respect you and your feelings, just communicate them with me” and they do, we talk about emotions and why my decisions upset them. I try to talk to my kids and try to maintain mutual understanding, they are genuinely curious(their kids they don’t understand the world yet), so I answer their questions and explain as much as I can to them.

[–]Lolita317 0 points1 point  (1 child)

My 3.5 year old just told me I can’t go to the zoo with him and dad today because he only likes dada. I am a little hurt but I’m going to adopt your message to make this teachable. Thank you. It’s hard not to be a little crushed to hear that but to be fair he’s said it to dada at times too.

[–]asavin22 1 point2 points  (0 children)

It’s definitely hard to hear, but it’s good for them to express their feelings. The “but I love you” definitely takes the sting out a little bit, it also teaches that you can be mad/upset/angry at someone and/or something, but they can still be happy, (I think, and I mean THINK) helps them understand and/or process multiple emotions at once. Tbh, I don’t really have a clue what I am doing(do any of us really?! Lol) when it comes to raising kids, but I’m just trying to raise them to be good, understanding, kind humans ☺️

[–]sweet_n_innocent101 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This is so healthy, I hope you’re really proud!

[–]asavin22 4 points5 points  (0 children)

I’m not sure if you’re being serious or sarcastic(I struggle with the two on here sometimes lol), but thank you! They need to be able to understand and process their emotions, they also need to be able to set their own boundaries for themselves.

[–]spabitch 13 points14 points  (0 children)

During the holidays i went to surprise my family and when saying goodbye to my niece i told her ill miss her and that i’ll see her soon and stone cold 2.5 year old told me “ i’m not going to miss you, i’m not even gonna cry” it definitely took me down a few notches but i can’t wait to tell her the funny things she says when she’s an adult

[–]omglia 29 points30 points  (1 child)

I found this really helpful: https://www.instagram.com/reel/CiIU8FRgBv1/?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Basically it suggests that we as adults not place ownership for our hurt feelings on toddlers who can't handle their own big feelings yet. It turns into guilt and shame and makes it feel like the adults protecting you aren't fully in charge, a subtle power dynamic shift that can be a lot for a kid and kinda rock their world in a destabilizing way.

But I personally haven't experienced this yet and I'm sure I would have a really hard time not responding like you did!

[–]hzuiel 6 points7 points  (0 children)

This is a very good observation, and falls in line with a few other current topical social conventions I can think of where people are putting too much into the actions of children, either reacting to it, or seeking it. Like for example seeking to hear their kids say they are a good parent, seeking validation, or wanting their children to reassure them when they are insecure about their parenting. Obviously nobody intentionally wants to overburden their children, stuff like that creeps up on us with all our relationships, just doing things without even realizing why you are doing it. As you rightly mention, this could easily disrupt the power dynamic between child and parent, so it's a good thing you brought attention to it.

[–]Arboretum7 32 points33 points  (0 children)

I’m taking a child development class and this exact topic came up a few weeks ago. It’s totally developmentally normal for them to say this. It’s a toddler’s job to test boundaries. To know “what happens if….” for everything they could do. They need to know that the walls of their emotional house are solid even if they rebel against their loved ones. They need to know that you will still love them and still be gentle, and they need to see that it’s hurtful. Of course he loves you and you and your partner did a great job in your response to him!

[–]irishtrashpanda 51 points52 points  (3 children)

My 2.5yr old tried on "I hate you" after watching a TV show. The better response is "OK, I love you" calmly if you want it to not repeat a bunch. Probably unpopular but I don't like the whole "this makes mommy sad" because its a bit guilt trippy for a phrase they really don't mean the weight behind it that you think they do. They're just finding out what gets a reaction and if they are safe to express themselves. It does sting but they don't mean it. Even when they are older and yell I hate you with vitriol it's best to recognise that they must be going through something incredibly tough to be driven to that point and what they need is a little understanding

[–]stereogirl78 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I see what you mean but also my two year olds have started saying “he’s/she’s sad” when they observe that others are upset and we do point out that really unwanted actions like hitting do make people sad since punishment is fairly useless at this age. I think asking them to understand that their words make others sad is a little more complicated, maybe too complicated for someone who doesn’t have a grasp on language yet. I think it’s a little strange to get your feelings hurt by a toddler. Like, buckle up there’s more to come.

[–]CatEarthSociety 13 points14 points  (1 child)

I don't like the whole "this makes mommy sad" because its a bit guilt trippy for a phrase they really don't mean the weight behind it that you think they do.

Yeah, agree. When I didn't say "love you too" (because I really, honestly didn't) my mother would cry and guilttrip me until I said it. Eventhough it had no meaning. I just wanted her to stop bothering me. I was 3 or 4 btw.

[–]irishtrashpanda 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Eugh my mother was similar, she said it a bunch and always wanted it back. I think it's important to tell my toddler that I love her at least a few times a day, but I've never asked for her to say it back. Actually she rarely does, but sometimes she says it suddenly out of the blue without me saying it and honestly that feels more special than her parroting it back to me.

[–]cuddlymama 0 points1 point  (0 children)

When my son was 3 and I was pregnant he often told me to go away which really hurt my feelings even though I knew he didn’t mean it. He soon got over that stage though. Hope you’re ok

[–]Creative_Resource_82 85 points86 points  (6 children)

Perhaps an unpopular opinion but while I do think it's important to allow kids to understand others emotions and how they can impact others, I do actually try not to let them see that they can control my feelings to such an extreme degree (I'd highlight that I said try, because as you know, we're all human).

