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"Papa said I'm a bad guy!"

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

DS is 30 months old, and is regularly babysat by his "Grandma" and "Papa" - my best friend's parents.  We've all been close since my childhood, and they are generally very AP-friendly.  They were the only people besides my mom I could trust to hold DS non-stop during infancy.  DS adores his Papa and is very, very attached to him.


The other day, DS got up from his nap and proceeded to dump lotion all over himself and the bed he was sleeping on.  When Papa came up and found him, he was understandably upset and chastised him.  In Grandma's version of events (from what she heard from downstairs), Papa told DS that it was not nice to behave that way.  And I'm sure he probably did.  But when DS brought it up to me that night, he told me, "Papa told me I'm bad guy."  We aren't super-strict on "bad" and "good" type statements, but DH and I  would never tell our child he was bad.  We'll be addressing this with Grandma and Papa, but I had never thought to tell them the language we'd prefer was used if DS needed discipline.


I wouldn't be so bothered (like I said, they never knew it was an issue with us), except that DS seems upset by this.  He's brought it up at least 6 times in the past few days, and that's just to me (I work FT).  Each time, he says exactly the same thing: I dumped lotion on the bed and ruined the sheets.  Papa told me I'm bad guy.  I reply that Papa was upset and said something he didn't mean.  I tell him that just because he misbehaved doesn't make him bad.  And then I remind him how much Papa and I both love him.


I don't know if I'm handling this the right way.  I don't really know what to do...  DS is very articulate, and he often tells stories of things that have happened.  But this is coming up a lot more than other events have in the past, even those that were exciting or made a big impression.  Every time he says it, it makes me sad, but I don't know how much it's really bothering him versus it simply being something that happened that he remembers.



post #2 of 8
Oh no! I feel for you! Sounds like this Papa needs to be reminded that only a behavior is "bad", not your son! You are doing the right thing by explaining his Papa was upset. Try changing the subject right away to something happy or fun (maybe sing a funny song), he'll forget about it soon enough.
post #3 of 8

Ugh! So sorry your ds had to hear that. My FIL constantly says things like that, which means I am constantly supervising to remind FIL, "We don't say things like that." and then reinforce to ds1 that he isn't bad.  


If you have all been close since your childhood, and this isn't the "norm" for him, I would chalk it up to Papa losing his cool and saying the wrong words that he probably just blurted out.  I've done this as well. You know him best, could this have been just a slip up?


Have you asked your ds how he feels about Papa calling him a bad guy? Maybe your ds needs to talk about it in more depth, maybe he is confused?

post #4 of 8

Maybe he needs to hear the message from Papa in order to resolve things.  It's all well and good to hear it from you, but he could still think that Papa thinks he's bad, even though he knows that you don't. 

post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 

DS didn't bring it up at all today, so I was going to just leave it be.  I don't want to make an issue out of it now, if he's over it.  Except...  DH caught DS peeing in our bedroom right before bath time.  He said, "Ethan!  Stop!" loudly at him, then redirected DS to the bathroom where his potty is.  DH reiterated that peeing needs to happen in the potty, because it makes a mess on the floor.  DS wasn't visibly upset and didn't cry, and DH didn't chastise him aside from telling him to stop.  After bathtime was over, DH and DS were playing in the living room, and DS said, "You said I was a bad guy," to DH.  DH explained that DS wasn't "bad" and hadn't done anything wrong.  He also said again that peeing outside the potty makes a mess, so DS needs to go in the potty or his diaper. 


This was far from the first time today that DS needed to be told to stop doing something; it was a normal day, and DS is a normal toddler!  Even the peeing has happened before and was handled about the same way.  I wasn't there for tonight's episode, but a slightly raised voice to get DS's attention isn't abnormal.  We aren't yellers, as a general rule, and the few times that one of us has gotten pretty loud, DS didn't seem bothered.  We sort of joke that we have an impervious kid, because he so rarely gets upset when chastised or given a time-out (really more of a time-in, as he is usually on our lap and we discuss the undesirable behavior).  So while we may use a more "intense" voice when we catch DS doing something he shouldn't, we don't shout at him.  From what Grandma said, Papa did shout at DS, so I'm curious why the correlation between the peeing and the lotion incident.


Regardless, I'm feeling very sad that DS is feeling this way...  Especially because he and DH are so close, and DH has never, ever said anything of the kind to DS.  greensad.gif

post #6 of 8
It is possible that papa never said he was a bad guy, or bad at all, but that your ds interpreted it that way. I remember getting angry when my older daughter did something years ago - I can't remember what she did - but I DO remember her going on and on about how she was a bad bad bad girl, and I said no she wasn't a bad girl, and she said I'd told her she was a bad girl, and I said no I never said she was a bad girl, just that she had done something she shouldn't do. But she kept up with calling herself a bad bad bad girl for a while. I felt HORRIBLE that she took me being upset so incredibly hard, and I didn't feel like I'd even gottten all that angry at her. But she was, and still is, very sensitive to any kind of negative reaction. It was her sensitivity, nothing I'd said. I did learn to be super-de-dooper careful after that.

Anyway, I'd not assume for sure that his papa said he was bad, your ds might have translated his disapproval in that way.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 

I was thinking along those lines after DS said that DH told him he was bad.  I'm just surprised he came to that conclusion on his own, because "bad" isn't really a concept we use.  If we tell him not to do something, we say why (it will make a mess, or that will hurt the kitty, etc). 

post #8 of 8
Kids have very concrete thinking, and my son (3yo) is not yet able to separate himself from the behavior. He would also think he's a bad kid for a little while - regardless of me telling him otherwise.

I would do some things with him that he enjoys and focus on the positive for a few days. He'll be fine, it's just another bump in the road of growing up.
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