Thursday, January 28, 2010

The 3 words a parent never wants to hear....

It finally happened. I knew it would but I didn't expect it to happen at this point in time...not while my kids are still so young. It's like a rite of passage in childhood, or at least the teenage years.

Oh, you don't know what I'm talking about yet, do you? I'm referring to those 3 little words that hurt so badly it feels like someone took a knife and dug it deep into your heart.

"I hate you"

My 5-year old son said those 3 words to me. Actually, he screamed them as loud as he could to make sure I heard him...and he emphasized the word "hate".

Why? What would cause him to shriek those ugly, hurtful words? You might be thinking I did something completely horrible, like take away his favorite toy or tell him he couldn't go to a playdate with friends.

You would be wrong. When I asked what the kids wanted for breakfast, he ignored me. I knew he could hear me, yet he pretended not to. Bella said she wanted a bagel and it happened to be the last one. When he came to the table and saw a waffle on his plate, he freaked out.

"I want a bagel", he yelled. "Well, then you should've answered me when I asked you what you wanted. Bella called the bagel first and it's the last one. So you get a waffle", I explained.

He crossed his arms in front of his chest and began to cry. Becoming irritated with him, I said, "Look, you have to leave for school in 15 minutes. So you either eat the waffle or go to school hungry". Then, after giving it some more thought, I added, "If you ask Bella nicely, maybe she'd be willing to split her bagel with you".

But he was far too past the "being nice" stage and he hollered, "Bella, give me half of your bagel". She shook her head no and protected her bagel with her hands. Can't say I blamed her.

He stood in the kitchen, with his arms crossed and his face as red as Santa Claus' suit, shouting, "I want a waffle". I ignored him.

He bellowed, "I don't like you anymore, Mommy". I shrugged my shoulders and said, "You don't have to like me", trying to sound calm.

That's when Cole did it....he pulled a Plan B on me. "I HATE YOU", he screamed. My entire body shuddered at the sound of those words.

My mind raced...what do I do? Do I ignore him? Or let him know how much he's hurt me with his words?

I went with the "never let them see you sweat" theory and responded, "Well, that's unfortunate since I happen to LOVE you".

He continued to stare me down. I wondered if I had handled the situation correctly. The one thing I knew with certainty was that my heart ached and, while I wanted to cry, I kept a stiff upper lip.

I didn't want him to go off to school, with those being the last words he had said to me. I'm one of those morbid people who always thinks, "What if this is the last time I see my kids?" Isn't that horrible? But we all know life is short and I never want to be one of those people who spends the rest of her life living with regret.

As Tim called for Cole to go outside and get in the car to head to school, I asked him for a hug and he obliged, saying, "I don't hate you, Mommy. But I really wanted a bagel".

I told him, "I know you don't hate me but hearing those words come out of your mouth made me really sad".

He said, "Okay, let's make a deal. I won't say I hate you anymore and you always make sure we have bagels to eat for breakfast".

Well, that was easy, though I'm still not sure I handled the situation correctly. And while I hope this was the last time I'll ever hear those 3 dreaded words, I have a feeling that won't be the case.

After all, we are talking about MY kids, who have a tendency to be just a tad bit overly dramatic. I have absolutely no clue where they get that personality trait from.

Memorable conversation of the day:

Bella: When are we gonna get a talking unicorn?
Me: Uh….probably never.
Bella: Probably because they live far away from here, right?
Me: Where do they live?
Bella: In New York
Me: New York? Where did you come up with THAT?
Cole: No, not in New York.
Bella: Then where do they live?
Cole: They live in South America with the flying monkeys.
Bella: Yeah, you’re probably right. I forgot about the flying monkeys.
Cole: The flying monkeys ALWAYS live with the talking unicorns.
Me: Am I dreaming or is this conversation REALLY happening?

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75 comments:

Alicia said...

Well, you better make sure you have bagels handy at all times!! LOL

I have yet to even hear those words come out of my kids mouths. My two older tweens may have thought it, but not said it, but it's still just as bad if they did.

Whatever is in your heart will come out of your mouth!

Sidnie said...

When one of my children says those 3 words to me, I want to remember your reply.
I do think you handled it correctly, you reminded him that no matter what you love him.

And bagels are must have in our house too. They have to be hidden or else, they won't last til lunch.

Flying monkeys and talking unicorns don't live together... the monkey live in the land of Oz. Just so you know for the next time that conversation comes up.
;)

Stacey said...

My boss has a 6 year old daughter who once told her she hated her. My boss returned the favor and said "I hate you, too." And may have embellished that a bit further, but I don't recall. Her daughter responded with a sad face and said "That's not very nice, Mommy." My boss then explained to her that she didn't actually hate her, but said it so she could see how mean those words were. I'm pretty sure her daughter got the message. LOL. I'm not looking forward to that part of having kids. LOL.

