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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
dd is newly 3, and whenver she does not like something she is very likely to say 'i am scared'. for example she is digging with her fingers into my friend's cake, because she wants to feed my friend, and i gently tell her that my friend will feed herself, and it is not appropriate to put ones fingers into other people's food.<br><br>
immeditely she withdraws and tells me she is scared.<br><br>
now, i think i know how she feels. she was in the middle of something that she thought was 'good' and helpful, and considerate, and here i am, informing her of her inadequacies. my mother used to do this to me, i felt awful. so i try to first focus on the positive: 'hey, you are being very thoughtful by wanting to feed my friend. you baked this cake, and you want to share' (while being painfully aware that her dirty fingers are in my friend's food :LOL ). and only then adding the 'correction', as gently as i can.<br><br>
now back to 'i am scared'. if i feed it back to her, a la active listening, we end up with repeating this for a few minutes. i try to elaborate: "i hear you. you say you are scared. you were trying to help, but i had to interrupt you. it seems you are feeling embarassed." she keeps on saying that she is scared, adding on that she is sleepy (i.e. wants me to leave the guest and nurse her in the bedroom). it seems we are getting nowhere.<br><br>
and how do i respond to her being self-conscious and seemingly embarassed?<br><br>
i do not want to reinforce that she is scared, but she keeps repeating it, and wouldn't say why.<br><br>
i ended up telling her that she could snuggle next to me and nurse, if this made her feel better, but that i was not able to nurse her in the bedroom, but she refused and proceeded screaming on the floor.<br><br>
so how would you handle this specific situation, and the issue in general?<br><br><img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/slingboy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Slingboy">: <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/nocirc.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nocirc"> :2tandem :home2:
 

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Oh... this has happened with me and my 3 y.o. dd. I feel so awful when she's doing something enthusiastically—like kissing her 3 month old brother—and I have to *correct* her and then she feels badly. I hate it, hate it, hate it and I want to kick myself afterwards. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"> But in some instances she doesn't know she's not being gentle enough or whatever and something needs to be said before there's an injury. I watch her face change from open to crumpled and sad and I'm not sure how to do it differently. She also says she's *scared* at moments when I think that scared may not be what she's really feeling but she doesn't know a better word. I don't want to be that mama that's beaten down the spirit of my girl and I see that I'm unintentionally doing it sometimes. It makes me feel ill. I also don't want to brush off her feelings. She often asks me to "carry her" after one of these episodes which is the equivalent to your dd wanting to nurse. She just wants reassurance and love.<br>
I have no advice... I'm just commiserating with you and I'll be watching for other, wiser mother's reponses.
 

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At 3 years old, I am not sure she has the knowledge base to understand the full range of motions she has. Scared may be the best word she can find to explain how she is feeling. You might help her out by explaining fully the emotions you are feeling in certain situations. She can relate and better put words to her emotions.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/nod.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="nod"> My DD went through a phase of saying she was scared for things she just didn't want to do, or other situations like the ones described above where fear was just obviously not a factor. I struggled at first with not wanting to invalidate her feelings, or suggest that I knew better than her what her feelings were. But I eventually realized that, like mpeel said, she just lacked the words to describe a decent range of emotions. She felt something, but the only word she had for it was scared. So what I did was try to just "skip" the "I'm scared" part when talking to her - not invalidating it by saying anything about that part, but just getting past it to the problem at hand - and then talk about what she was doing, a better solution, etc. Hope that makes sense!
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
thank you mpeel and piglet -- it does make sense. going past the wording but discussing it, without invalidating.
 
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