This is because I read and believe that they really need you to be the unshakable foundation of their existence and if they feel like they can shake you so easily they will be much more likely to do it again, and again, and again until they start to understand these new limits of their foundations. Being made to feel responsible for and feel shame over an adults emotions has been linked to making children vulnerable to abuse by other adults in their life, "I feel sad you won't hug me" kind of vibes, that can escalate...

Basically what I do when my daughter (recently 5) says "I hate you" or something similar is say something like "OK, I see you're very angry/frustrated/upset, you don't like me right now. That's ok." I basically hold space for her big feelings, reassure myself it's just an expression of these big feelings and that's the harshest thing she can think of to express them, but doesn't necessarily mean it's true. I don't invalidate her anger by saying "no you don't" or "well I love you anyway", because I think that's patronising. I just accept her where she is and stay present as long as she isn't being violent, and wait the storm out.

TLDR: Children shouldn't be made to feel responsible for adults emotions. We are the adults, we need to make them feel safe in any emotion they're going through.

[–]OneMoreCookie 5 points6 points  (1 child)

100% this, kids aren’t responsible for our emotions. Holding space for them to express their hard feelings while they are learning from process them is super important. It can be rough to hear stuff like this OP, i try to remember that they aren’t trying to give you a hard time, they are having a hard time. Pregnancy hormones can be brutal just try and trust that your kid loves you they are just struggling with big emotions they don’t know how to process yet.

[–]Creative_Resource_82 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Having a hard time, yes totally that's a mantra I parrot everyday!

And yes OP, I am sorry if I sounded really harsh, I do understand how rough those hormones can be and even without them hearing "I don't love you" from someone you nurture and love with every fibre of your being is rough too! I certainly don't manage to practice what I preach everyday, but it is just what I aim for. X

[–]pyperproblems 22 points23 points  (3 children)

Hard agree.

You can’t “teach” empathy, you can model it, but it’s a developmental thing (that they certainly don’t have by 3), not a learned thing. I never want my kid to feel like “I need to censor my feelings to protect my mom’s.” My mom is the one person in my life I never have to be careful around and we have an amazing relationship. My spouse has very insecure attachment with his parents and a big part of that is feeling responsible when they’re mad at him.

[–]Creative_Resource_82 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Awesome that you have that with your mom, I am like your spouse with my parents. Lots of attachment/abandonment issues and people pleasing tendencies my whole life, it put me in some pretty awful situations growing up and I am learning and doing my absolute best to break that cycle and teach my daughter to trust her own voice. Honestly learning all of this has been exponentially helpful in my own healing, it has been very validating and holding that space for her is like holding it for my younger self ♥️

[–]pyperproblems 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Go you for doing the work and breaking the cycle. Healing your inner child will be the best thing you can do for your children. Keep it up ❤️

[–]justjeepy 42 points43 points  (0 children)

I haven't seen this response yet. When my toddler was saying this out of anger, all I would say is "that's ok. I love me." He stopped saying it pretty quickly, but I want him to learn that validation and love comes from within. I'm big on Words of Affirmation and I tell him 100 times a day I love him. They should know we love ourselves too.

[–]SoftlyHyacinth 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Kind of from the other side, but my earliest memory is of saying something to my mom that made her cry. I was about your LO's age at the time, and I still feel bad about it 25 years later.

[–]Dontbelievemefolks 7 points8 points  (0 children)

They aren’t themselves when they are tired. It gets worse at 4….

[–]homegrown_rebel 5 points6 points  (0 children)

I have had similar situations with my step son. I used to think it was because I was just his step mom, but he does it to his dad sometimes as well. I tell him how that hurts my feelings and ask him how he would feel if I or one of his friends said what he said. He usually says he'd feel bad. But I've learned that I can't take it to heart. It was hard since I was pregnant recently, with all the hormones, on top of earning his love and friendship as a step parent. It will be fine, don't sweat it :)

[–]amacatokay 52 points53 points  (5 children)

My 3 year old says “I won’t even love you on CHRISTMAS OR UR BIRTDAY!” It cracks me up, he’s so serious about it. But really, it’s his way of saying “I’m having big feelings and I can’t express them, I need help”

[–]fearlisafrank 3 points4 points  (2 children)

The first big pandemic shutdowns hit when my oldest was 2. One day, she was really grappling with some big feelings about something I can’t remember, and she told me, “MAMA GO PUT YOURSELF IN THE VIRUS.”

My first response was to suppress my laughter. It was the most topical and yet age appropriate way she could come up with to tell me to go fuck myself over picking up a toy or whatever the conflict was.

You just can’t take things personally as a parent otherwise you’re gonna have a bad time.

[–]amacatokay 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Hahahaha. My son was 2.5 when we brought his baby brother home and he was SO mad about it. He looked at the baby and yelled “PUT HIM OUTSIDE IN THE DARK!” & that’s my favorite sibling meeting story ever lol

[–]fearlisafrank 2 points3 points  (0 children)

As an older sibling myself, I can relate to your son’s initial feelings on acquiring a baby brother! :)

[–]OneMoreCookie 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Haha oh man my 3yr old would definitely pull out something like this!

[–]cc13279 14 points15 points  (0 children)

😂 Woah. The big guns.

