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Dealing with rejection from my 3 year old

(8 Posts)
spritesoright Wed 31-Dec-14 11:44:16

I know in theory of that this is natural development and she's testing boundaries but it really hurts.
Last night I said "Love you DD" and she answered "well I love Daddy." "And mummy right?" "No, I love you sometimes and sometimes I don't."

She got a new sibling 10mo ago so I often think she's reacting to this but maybe it's just developmental and it's like she knows I care so it gives her power.
I am home with her 3 days a week and can't help feeling annoyed that despite me doing way more for her and being much more patient with her, Daddy always comes tops.
Please don't flame me too much. I know I need to be the grown up in this situation but will she grow out of this?

inconceivableme Wed 31-Dec-14 11:54:57

My son is 2.4. He's been similar in the past month or so. Only wants Daddy to put him to bed and if he wakes at night. DH says I should just enjoy having a break from the bedtime battles but I also feel a bit rejected and a bit silly about feeling that way. He has no siblings so maybe it's just an age thing / phase? It's been better over Christmas so maybe he's over it now?

spritesoright Wed 31-Dec-14 12:09:43

Thanks for that. At least it's not just mine.
How do you respond? I usually say "well I love you" but when I felt she was being mean about it I told her "that's not nice and you shouldn't say things like that."

This was when she was saying "you're not my friend" and it was to other children as well. I realised I didn't like her speaking that way to others so why should I accept it towards me?

SalsaP Wed 31-Dec-14 13:46:08

I've had the same from my 3 year old DS. Daddy this and daddy that has been driving me to tears if I'm honest. Sometimes I deal with it well as a grown up should and other times I feel utterly fed up and feel like I may as well not even be there. DS was full of "not you mummy, I want my daddy" for quite a few weeks but it is gradually calming down a bit now.

I know 2 other mummy's with children around the 3 year old mark having the same issues. One is a SAHM and the other is a high flying working mother who works very long hours. This makes me feel like its an age thing that lots of children go through.

spritesoright Wed 31-Dec-14 14:33:52

I don't blame you for the tears Salsa, it's so upsetting and you're supposed to pretend it doesn't but it's like a little dagger in my heart.
Now she is more articulate it's even worse. On the train she told me "Mummy, you're not my friend. Daddy is my friend and Dsis is my friend but you have no one."
It's pathetic on my part and I know she doesn't really mean it (I don't think) but ouch, it hurts.

mipmop Wed 31-Dec-14 14:58:16

Try not to react emotionally, and make sure that only one of you is behaving like a 3 year old grin and the other is behaving like an adult.

It is a natural stage of development, she is discovering new abilities, practicing them and noticing her impact on her world. Just like imaginative play and the ability to lie, react as you would when she tells you her red toy is blue. Be matter of fact, or make the lie ridiculous, but don't react emotionally. If she says she loves her daddy just respond to that and don't ask if she loves you too. "It's nice to have people who love you" or "daddy and I both love you" or whatever.

BertieBotts Wed 31-Dec-14 15:32:18

This is not what it sounds like, and it's not even pushing boundaries I don't think. It's more immature language development. When she says "Sometimes I love you and sometimes I don't", what she means is "Sometimes I'm angry with you and sometimes I'm happy with you."

You can help by translating this into words. I read something as well which I can't find now (maybe in How To Talk?) where you say to the child "Sometimes you have two feelings. You love the baby, but sometimes he's annoying." You could explain that feeling happy or sad with somebody is something we feel for a short time but love is different, love is something we feel even when we are angry and that love never goes away.

Remember as well that at this age they have no ability to imagine how they will feel about something in the future, or remember how they felt about something in the past, and everything is black and white. She probably says some food is her favourite food ever one day and then the next it's hated and despised. This is the same thing - what she actually means is "I don't feel like eating this/playing this/being around you right now". But because she's unable to separate "temporary, right now" with "permanently, forever" she uses the language of permanency because it's what she knows.

Give her the words, and she will - slowly - start to use them more appropriately and over time she will understand the nuance between the two as well.

spritesoright Wed 31-Dec-14 16:45:04

Thanks Bertie, that is so interesting (I always find your posts insightful). I read that too in HTTSYKWL but hadn't thought to apply it to this situation.

I don't think she's ever said "I'm angry at you" and I'm sure you're right that this is often what she means. I am after all the one that disciplines her most of the time so it makes sense. That is so fascinating how they understand time. She uses yesterday as a catch all for anything that's happened in the past so it's clear her concept of time is a bit fuzzy.
And YY to not reacting emotionally. Harder to do than say though.

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