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"I don't like you!" said the testy toddler

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Recently, my 3yr old daughter told me, "I don't like you! I want to go see my daddy!"
Her father and I divorced when she was still a baby, but spends a lot of quality time with her dad and his girlfriend (who is wonderful w/my daughter). She was spending this past week with them and told them "I hate you! I want my mommy, I want to go home!"

We don't use the word "hate" and I think she's picking it up from daycare.
I'm not sure why she is saying these things or how to help her understand why she lives with mommy and visits daddy (regularly). She also told his girlfriend she wanted mommy and daddy to live together.
post #2 of 4

I wonder if she's saying these things, not because she wants a different living situation, but because she's three.

 

My three year-old DD says stuff like this all the time.  My 5 yo DS went through a phase like it two years ago.  They were testing, basically, trying to see if I'd soften up, or if their dad would.  We spent a lot of time saying things like "I'm sorry to hear that.  Eat your vegetables."

 

Now and then, our kids stumble upon words that push our buttons HARD.  In a lot of those cases, the kids have no idea what they're doing.  Your daughter says she wants to go see daddy, and she means "I bet Daddy would let me!", but in the meantime, you're being hit with all kinds of guilt that your DD knows nothing about.  It's really hard to remember to look at it from her child perspective, as opposed to your adult one, or even through an adult filter concerning her child perspective.  Most of what children this age say is very in the moment - she's thinking about bedtime or the socks she hates or who has better popsicles, not about family structure or what's best for her in the long term.

post #3 of 4
They don't know the power of their words at that age, and it's easy to read more into it than is intended. I'd try working on translating. In this case, it sounds like she might have been saying "I'm angry at you right now." Was there something that made her angry? Then I'd respond to that. "You sound angry that I wouldn't give you a cookie." Depending on whether she's a young two or an older two, she might or might not understand the addition of, "It's OK to get angry, but it isn't nice to tell me you hate me." Or "It's OK to get angry, but 'hate' isn't a word I like to hear you say." Whatever works within your house. I'm personally OK with the word "hate" except about people, so I'd approach it that way. I would have said, "It's OK to get angry, but it can hurt people's feelings if you say you hate them, so please don't say that." But don't expect her to get that right away. They learn how to use language a long, long, long time before they learn to use it nicely and politely, and it will take a lot of time to teach her to learn how.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the replies smile.gif I'll work on it with her, see what I can do. It could be because rules are different in each household and her dad's girlfriend and I are talking a out rules and how we handle discipline. Hopefully that'll help.
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