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“I Don’t Like You, Mommy!”


Whoever told me that 3-year-old kids are tougher than 2-year-old kids was not kidding. This whole “threenager” thing is totally real, and it tests my patience on a daily basis.  

My 3-year-old, Lena, is in what her teachers call “the testing phase.” Apparently she torments the teachers, too. After I received Lena’s first “bad listening day” report from school, my husband and I decided we need to start creating consequences for bad behavior. If Lena receives a “bad listening day” report, she does not get to watch her evening TV show before bed. Since my husband commutes from the city, he wasn’t there the first time I had to enforce our new rule. This is how it went down: 

Me: You didn’t listen to your teachers today, so we aren’t watching Daniel Tiger today.

Lena: No!!!!!!!!

MeIf you’re a good listener tomorrow, we can watch it tomorrow before bed.

Lena: Okay, I will listen tomorrow. Can I watch it tonight? 

Me: No, not tonight. 

Lena: What about Doc McStuffins?

Me: No, no show tonight. 

Lena: What about Winnie the Pooh? 

Me: No, no show tonight. 

Lena: But Winnie the Pooh is not a show, it is a movie. (oh, boy, got me on a technicality…)

Me: No shows or movie tonight. 

Lena: I don’t like you, Mommy!

It was the first time she’s ever said this to me. I saw fast forward to her teenage years and the other times she is likely to think or say this. All I could come up with to say: 

“I love you.”

She ran underneath the table and told me she needed space. She stayed there for about 5 minutes before coming out and asking for a hug, which I was more than happy to give. After dinner, pjs, and books, I did get an “I love you,” out of her, but the “I don’t like you,” reminded me of the challenges to come. The rules we enforce on our kids aren’t popular, but they are necessary. It’s up to us to teach them how to be good people, and while they won’t always like it, they will always love us. In other news: Lena’s been getting some “great listening day,” reports (not every day) from school lately, so I guess our new rule is kinda working. 

Has your kid told you they don’t like you? 


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