FRANNIE said...

Forget the unicorn, I'd go for the flying monkeys any day. :)

Buckeroomama said...

J had not said 'hate,' but he had said, "I don't like you, Mommy. Your rules are SO boring!" Part of me wanted to laugh (at the boring rules part), but a part of me withered (about him not liking me). I told him as calmly as I could, "Well, you know what? I love you anyway." Like you, I don't know what else I could have said...

singedwingangel said...

Ahhh the most dreaded words a parent can hear. As a mom to 3 boys I have heard them TONS.. hurts just the same every time. You handled it beautifully. I usually say well I am sorry that you hate me since I don't hate you, I do have a very strong dislike for your ACTIONS right now and the way you used your words.. but I love YOU

Karen & Gerard Zemek said...

Aw, you are a good mom and I think you handled that unexpected situation just fine. At least he came around before he left. Maybe it would help to increase his vocabulary to include some words in between love and hate that may help him better express what he's actually feeling.

That conversation is hilarious--where do kids come up with this stuff anyway?

HT said...

Have not heard those words yet, but I think it definitely will hurt!

Rebecca said...

Okay, my kids aren't talking yet, so there's no chance of this happening today...I dread it. I know I said it. I know it hurt my Mom. I wish I never had...I'm glad he realized the wrong of his ways though. Poor Bella...she must have been scared of her little red faced bagel wanting brother!

Mrsbear said...

Yeah, coming from a family of overly dramatic kids, I feel your pain. Don't sweat it too much. They never mean it. Every day around hear is "the worst day ever" last night specifically because I made a chicken and spinach lasagna. Suck it up, kids!

KimmyD said...

What do you mean? I always see talking flying unicorns in NY. Especially in the city. LOL Where do kids come up with this stuff?

Yaya said...

The 3 1/2 year I nanny for says that to me nearly every day. I just shrug and say 'you can hate me but you're still taking a nap'. Yesterday she kicked it up a notch to 'You've ruined my life FOREVER!' yeah....starting young.

Mighty M said...

I think you handled it perfectly. Try not to overreact (at least out loud) and they probably won't do it as often because it didn't get to you like they hoped.

Nice work, now go stock that freezer!! :)

Jessi said...

Ah! I think I would have cried right then and there!

I think you handled it well though.

Your kids conversations crack me up!

Eva Gallant said...

I think you handled it perfectly!
(But keep the breadbox stuffed with bagels, will ya?)

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Kids are kids, You're just an excellent mother and i just love your kids' conversations!

Carly said...

I know exactly how you felt when your son said that...My son said that to me once . I remeber I punished him for whatever he was doing then I went in my Bedroom and cried. I did not let him know I cried . He later appoligized to me. I know at this age they really do not mean it. They just have such a hard time expressing their feelings. I know he loves me a lot because he as asked me if I could Merry him! Wait till you get that one it's a great feeling.

Sadia said...

*hugs*

I don't think that there is a single right way to handle this sort of situation. I think you handled it admirably. I'm not sure how I feel about Cole's attempt to use the "hate" word as deal-making currency, but that's a separate issue.

"I don't like you right now," just about killed me. I'm so not ready for "I hate you".

Erin said...

It sounds like you handled it so well. I am dreading this, but we've come pretty close. I have no doubt it'll happen here soon, too. Ugh! Thanks for sharing this, though. It helps me to see how the expert navigates the muddy waters!

Brooke said...

yikes! of course if that were me i'd never keep bagels in the house again. that would show him. :|

Shell said...

You handled that with such grace and dignity.

LOL @ your memorable conversation. The things kids come up with!

yonca said...

When i hear any negative words from my son mouth, it really makes me SO SAD. And I told him how sad I am to hear those kind of words. Even though they are not his real thoughts.I think you handled that very well.Lol,they never know if we don't tell about our feelings.

Mommy24cs said...

My kids have never said the hate word but I have been called the meanest mom to which I reply "Well I am going for the meanest mom in the world title, so every little bit helps."

I'm a morbid person too and think about those types of things. Even if I am full blown mad at hubby for something and he leaves for work, I still give him a kiss. Same with the kids.

The Mother said...

Imagine how that feels when they are grown up, apparently rational late teenagers.

Liz @ Sugarplum Creations said...

Wow, who knew bagels were so important? I think you handled it perfectly. You showed him love when he showed you . . . less than love. A perfect way to teach by example, I say.

Donna said...

I thought the three words were gonna be, "Mom, watch Me...." they ALWAYS send my heart a pounding!