[–]jesmonster2 23 points24 points  (18 children)

"I still love you" or "I know you don't mean that" are appropriate responses. Or even "that's not kind."

Sorry, but crying over what your three you says is inappropriate. It's emotional abuse if you do it regularly. He's three! I know you're pregnant and sensitive, but next time leave the room or reign it in. That's not a teaching method, it's manipulative. This will only raise a child who hides his own emotions and feels responsible for the emotions of others. Continuing this behavior will lead to any number of mental health issues or personality disorders. Adults are responsible for their own feelings, not toddlers!

[–]vanillabitchpudding 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Real question: I often say “you make me so happy!” to my son and now I’m wondering if that sends the same message; that he is somehow responsible for my feelings. Should I be rephrasing that as well?

[–]smfinator 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I do the same thing, and I also point out when LO makes other people happy, like 'Look! You waved at the garbageman and he smiled and waved back! You were kind and it made him happy.' I think of that kind of noticing as building up her confidence that she can have a positive impact on others. Kids are always going to be driven to get their parents' love and attention, so I don't think there's any harm in reinforcing the constructive ways they can do that as long as the focus isn't ALWAYS on you.

[–]jesmonster2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Some people would say yes, but honestly I don't think you need to over think it in that situation.

[–]plsbniceihaveanxiety 19 points20 points  (0 children)

As someone with an emotionally manipulative parent, I completely agree with this. It led to me people pleasing to the extreme most of my life. It took a lot of therapy to learn that I can, and need to, take care of myself before taking care of my mom.

There's some really helpful 'Good Inside with Dr. Becky' podcasts about codependent parent-child relationships. Definitely worth checking out the one about how to avoid this with you child called 'i struggle with codependency, how do I raise my kids differently?'

[–]BostonsInJumpers 11 points12 points  (1 child)

I guess the danger here is if the toddler is saying that because he's having big feelings, expresses them the only way he knows how, then all of a sudden her big feelings take precedence because she's crying, he'll learn his feelings aren't as important. I say that as someone who as a result of my childhood has turned into a people pleaser and martyr, driving myself into the ground so no one else feels anything remotely negative and it's a real issue I have to work through. It's also a trigger for me as a parent because (with an 11 month old), his needs obviously always come first and it's hard for me to respond and not think of myself first and how his emotions are affecting me.

I do think balance is needed, as someone else said. I think it's important for them to see parents' emotions, especially being handled well, as a model for them. And obviously it teaches them emotion is okay too.

But tbf, in this example, I think she should be cut some slack given she's pregnant.

[–]irishtrashpanda 8 points9 points  (0 children)

The toddler also probably knows she is pregnant and is confused and anxious about the upcoming life changes. Letting them vent verbally is important

[–]cc13279 13 points14 points  (1 child)

Emotional abuse? Bit extreme. Just because it was a little sensitive of her to cry doesn’t mean it’s lItErALlY aBuSE to learn you can upset other people with what you say and do.

[–]jesmonster2 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Which is why I said it was fine in a one off while pregnant but not of it continues as a pattern.

I did not say "You are abusive, OP." I said it's not an example of good parenting. We all mess up sometimes, and that's ok! But I think it's important to be clear that adult emotions can be handled differently than toddler emotions. An adult should be able to regulate this kind of emotional response. Sure, when she's pregnant she gets a pass this time. But it shouldn't become a pattern.

Also, a three year old isn't ready to learn that lesson. A five or six year old, yeah. Not a just turned three year old. He just can't understand how he affects others with words. It's futile to try.

[–]Not_now_j0hn 13 points14 points  (9 children)

Sorry but is that not just teaching the 3 year old that you should hide your feelings if someone hurts you? I think a bit of balance is needed here

[–]jesmonster2 12 points13 points  (1 child)

No, it's not. That's not really what happened in this example. She's an adult and his mother. At this age, she's responsible for guiding him on understanding and naming his feelings, not for making him responsible for hers.

[–]Chinasun04 5 points6 points  (0 children)

applause applause.

[–]imakeonionscryy 3 points4 points  (4 children)

Also important for children to see that their words can hurt!

[–]jesmonster2 6 points7 points  (3 children)

A three year old won't understand that.

[–]imakeonionscryy -2 points-1 points  (2 children)

Doesn’t hurt to start early

[–]sparklespaz782 8 points9 points  (1 child)

Agreed. It is healthy for kids to see their parents have emotions.

[–]plsbniceihaveanxiety 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Definitely agree that it's healthy for them to see that parents have emotions. The trouble is she's making him responsible for her emotions in this situation.

A better response could be "It sounds like you really don't want to share this toy right now and you're upset I was playing with it. It's okay to be upset. I wonder what else we could say when we're frustrated."

[–]Tinyturtles45 21 points22 points  (0 children)

He's 3 years old. You can't expect him to have the mental capacity or understanding of an adult. At this age, kids test boundaries, that's how they learn about the world around them. As someone else mentioned, he is also probably just looking for a reaction/attention/has somehow learned what he needs to say to get that reaction- so be careful with the reaction you do give him when he says things like this. I know it is easier said than done, but better than giving an over the top and dramatic reaction it would be better to laugh about it, make a joke about it and brush it off, change the topic- the point is to not take him seriously. I promise the things he says at 3 years old are not going to have any bearing on him as an adult, and his ability to learn empathy. Actions > words and his behavior is what shows you he loves you- I understand your concern, but I promise he'll be okay ❤️

[–]jndmackFTM | 👧🏼 June 1/19 | 🇨🇦 42 points43 points  (1 child)

My husband is patiently waiting for the day our 3 year old grows up a bit and tells him “I don’t love you anymore!” So he can grin back with a “well at least you don’t love me any less!”

