3 year old says "I don't like you" to everyone - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 04-27-2011, 03:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My 3 year old son is a strong-willed, very smart, chatty child. He's been through a lot of changes in his life. His dad and I divorced when he was 2, we have moved 3-4 times since he's been born. So many, many changes in his life and I'm starting to wonder if it's having a deeper affect on him. Lately he's been saying mean things like "I don't like you" to me, his dad, my mom, etc....It makes me really sad and I don't know how to handle it or what to say to him when he says that. Is this just a phase that he will grow out of? Is this just his personality and he's just mean at times? Or do I need to be doing something to help him address and deal with his emotions and something that can be worked through?

 

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#2 of 9 Old 04-27-2011, 03:42 PM
 
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That is literally in the "how to be a three year old" handbook.  

 

"I don't like you"

 

"you aren't my friend"

 

"You can't come to my party"

 

"You can't come to my house".

 

Those are the meanest things a preschooler can think of.    I have a three yr old daycare girl who learned "I quit!".  It makes no sense at all, but it's her newest mean phrase.  Last month, she said "I hope your toe breaks" to a little boy in our group, then she cried because she didn't really want to break his toe.  Apparently she thought saying it was enough to make it happen.

 

Just don't give those words power.  If you look/act all hurt, or say "oh, that hurts mommy's feelings"  or "that makes me sad", you are putting too much pressure on him.  He doesn't need adults who can't handle his little outbursts.  He needs adults who can say "That's OK honey, I love you enough for both of us".  If he can make you fall apart with those words (that are practically a requirement at this age) then what will happen to him if he says something worse?  

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#3 of 9 Old 04-27-2011, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Phew  lol.gif


Thank GOD! I was seriously getting very worried and down about it and thinking of all the things I did wrong as a mother.

 

But thank you, that is very reassuring in a very strange way. nut.gif

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#4 of 9 Old 04-27-2011, 04:55 PM
 
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Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post

That is literally in the "how to be a three year old" handbook.  

 

"I don't like you"

 

"you aren't my friend"

 

"You can't come to my party"

 

"You can't come to my house".

 

Those are the meanest things a preschooler can think of.    I have a three yr old daycare girl who learned "I quit!".  It makes no sense at all, but it's her newest mean phrase.  Last month, she said "I hope your toe breaks" to a little boy in our group, then she cried because she didn't really want to break his toe.  Apparently she thought saying it was enough to make it happen.

 

Just don't give those words power.  If you look/act all hurt, or say "oh, that hurts mommy's feelings"  or "that makes me sad", you are putting too much pressure on him.  He doesn't need adults who can't handle his little outbursts.  He needs adults who can say "That's OK honey, I love you enough for both of us".  If he can make you fall apart with those words (that are practically a requirement at this age) then what will happen to him if he says something worse?  



Thank you so much for this advice.  We have been dealing with this for about 2 months and I guess I have been feeding into it trying to get DD to understand how her words make me feel.  I have to say this stuff makes me feel so lousy, not because I actually take her words to heart, but because I am embarrassed that these words are coming out of my little girl's mouth.  She only could have learned them from me. And, she is only 2.5.  I love how none of my girlfriends' kids are doing this yet. eyesroll.gif

 

He go-to phrases are:

 

I don't like you.

You are a mean mommy.

Go away!

 

She will also go off on long descriptions of my demise.  She once described how I would fall off the bed, blood would come out of my eyes, and she would purposefully not bring all my parts to the hospital for the doctor to put me back together. 

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#5 of 9 Old 04-28-2011, 09:35 AM
 
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Babysanchez614- I'm sorry you're having such a hard time with your son.  It sounds to me like he's feeling things passionately and learning to express those feelings.  I suspect though that he is also playing around with words and testing adult reactions. 

 

If it helps to know you're not alone...  I've been dealing with some similar things recently.  My daughter turned three last month.  I've definitely been struggling with her temper and her efforts to play my husband and I off each other. 