There have been times when Logan has looked at me with so much anger, I was pretty sure if he knew how, he would drop the f-bomb at me! S, I wasn't surprised when he told me, "I DON'T love you, Mommy." To which I reply - "that's okay I've got enough love for the BOTH of us." And I think he has even said the dreaded "I hate you" phrase - but he has just sort of "tested" it - saying it lowly as he walks away, little 3 year old arms crossed over his chest... ;-)

I have no doubt though, that those words will be hurled in my face soon enough. And I'm all for keeping it a calm re-action as well.

SO glad he hugged you and took it back before school, what a sweetie. And what a pact! I guess there are worse things than keeping a lifetime supply of bagels on hand... lol

cindi said...

That knife to the heart does cut deep. YOu did the right thing. i would tell my kids the same thing when they screamed the hate word at me. hang in there mom.

MamaOtwins+1 said...

My Dad always said, if your kids say they hate you, it's because you are doing something right.

Working Mommy said...

I think you handled the situation just fine - especially since you got your point across AND you got an apology. Well done mama!!

~WM

Nezzy said...

You handled the 'I hate you' meltdown in a clam and precise manner. Absolutely perfect. Your right, never let them see you sweat!

Ya, I tell the parents of teens I've counseled if your teen tells you they hate you at least once a day...your doin' something right.

Ya got to hand it to those flyin' monkeys, they sure know how to handle a unicorn! Heeeheeehe! Your kids crack me up :o)

Have a blessed day!

shortmama said...

I hope I never hear those words!!

Karen said...

You just made me feel so guilty for every time I said that to my mom growing up.

And it's kind of funny, but I sort of thought Bella would be the one to say it first. Being a girl and all.

Cascia said...

It sounds like your mornings are just as crazy as ours. You know your son really does not hate you. I've encountered similar situations with my kids. I love your conversation at the end of your article!

Corrie Howe said...

Ah, yes. Well, you should get used to it. I heard those words from my 16 year old last year. I know he didn't and it did bother me. However, I didn't say anything to him. My husband spoke to him later.

Rhaven said...

Awww, hugs. Those three words can rip you apart, but I think you did just fine. There is no one right way to respond to those situations. I think you did superb. Just remember kids push buttons. Thats their job. Yay.

Morgan said...

Sounds like he figured out how to never run out of bagels ; )

LMJ said...

I think you handled it superb!! I will definitely used the I love you response you did if my daughter ever says that tome. It made your son rethink and sort of apologize.

I love the flying monkeys and talking unicorns conversation. classic.

Ms Bibi said...

What a cute conversation. Yes, everyone knows that the unicorns live with the flying monkeys,lol.

KK said...

Bless your heart! Sounds like you did well to me.

Tracy said...

That was a test, and you passed with flying monkeys. Er...I mean colors.

Twins Squared said...

:( I was trying to guess what the 3 words and I thought if it were me the 3 words I would not want to hear would be I hate you. And it was. But of course we all know kids just say stuff like that. I think you actually handled it perfectly and that all was well by the time he left. And clearly he knew it was bad because he said something about it. Kaitlyn does that stuff in the morning too. She won't answer me and she just sits there. Uggghh! My kids are very intense too - it's like it's not enough we had to have 2 sets of twins but strong personalities to go with it! Only my little Reagan is more laid back but the other 3 - boy do they keep me on my toes!

momma23 said...

I received a similar response from my 2 year old earlier this week - Mommy, I no like you - because I served fish sticks and tater tots, and told him he needed to eat them. My response was, well,I'm sorry to hear that, but I know it won't be the last time you feel that way. It's so hard to be a kid. :)

Gracey said...

Way to go, girl! In my humble opinion, you handled it perfectly.

Annie said...

I think you handle the situation very well.

The Girl Next Door Grows Up said...

You did handle it beautifully!

My mom always said, "you don't have to like me, but you have to respect me."

OH the guilt I would feel!!!

Christina said...

You did well. I would of cried.

Tracie said...

You get a star sticker on your mommy chart for handling that so calmly.

LucidLilith said...

Saying that at 5...well...I guess he is an early bloomer? I mean...isnt he like eight years early with the phrase?

Shannon said...

Yes, you handled it appropriately. The way you did it caused him to actually THINK about what he said. You don't tell them it hurt you until AFTER they've apologized for doing it otherwise you set yourself up for manipulation in the future. And you reinforced your love for him is unconditional, even if he WERE to hate you. You did good, m'dear.

I've been there. Once with each child. My youngest one even packed his mini back pack (he was all of THREE) and began heading to his Dad's house...which meant walking down a highway for 10 miles (he didn't make it to the end of our driveway). I said the same thing you did. I haven't heard it since. Though I do expect to begin hearing it again in a few years when my oldest in smack dab in the middle of his teen years.