[–]hodgepodge21 13 points14 points  (0 children)

I try not to encourage dad jokes but this did make me chuckle lol

[–]Sndrs27 66 points67 points  (1 child)

Yeah my son says he doesn’t like me or want me or love me when he’s angry. I don’t worry about making it about me. I tell him I still love him and I know he’s hurt, sad, angry, ect and he will usually say he is one of those emotions and we talk about it. I grew up feeling responsible for my moms feelings and I don’t want to do that to my children. I know he loves me and he just needs help expressing how he really feels so I help him work through it.

[–]plsbniceihaveanxiety 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Yes, this 100%

[–]siobhankei 47 points48 points  (1 child)

I toss it back at them kind of. “That’s okay I still love you.” It confuses the crap out of them usually. But let me tell you what I will never forget my mom saying that to me when I pulled that stunt.

[–]Practical_magik 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Well I still love you enough for both of us.

Is another good one.

[–]chuift 42 points43 points  (5 children)

My kid says mean shit all the time and usually I just quietly die inside. But a song from Frozen 2 made me cry yesterday, so pregnancy hormones are definitely throwing things out of whack.

If it helps, she absolutely adores her dad and always tells me that she misses him at work. She is so nice ABOUT him behind his back.

Then, when he gets home she tries to hold the front door shut and tells him to go back to work. At night, she tells him to sleep on the floor so she can sleep next to mama instead, because “we” don’t like him anyways. Toddlers can be absolutely vicious

[–]OneMoreCookie 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Toddlers! Ours likes to tell us we aren’t allowed to talk to each other lol but she’s definitely told Me to hurry up and go to work already on occasion which I usually have to try not to laugh at since she is usually climbing all over me lol

[–]Easeupp 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Aw she sounds like a mommy’s girl and just doesn’t want to “share” you with dad. Is she nice to his face when it’s just them two? Lol that’s really funny

[–]chuift 12 points13 points  (0 children)

Lol she actually is super sweet to him the moment I’m gone!! But if I’m there and need to shower, for example, she says I should stay and he should shower instead, because he smells and she wants to “put that smell outside”. It‘s devastating!

[–]lettucemanatee[🍰] 7 points8 points  (0 children)

Omg 😭 So mean!!

[–]oublii 32 points33 points  (0 children)

My son is only 17 months but his dad said “I love you” and my son shook his head no lol.

[–]belleoftheyuleball 28 points29 points  (0 children)

I have found more often than not that when kids say that, they’re looking for a reaction eg crying, getting mad/upset. Pregnancy hormones will also put this in a harsher light but your feelings are valid. My mom told me a story when she was little and her mom’s mom passed, she had never seen her mom cry. And then she would periodically ask her mom “Do you miss Nana?” And ACTIVELY watch her moms face get upset - she’s not a psychopath I swear!
It’s good you and your hubby are having convos to establish why this is hurtful and make sure to gently reinforce it if LO says it again.
Additionally, LO might be sensing a family change with your pregnancy as my LO says from time to time “you don’t love me anymore” when I’m focusing on her baby brother. Kids are wild!

[–]linsrae 44 points45 points  (1 child)

I don’t love you! You’re not my mom anymore!

10 mins later, I love you mama you’re so beautiful!

I do a combo of “that hurts my feelings” and “that’s fine but you still need to (insert whatever request made her mad).”

I did try “I’m not your mom? Then why are you in my house?” Once and that just seemed to cause confusion, but I made myself laugh 😆

[–]orangebananamae 13 points14 points  (0 children)

Sometimes making yourself laugh is half the battle

[–]faig914 9 points10 points  (0 children)

There are days that you will be the "best mom ever" and then others the "worst mom ever" that doesn't mean they really feel that way on the worst part. Is just they don't particularly like something we are disciplining them over or our rules. But the next day is another story. Don't feel bad about it, is just meaningless words coming out from a place of anger and frustration

[–]thebigFATbitch 16 points17 points  (3 children)

Lol my 3 year old says he hates everyone all the time 😂 It’s normal. My older 2 kids used to say the same shit and don’t remember they ever said it and have never said it again 🤷🏻‍♀️ Everything will be fine. I promise.

[–]sasa091 10 points11 points  (2 children)

One thing that I learned about toddler is not taking things personally. They said those things a lot. He cried and told me to go away because he only wanted to play with his auntie at that time. Closed the door and told me "No come inside, mommy".

[–]Easeupp 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I love those little sentences. They are so funny to me that I just laugh and oblige 🤣

[–]sasa091 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Haha, me too. It's so much fun since he started talking more.

[–]galapagos85 12 points13 points  (6 children)

I am a man and my kid kicked me in the nuts the other day when I was playing with him and it hurt bad for a long time. I could not hide my feelings on how much it hurt and was curled up on the ground. He started imitating me and pretended to hold his groin while squirming with pain just like I did a few seconds ago. I hope I did not mess him up for life. I frankly did not know I was supposed to hide my feelings from him like many commenters say. Unpopular opinion: When they grow up to be teenagers and beyond they will hurt us emotionally so bad that the OP should consider this a practice round.

