Our expert says:
Hi there, and pleasd to see you're still "happy",
Yep, interesting paradox, isn't it, to be headstrong about being clingy ? And how perceptively some kids recognize that saying they don't love you, is the cruellest weapon to hand. I don't think he means it for an instant : it's code for "I'm feeling very angry and frustrated and want to say something hurtful." In most families, dad isn't around as much or close enough for this tactic to be so appealing to the kid. It's part of the awkward stage ( some of my colleagues seem never to have left it ) of starting to recognize the power of saying No, of being oppositional, and of expressing one's independence by disagreeing.
When the disagreement is about him refusing to do something reasonable like put on his shirt, one can sometimes get round it by not pushing him to put on THIs particular shirt ( so he refuses, to be powerful ) but instead offers him the choice of this shirt --- or that ( equally aceptable ) shirt and he can get to feel powerful by choosing, not always recognizing that you are satisfied whichever he chooses.
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