 

She's also relentlessly honest-- which can be embarrassing.  Yesterday, my DH was on the phone with his aunt arranging a visit in a few weeks time to see his grandmother.  The aunt lives near the grandmother and we decided that we should let her know we're coming to town even though we don't enjoy her company and will have only a short amount of time to see his grandmother.  My DD listened to my husbands end of the conversation and surmised that the plans were to have dinner at the aunts house.  My DD looks at me and says "But, Mommy you don't like aunt."  I shushed her bc I didn't want the aunt to hear her over the phone.  So, she says it louder and repeatedly.  

 

The thing is, I never told her I don't like aunt and we hadn't even mentioned aunt's name in months.  Even still DD was right.  And, I was at a loss for how to deal with it...  I don't like aunt.  I think she's rude and greedy.  I do deal with her because she is family.  That's a lot of nuance to explain to a 3yo.  I focused on the fact that it would hurt my feelings if someone said they didn't like me so I try not to say it about others. 

 

We'll see how that dinner goes though :)

 

Good luck!

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#6 of 9 Old 04-28-2011, 11:56 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nextcommercial View Post
Just don't give those words power.  If you look/act all hurt, or say "oh, that hurts mommy's feelings"  or "that makes me sad", you are putting too much pressure on him.  He doesn't need adults who can't handle his little outbursts.  He needs adults who can say "That's OK honey, I love you enough for both of us".  If he can make you fall apart with those words (that are practically a requirement at this age) then what will happen to him if he says something worse?  


Wow - this is excellent advice that I will begin to use immediately! OP - my 2.5 year old son says "I don't like you" or "Go away!" pretty frequently.  It's tough to hear and he says it mainly to his dad.  It just bums me out but you are definitely not alone on this one! 

 

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#7 of 9 Old 04-28-2011, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We'll see how that dinner goes though :)

 

Oh no! Yeah it can be very embarrassing!

 

Thank you for the reassurances.  It does make me feel much better to know it's just part of his age. After an already stressful day, to hear your child say "I don't like you" is rough. He's already pretty stubborn, and strong-willed, I really was starting to wonder if I just had a delinquent child in the making. gloomy.gif

 

I am defnitely going to use the advice from nextcommercial, I think it's excellent advice too!

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#8 of 9 Old 04-28-2011, 05:46 PM
 
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Some great wisdom here.  I would also add that a good response would be simply to validate how upset he is.  “Oh, sweetie.  You must be really upset right now!  I’m so sorry!”  Depending on the situation, you can ask what’s wrong (but not pressure him to answer) or offer something pleasant to make it better.  I’ve even said to DD, “Do you want Mommy to hold you, or do you want to go be alone for awhile?”

 

In other words, go ahead and respond to “I don’t like you” as if he said: “Mommy, I feel very hurt/sad/angry/vulnerable/out-of-control.” 

 


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#9 of 9 Old 04-28-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Turquesa View Post

Some great wisdom here.  I would also add that a good response would be simply to validate how upset he is.  “Oh, sweetie.  You must be really upset right now!  I’m so sorry!”  Depending on the situation, you can ask what’s wrong (but not pressure him to answer) or offer something pleasant to make it better.  I’ve even said to DD, “Do you want Mommy to hold you, or do you want to go be alone for awhile?”

 

In other words, go ahead and respond to “I don’t like you” as if he said: “Mommy, I feel very hurt/sad/angry/vulnerable/out-of-control.” 

 

 

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Excellent advice on this board! My DS is 2 years 8 mo, and we started doing that with him at 2 years 5 mo when his sister arrived. 3 months of that and now he no longer says "I don't like you" or "You're mean" - he actually says what he feels! (or at least, as close as he can come). Now it goes more like this... "Mom, I mad.",  "I'm so sorry sweetie. Why are you mad?", "Mom talk to Dad", "I'm sorry. I know it's frustrating when mom & dad talk and don't include you. Would you like to sit with me?"  - It took several weeks to get there, but it's been SO nice because I don't hear anymore of the outwardly mean phrases  and he doesn't hit things  anymore, as he used to during frustration. He also typically comes to me and tells me when he's upset about the current situation instead of acting out. (Most of the time... haha!) At this age kids just want to know that you hear them!
 

 


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