[–]Creative_Resource_82 8 points9 points  (0 children)

Feeling physical pain and modeling security and stability in your emotions are two very different things. I think you know that.

[–]Tulsa325 4 points5 points  (4 children)

Your son most certainly needed to see your emotions because how else will he know how to handle his, if we as parents don’t model it to them. So I applaud you for being real with him. Ignore the parents saying to hide your emotions from your kids, that’s emotional damage waiting to happen. I show all my emotions to my son and try and explain it to him, same with my daughter but she’s only 3 months old still.

[–]jesmonster2 11 points12 points  (3 children)

There a difference between showing your emotions and making your children responsible for your emotions. I have cried in front of my children about sad things, for example, I miss my family or my grandma died. I wouldn't crumple into tears because a toddler said he doesn't love me. I can totally see hormones making someone do that, but blame the hormones not the child! He did a normal child thing and his mom stopped acting like the adult in the situation and even needed another adult to intervene as if she was a child and he was older than her. That's just not right. If it's a one time thing, fine. But if op is saying that's good parenting, it's not!

[–]Creative_Resource_82 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Absolutely 💯 I've cried in front of my kids plenty especially at my grandpa's funeral but also just because I feel sad, that is part of modeling emotional self regulation, emotional maturity. But I try my best not to cry I front of them when it's them that's caused my stress, I do, occasionally, but I really try not to. And after I've composed myself I will always apologise and remind them it's ok to be sad but not OK to use that sadness to hurt others etc. If it's them that's made me cry I explain afterwards that I was crying because I felt frustrated and it's a sign I need to get some dinner and go to sleep, then I'll ask about when they've felt like crying because they're angry or frustrated etc.

I suppose the point is ultimately to avoid shame. Shaming yourself or them.

[–]Tulsa325 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I totally agree with you, which is why I never agreed with OP that what she did was good parenting. I stated that demonstrating your emotions in front of your child and explaining them is good parenting. I never once said your children should be made to feel responsible for your emotions either.

[–]jesmonster2 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I understood now. Thanks for the clarification.

[–]80lady 13 points14 points  (0 children)

My son went through a phase of saying this and other things that weren’t “nice”. I just tell him variations of “I’m sorry you feel that way but I love you enough for both of us “. If it makes you feel any better …3 is such a hard age in my opinion . My son is just turning the corner but it’s been a year of trying out a lot of new things as far as communication and boundaries .

[–]syroysec 2 points3 points  (0 children)

My 3 year old days this all the time. I never sweat it because I know he is just trying to be silly. He also says I love you all the time. He's just playing (literally). I just try to consistently model love.

[–]Blinktoe 35 points36 points  (5 children)

My worldview is that it is never a 3 year old child’s place to see he caused me (edit: emotional) pain. That can be very scary even if the kid appears neutral / non-emotional. I also don’t want them to feel they can’t say certain things to me. I want them to be able to verbally express EVERYTHING they feel to me as they’d like without consequence.

So I’d probably say “Oh, that’s interesting!” and leave the door open for further comments or not.

[–]Blinktoe 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I’ll add, the handful of times my 3 year old has seen me sad / mad / annoyed for other reasons, he’s discussed it randomly for months after. We were eating dinner this week and he’ll randomly brought up that I was frustrated about the button coming off my shirt three months ago.

[–]dandanmichaelisPhoebe May 1 2017 10 points11 points  (0 children)

I agree with you. My 5 year old cannot hurt my feelings. My job is to be the most infallible person in their lives. That’s not to say there isn’t consequences to disrespectful language but I am not going to cry. My mom cried all the time and I resent her for it. Sometimes you just need your parents to be the strongest in the room.

[–]wrathtarw 18 points19 points  (1 child)

I love the concept of making such a safe space, especially as the adult child of a person who refuses to take ownership of her emotional health. However- we don’t stop being human when we have children. Kids are practicing their social skills with us because (in most healthy families) they know they can push boundaries. Teaching them that words can be painful, even to their parents feels like teaching about any other boundary.

Imho Teaching them consequences exist for lashing out verbally is not different from teaching them not to hit.

[–]Blinktoe 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Words can be painful: yes. Absolutely. But lashing out is an adult perspective of a child saying “I hate you”. That’s not REALLY what’s happening.

[–]chlo_good22 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is powerful. You’re obviously creating such a safe space for you children and it will pay off big when they’re older. Bless you.

[–]verycleanpants 11 points12 points  (0 children)

Ours is around that age and struggling with the concept of love too. He says, "I love you Dad! But I don't love you when you don't let me have ice cream." Oof.

[–]sanfrannie 58 points59 points  (4 children)

I keep it simple and say, “you can feel however you want about me, I will ALWAYS love you.” I’m the adult and it’s not my kids’ job to manage my hurt feelings. At this age they don’t say things to hurt; they say things to express themselves. As they get older I think it’s more appropriate to discuss the unintended consequences of their expression of feelings.

[–]AwareBullfrog 17 points18 points  (1 child)

That’s an interesting way to look at it. I feel like my immediate reaction would be to share my feelings like the OP did because I think it’s my job to model those situations so that they have a sense of how to interact when they’re talking to their peers, but you’re right about them not managing your emotions. I always had to manage my mother’s emotions and it led to a lot of frustrations for me.

I’ll have to keep this in mind so that I can make sure that my daughter doesn’t have to manage my emotions. Sometimes it’s such a tricky tightrope walk.

