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Question
Posted by: happy | 2009-06-25

3 yr old - emotions

hi there CS ,

my 3 yr old son has always been very clingy , but in the same breath headstrong and independent ( quite a contrast i know)
he has just started " big"  school with his bro and in the last 2 weeks whenever i say something he doesn' t like etc , he says he doesn' t love me , or like me and sometimes he says i dont love him. he doesn' t say this to his daddy. I am not too phased about it , just sometimes i wonder if he means it?
I always reassure him that I love him ( million times a day at least :-) ) and i am very reasonable and fair and i hear him out and i dont just react.. should i give it more concern or is this a "  i want to be like my daddy , so the easiest is to push mommy away so i dont feel so bad stage" ? ha ha , if there is a stage like that :-)

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

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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Our users say:
Posted by: Annon | 2009-06-26

Dont worry my 4 year old girl tells me i am not her mommy, and it hurts and when her daddy talks to her about it she comes running mommy, mommy mommy. I think they are just young and dont have the vocabulary to say what they really mean eventhough it hurts us

Good luck

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