Joy said...

so sorry you had to hear those words. i think you handled it right.

Mama Taylor said...

I think you handled the situation pretty well. My sons are 3 and 1 and I'm dreading the day I hear those three words. So far he's still telling me that I'm his best friend.

Oh and I'm morbid like that too... I try not to be, but I'm always thinking that it could be the last time I see someone.

S Club Mama said...

wow I think you handled iy very gracefully! so sorry those words came...

Amy said...

Wow, I think you handled it just fine. I am so proud of you.. It is so hard to be a Mom some times..

Neo said...

dont sweat it out, u get a star!
they really dont know how it hurts to hear that.

lol @ ur conversation of the day. flying monkeys and talking unicorns??? maybe u shd plan a south america vacay....

Amy W said...

You did great! My oldest has used that one on me before. It hurts. Bad. I'm pretty sure I cried in the closet later. Unfortunately, it probably won't be the last time you hear it, but the first time is definitely the worst - so be glad you handled it well!

Sharon said...

Oh wow! i would have totally lost it. But so glad you had the chance to talk it out before he went to school... that would have been a LONG day otherwise!

Nancy@ifevolutionworks.com said...

Those words are AWFUL to hear!! I cringe at hearing it. "You're stupid" is also pretty painful :(

Missy (Two Little Monkeys) said...

Oh I am so sorry you had to hear those 3 words. But at least he apologized on his own - I think that says a lot! Hang in there!

Flory said...

My three year said those words to me a couple of months ago. I was shocked. She didn't even know what it meant. It turned out that she heard Nemo say to his dad - talk about having to monitor what they watch...

freckletree. said...

job well done.

and getting a talking unicorn really isn't so hard.

you just have to know the right people.

tattytiara said...

Oh hard morning, and glad it didn't end on that note. I've been thinking about writing a post about that horrible four letter word. It was the absolute most disapproved of word in the house growing up. You wouldn't get punished like you might for swearing, but you just didn't use it. My family would regard you like you'd eaten a kitten if you did.

Jenny said...

Yikes, that must have been hard to hear. I know Abby will eventually say it, but I never thought what my response will be. She's already told me she doesn't like me.

Mama Michie (aka Michaela) said...

Wow those are harsh words to hear, but I think you handled it perfectly. I'm glad that you both worked it out before he left for school too. I know what you mean about being morbid and unfortunately I had a friend in elementary school who stormed out of the house mad at her mom, only to find out later in the day that her mom, step-dad, brother and sister were in a fatal car accident. Since then I have always made it a point to not leave the house mad at loved ones! (Great story I know, but I had to think of it when you wrote that).

Kimberly said...

My kids said it when they were young. I did the follow up "Well, I love you" My son asked me "Even when you are mad at me?" Yes! I loved you before I ever knew you, and no matter what you do or say. I will always love you.

He then started crying, and gave me a hug.

My daughter took a little longer.

The Lane Family said...

Oh, Helene...I think you handled it very well. Sometimes I wonder where these kids here these things or come up with them.

The other day Aidan told me in a very angry voice...GYDY...goodbye...forever!!! I guess at least we know they don't mean it :)

Tesa said...

I'm so dreading this day. I think you handled it very well and I hope when it happens to me I handle it with as much grace as you did.

Oh, I'm so not looking forward to hearing those words.

Megan said...

Ugh, I'm sorry. I'm dreading that day too, and I have a feeling it's coming sooner rather than later. It was awfully sweet how quick he was to hug you and take it back, though. That melted my heart a little...what can I say, I'm a pushover.

Lani said...

I think you handled that really well. I dread the day I hear those words:(

Shell said...

I'm back to tell you that you have an award over on my blog- and I directed people to your lizard post. LOL

Semi-Slacker Mom said...

Get used to it!

MrsM said...

Monkey will be six in March and when he gets mad he doesn't say he hates me (probably because he doesn't even know that word as far as I'm aware), but he DOES tell me that he doesn't love me any more. The first time he said it I thought I was going to die. Still, I pretty much do the same thing that you did. I just look at him and tell him "well, I love you" and then drop the subject. I think that's all we can do. This is NOT a fun milestone, but I think it happens to every parent. Sorry about your rough day.

MrsM said...

Oh PS, you won my giveaway! Email me and we'll chat =)

cindi said...

Just wanted to let you know I awarded you an award for adding some sunshine to my life. Stop by and check it out.

When Did I Become said...

I absolutely ached the first time I heard those words. I stuck with the "I love you anyway" thing too. They don't say it anymore. :-)

Chin up girl - they adore you. They just need to vent sometimes, and sometimes we're just in the line of fire.

xoxo

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