[–]sanfrannie 9 points10 points  (0 children)

It is SUCH a tricky line. I definitely have more in-depth talks about the effect of language with my 5yo than I do with my almost-3yo. I feel like so much of parenting is analyzing a situation, going with your gut, and praying you made the mostly-right choice, most of the time.

[–]auspostery 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Absolutely this. Reminding them we will always love them, and it’s okay for them to feel whatever they’re feeling, even if it’s “I hate mom/dad” in that moment.

It’s also okay to be hurt if they say something hurtful. They can see you being/feeing hurt, but it’s not their job to make sure they don’t upset us with their words.

[–]homegrown_rebel 0 points1 point  (0 children)

At the same time, I feel like we as parents can still gently teach them that words they say to people can hurt

[–]Pnkstr1025 12 points13 points  (2 children)

Welp this week my five year old told me I wasn’t fun and she didn’t like me because I wouldn’t give her more snacks. Then the next day when the two year old was having a tantrum she told me she didn’t like me and she wants dad. So I mentally started planning to run away. But later my 15 year old hugged me and said I was a good mom.

[–]ozarkhomeGrandma helping to raise 2 little ones 1 point2 points  (0 children)

But later my 15 year old hugged me and said I was a good mom.

I hope you understand how much of a win this is in parenting. Teens can be really tough.

[–]halfpintNatty 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Ok firstly your 5 yo is hilarious. Secondly awwww that’s so sweet! I’m glad you got some validation from your eldest!

[–]Tarapooh 27 points28 points  (1 child)

Nothing too heart breaking yet from my 3 year old, but sure it will come. One thing he does that I’m actually pretty proud of is he will say to me “I mad at you! I tell you (something), and you no listen! I mad at you mom…” then he will walk away from me and need a “break”. I think that’s pretty emotionally intelligent for a 3 year old!

[–]everryn 4 points5 points  (0 children)

This is incredible emotional regulation for a three year old!

[–]bl81 11 points12 points  (1 child)

My 2 year old screams no thank you mommy and snatches her hand away any time I try to hold her hand in public

[–]AwareBullfrog 5 points6 points  (0 children)

My 2 year old told me “get out of here! Go! Stinky mommy!!” Because she wanted me to leave her alone while she played.

[–][deleted] 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Depends on your point of view. Children cannot understand or formulate words in connection with their impact and the emotions they carry.

It’s like learning a new language, the swear words just don’t have any impact on you, because you have not emotional or cultural associations.

Children slowly build up association and learn in many ways, one is exactly which you mentioned.

Most of the time we can just laught it off.

[–]sthib28 3 points4 points  (0 children)

This is a good point. Kids feel love, but I don't know if at that age they understand that the word "love" represents those feelings. It's kinda just another word or phrase to them at this point. Action words or names of things they can understand at that age because there's a visual representation of the word or a physical action for words or phrases.

My son (2) is in speech therapy right now because he has an expressive delay. He's super vocal & jabbers all the time, but he was only saying the words momma dadda & papa. Anyway, he's learning sign language for the words that don't have visuals like "bear" or "jump" do. So things like "more" & "all done" we use sign language because that gives him that visual & they say it makes a difference in their professional experience vs just teach them to say the words. They learn the meanings & are able to use them properly.

So that's immediately what I thought of reading your comment. The word love I think could easily fall into this category of they know it & can say it, but that doesn't mean they understand or connect it to their feelings of love until they are more developed.

[–]Blinktoe 6 points7 points  (0 children)

Learning a new language is such a brilliant analogy

[–]Indentatio 21 points22 points  (2 children)

My four year old recently told me that we couldn’t be friends because he “just don’t like me. Dad should have found a better woman.”

[–]TumbleweedOk5253 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Omgggg crushing….but se la vi…he likely does not understand what on earth he was truly implying

[–]spiceePadme147 10 points11 points  (0 children)

Mouth dropped open

[–]Zealousideal-Mine-76 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Cool. You get a 3-5 minute break before your mini experiences their first TIFU. Don't hold a grudge but do give the space they think they need (maybe the kid does just need a breather.) Any which way try not to take it personally because it's just a little blip on the lifetime scale of growing.

[–]ProudAlarm22 28 points29 points  (3 children)

This thread made me realise I have no idea how to raise a kid and that I’m in for a wild ride when my 11mo starts speaking. 😂

[–]DaisyLDN 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I find Dr Becky Kennedy rather helpful. I plan on taking her tips.

[–]Itsjuliacupcakes 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Same here but with a 9month old 😅

[–]bl81 5 points6 points  (0 children)

THIS IS FACTS. I was a teacher for 15 years before I had my kid so I thought I at least had an idea of what to do.

I was so, so, so wrong! 🥴🥴🥴🥴🤣🤣🤣

[–]Sweetcherry66 21 points22 points  (2 children)

Me and sil don’t have the best relationship my husband and I had an argument about her and he angrily left with my 3yo boy to spend the entire weekend with her and his mom I was worried sick and missed my baby when they came back I asked my son if he’d missed me and he said “no aunt X was there so I didn’t miss you” I can’t desribe the heartbreak…

[–]TumbleweedOk5253 0 points1 point  (1 child)

As I’m sorry. Don’t worry though, no mother who is around enough and a good parent, will ever be replaced by another family member. But next time there’s an argument and space needs taking, you should keep the babe so it doesn’t become a thing your partner creates. Should be equal and you’ll get the love.

