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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my toddler asks me this all of the time, especially when he's done something he knows he shouldn't do or when i'm visibly rattled. he hit me in the face and then asked me if i was happy. i wouldn't let him have ice cream and while he was crying, he asked me if i was happy. i'm generally a very happy person, but sometimes, like when he hits me, i'm not happy. i don't want him to feel responsible for my happiness, but how do i respond when he's gotten into mischief and then asks me if i'm happy?
 

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I'm probably doing this wrong, but I explain to DS that "It makes mommy sad when you hit her in the face", etc... Or "Mommy gets worried when you don't listen to her, it makes her scared." Sometimes I fake a tear so he gets it. DS is 19 mos by the way, I am trying to help him develop some empathy for others. Maybe you can do something akin to that, such as "Mommy loves baby, but it hurts mommy when he kicks her" or "Mommy has an owie and now she needs a hug, can you show mommy gentle?" GL!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by heatherweh View Post
I'm probably doing this wrong, but I explain to DS that "It makes mommy sad when you hit her in the face", etc... Or "Mommy gets worried when you don't listen to her, it makes her scared." Sometimes I fake a tear so he gets it. DS is 19 mos by the way, I am trying to help him develop some empathy for others. Maybe you can do something akin to that, such as "Mommy loves baby, but it hurts mommy when he kicks her" or "Mommy has an owie and now she needs a hug, can you show mommy gentle?" GL!
This is typically what I do too.

I try to separate out momentary emotions of sadness, anger, happiness, etc from love. I do explain that I may not always be happy (in general, or with her) but that I will always love her regardless. My DD's nearly 3 and I think she really gets it because, without prompting, she'll come over and give me a hug to make me feel better.
 

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My ds says the very same thing!

If he's done something that makes me feel something other than happy, I tell him how I feel, but I do it in a fairly neutral way - it's really hard to describe, this is frustrating...
I turn the conversation away from 'Mama, on a scale of 1-10, what is your state of euphoria' and re-focus on what's happened to make him ask me this.
So, running away from me in a shop is what I tell him I want to talk about, not whether I'm happy or not.
My ds is just using the phrase as a way of discovering boundaries really.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Originally Posted by _betsy_ View Post
It sounds like he wants to know if you still love him, even though he's done something to upset you.
oh jeez. so the times when i've said "no, i'm not happy" means that he may have heard that i don't love him. horrifying! so, i have to reinforce that i love him even though i'm not happy at the moment. my poor little guy.
 

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Originally Posted by Barbee View Post
oh jeez. so the times when i've said "no, i'm not happy" means that he may have heard that i don't love him. horrifying! so, i have to reinforce that i love him even though i'm not happy at the moment. my poor little guy.

Oh I don't necessarily think so! Even though I often choose to reiterate it, I don't think its necessary.

Children know they are loved through actions, not words. You don't have to say you love him for him to feel it through your daily interactions.

I think sometimes it's hard for them to separate in their heads, but I also think they are pretty smart and figure it out quickly even if you never actively try to correct it.
 

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my toddler is the same way - always asking if I'm happy and double checking over and over again! I was concerned about it too - she'd get upset and say I was sad if I even closed my eyes to rest for a sec. After enough honest labeling of my emotions she's learned that sometimes mommy is many things, but she is eventually happy again and all is well! haha. It's calmed down a bit but for awhile it was just crazy with all the, "mommy happy???" *crying* "mommy sad!!" "make mommy happy?!" AHH!!!
 

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I think it's important to label our emotions accurately so that our children can better understand their own emotions. It's also important to display effective ways of handling our emotions. That way they can understand their own emotions better because we have labelled them. It will also help them know how to handle their emotions because we given them examples of what to do. For example, it's better to say, "I'm upset, I need some alone time," than it would be to yell and direct that negativity toward the child. Then if the child is upset later, they will more easily know that it's okay to be upset but it's better not to take it out on others.

I hope that made sense. I also agree that the key is to make the issue about the behaviour that was displayed and not the child themselves. Saying something like, "I love you very much, that's why I get sad when you do ______ ." is good. That way it is very clear that, while their behaviour was inappropriate, you still love them.

One last thing that I personally try to do is to avoid saying "you/it/he/she make(s) me sad/mad etc." It's probably because my mom said very often that it was my decision to be happy or unhappy no matter what anyone else did to me. Nobody can make me feel anything. It is my choice. To me, it gives a lot of empowerment. Thats not to say that I'm always happy but I realize that I do have a choice. My children can't make me upset. They can do things that contribute to my being upset but they cannot force me to feel a certain way. It's a subtle yet important (to me) distinction.
 

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I thought my toddler was just responding to all of my post-partum mood swings. What a relief to know other toddlers constantly ask the same question!
The thing I find frustrating is that my DD asks over and over again, regardless of how I answer. At times I'm ashamed to admit I've temporarily ignored her out of desperation.
So thanks for this post. It gives me new resolve to be patient with her ultra sensitivity to my emotional state.
 

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My son does this too. I was saying that I was not happy because he did 'fill in the blank', but then I started worrying that he would feel responsible for my happiness. Lately I try to say, "I am happy, but I don't like it when you do 'fill in the blank'"

I have no idea if that is good or not, and I do slip up sometimes and say something that is probably wrong. It is hard when you are constantly being tested by a toddler!
 

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my guys have done this too. Though its not my toddler who is at it right now, its my 5yo. Whenever I ask her not to do something or tell her she cant have her 50th freezy because dinner is ready, she immediately thinks that I am not letting her have A because I hate her. Then she goes into this thing that shes the worse girl in the world because she made me cry. She gets the made you cry thing because there has been a few times where I have cried in her presents. Mostly because she has hit me or said some really horrible things and I let it get to me. Even though I shouldn't have. How do you think I could fix this? You guys have some really amazing ideas already!
thanks and cheers
Pheen
 
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