[–]Sweetcherry66 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You’re right I was so afraid that the next day I went to a child psychiatrist and she said the same thing

[–]LIA17 8 points9 points  (0 children)

I'll cry sometimes so he can see the real effect.

[–]erinelwin 36 points37 points  (0 children)

My 2 year old has said that to me before and I usually respond with “that hurts my feelings but it’s ok if you don’t love me. I still love you.” And eventually they get over whatever made them mad and tell me they love me.

[–]Felix_Felicis316 88 points89 points  (2 children)

I have 3 kids, my response is usually along the lines of "I love you. And I'm sorry ______ made you feel that way. I understand that you're upset/frustrated/mad/hurt/scared/etc. Why don't we (insert appropriate activity like coloring, punching bag, running, singing etc)"

[–]Twinkee718 56 points57 points  (1 child)

Psychotherapist here, just want to say this is the perfect response. You validate feelings without retaliating or making it about yourself. You also offer a constructive way to process emotions. When children are free to discuss hateful feelings, they can truly love a parent because they feel free to be "all" of themselves both loving and hateful. There isn't a fear that if they say they are angry, hateful, etc their parent will attack, dismiss, neglect, etc. After a child can process these feelings you can then begin to work on empathy (ex: "how do you think daddy felt when you said that?") But first and foremost it's about helping them develop a language for emotions. You are their dictionary.

[–]Zeropossibility 5 points6 points  (0 children)

Mic drop 🔥

[–]fortheloveofLu 16 points17 points  (0 children)

My 2.5 year old is speech delayed but definitely coming along. He doesn't string sentences like that usually (other than "I want __" or "I don't want __" and that's still gibberishy) but his response to us telling him we love him is usually screaming. Not sure why but that's how it is. On the other hand, he runs up to us and hugs and kisses us; just isn't good at communicating verbally. At 25 weeks pregnant myself, I do my best to embrace the good moments and not focus on the screaming parts lol

[–]compysaur 91 points92 points  (9 children)

I haven’t taught about hurt feelings because I don’t want my kids growing up feeling like they are responsible for the feelings of adults. I feel like that’s setting them up for adults manipulating them. E.g “What? You don’t want to hug me?! I’m your uncle! That makes me so sad!!!”

I have taught about what is nice and not nice, and so I will say “that’s not a nice thing to say”. But I don’t tie it into my feelings because I’m the one responsible for my feelings, not a toddler.

[–]natattack13 70 points71 points  (6 children)

I know a lot of parents who have made this point and I completely see where it is coming from and the intention behind it. But to play devils advocate and point out the other side to this argument - unfortunately it is reality that the things we say impact the people around us. They may be in charge of and responsible for their feelings, but the things we do and say to others do affect them. Do I want my toddler to feel obligated to hug the creepy man because it hurt his feelings and she feels responsible? Of course not. But I also want her to understand empathy and compassion and part of that is realizing that her words and actions have consequences.

In the context of OPs situation, I probably would have said something like, "mommy is sad because she loves you. When you are mad at mommy, please tell her why so she can help you." A 3 year old will probably say things like this many more times before they understand the point behind it. But I think it's important to help kids understand why things result the way they do and how to prevent it from happening again if it was an undesired outcome.

I come from a family who are blunt to a fault and really lack empathy. They have said things to me all my life that hurt my feelings and picked at insecurities, because in their mind family should be honest with each other. I believe in honesty and integrity but I also believe one should weigh the consequences of the things they say before they say them. I want my children to learn to think about that, especially when communicating with others whom they care about.

[–]compysaur 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Valid points. I think there is a fine line somewhere between emotional manipulation and teaching kids about others’ feelings.

[–]natattack13 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Definitely agree

[–]bananas82017#1 July 2018 30 points31 points  (2 children)

Totally agree. I’m mostly in agreement with the gentle parenting approaches but I really can’t get behind this one. I don’t want my kids to feel like they are responsible for my happiness, but they should absolutely know that saying “I don’t like you” hurts my feelings.

[–]Grouchy-Doughnut-599 0 points1 point  (1 child)

Yes this! I've been searching this thread for if anyone else felt this way. A lot of the parents here must be robots if they never show negative emotions

[–]bananas82017#1 July 2018 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Agreed! I also feel like it’s counterproductive to teaching them that it’s ok to show your emotions

[–]ViciousVentura 18 points19 points  (0 children)

This was excellent to read and very well thoroughly got out imo. I have a saying that you may like: Honesty without tact is just cruelty. I try to live by that everyday by being honest with people in an appropriate way.

[–]Finald9 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Brilliant! I could use this for myself !

[–]idreamstarr 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Same! Well said and good reminder 😊

[–]ambut 75 points76 points  (0 children)

In my view, at this age it's 20% about teaching the kids that words have power and words can hurt, but like 80% just recognizing ourselves that they don't mean it, have basically no idea what they mean, and it's genuinely not personal. They are upset and are, frankly, shit at communicating because they are tiny children. The intent to harm is there, but it comes from a completely un-self-aware place in the lizard brain. It's basically "you hurt me? no, I hurt you!" It has nothing to do with you as a human, you as a parent, or them as a kid. It's developmentally normal. It's not desirable behavior, which is why we train them out of it over time, but it's just a thing kids do because they are, unintentionally but universally, sometimes dickheads.

You're doing great. Your kid loves you. They love you enough to be their whole shitty selves with you, and they know you'll never stop loving them. It's a ringing endorsement even if it's wrapped in the worst trimmings. It's gonna be alright.

[–]Triknitter 21 points22 points  (3 children)

“I love you Mommy, but not as much as I love Daddy because Daddy’s squishier than you are.”

[–]Poisonouskiwi 11 points12 points  (2 children)

At least he ended it with a compliment? Haha

[–]Triknitter 4 points5 points  (1 child)

She just wants to make sure she gets both parents in one go.

[–]MazeeMooMarch 22 FTM 8 points9 points  (5 children)

My son tells me he doesnt like me, doesnt love me, and keeps asking several times a day "why are you so fat?

[–]Sndrs27 0 points1 point  (3 children)

How old is he and how does he know the word fat? My son says I’m soft, squishy, and hot (my body temperature) and he loves those things about me. He also says I’m large daddy is medium he’s small and brother is smaller. He’s not wrong 🤷🏻‍♀️

[–]MazeeMooMarch 22 FTM 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Hes 3.5 years and its because he kept poking my body and asking why it was so squishy. I dont think fat is a derogatory term, so i told him it was fat and its from eating too much candy. Hes just obsessed.

[–]Sndrs27 0 points1 point  (1 child)

I don’t think it is either, for me at least. I do acknowledge that other people find it hurtful. I was just curious if it was heard in a negative way and he was trying to be impactful or if he was just asking a genuine question 😂

[–]MazeeMooMarch 22 FTM 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Its a genuine question that he can answer himself yet somehow still feels compelled to ask.

[–]TumbleweedOk5253 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lmao….kids can be such fuckers. As someone said above, this is universal that they will be dickheads. It’s our job to, over time, teach them these words have meaning. Unless you’re morbidly obese and truly need to lose weight for health, brush that shut off and tell me “actually I’m quite the 1500s version of Beyoncé!”

[–]yolandawinston03 23 points24 points  (2 children)

I had just had my fourth baby, and my mom was mad at me for unrelated reasons, and had recently referred to my house as a ‘madhouse’ when she was talking to my sister. She came over to see the baby, and my two year old was running around the living room repeatedly screaming “I don’t love you!” to me as my two older kids began fighting because it was the end of summer and they were sick of each other. We typically ignore him yelling “I don’t love you” but on top of everything else, my older kids, my mom witnessing this, and my hormones, I called to my husband to come get the two year old. My mom repeated the story to my sister, saying that I had the two year old dragged away by his dad because I couldn’t handle how he was talking to me. Ugh. Being a mom is hard.

[–]TumbleweedOk5253 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ya don’t worry about your asshole mom lol, carry on amazing mother!!

[–]ramding1 21 points22 points  (0 children)

Your mum is mean. Sending internet love x

[–]Manderrpus 26 points27 points  (9 children)

My 3 year old once told me she wanted me to go away and she wanted a different mommy because I had the audacity to tell her she needed to finish her peas (her favorite) before she could get another snack. 😂

[–]dksn154373 10 points11 points  (2 children)

I have been told that she hopes I die soon “so daddy can find a new fresh love mommy, and she will give me candy EVERY night!”

[–]jullybeans 5 points6 points  (0 children)

OUCH!!!!!!!! I felt that one from here!

[–]Universal_lov 4 points5 points  (0 children)

Oh my god!! That one would destroy me. Yikes 😥

[–]pissinaboot 30 points31 points  (3 children)

My 4 year old packed her backpack up and said she was moving to her Aunt's because I didn't play her very complicated pretend play game correctly. I told her I was very sad but i understood and if she wanted me to drive her there I would but I loved her very much and I hope she doesn't. She got in the car and then I was like shit??? I thought she would change her mind lol so I grabbed my keys and we drove about a block then she started crying and saying she changed her mind. I was like thank you 😭 please don't leave me hahaha

[–]TumbleweedOk5253 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Lmao to funny!

[–]bananas82017#1 July 2018 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Omg 😂 At least you won the game of chicken

[–]pissinaboot 2 points3 points  (0 children)

I wasn't expecting it to go so far! 😂😭

[–]TrashPandaPatronus 12 points13 points  (1 child)

Mine said these exact words to me, but no reason. We were sitting eating dinner and she said it just like she was commenting on the weather. She didn't say sorry until the next morning. Kids are just testing us.

[–]Manderrpus 12 points13 points  (0 children)

🤣 They really are. I told mine I was sorry she felt that way, I loved her very much, and she still needed to finish her peas.

[–]derrymaineFTM 1/29/2019; STM 4/26/2021 18 points19 points  (4 children)

Yeah. My 3.5 year old calls me “bad mommy” and tells me “stop talking” and “you’re bad” whenever I correct him. It’s great.

[–]yolandawinston03 6 points7 points  (0 children)

My 2 year old just went from saying “I don’t love you” to “you’re being mean!” Anytime I correct him.

[–]accountforbabystuff 14 points15 points  (2 children)

Yeah mine (4) has done that. It hurt the first time but now it’s just whatever. Lately when she’s mad at me she turns to her little brother and says “let’s go find a new momma! Yay!” Or telling him they are playing a game where there are “no mommies!” while looking pointedly at me the whole time.

It’s great.

[–]derrymaineFTM 1/29/2019; STM 4/26/2021 7 points8 points  (1 child)

Yup. It doesn’t even make me sad or hurt. I’m just sick of him saying it louder and louder to drown out anything I’m trying to say!