Saying “I Still Love You” When You’d Rather Trip Your Kid as She Stomps Out of the Room

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tween-girl

“You’re the meanest Mommy everrrrrrrr! I don’t love you! I don’t even like you!” Ana Lu screeched, stomping on the floor, arms down by her side, hands balled into petite fists … wait for it… followed by the quintessential stomp out of the room. Into her room she goes, catapults herself onto her bed, yanks the comforter over her head and grunts octaves higher than necessary, assuring I get the memo she’s pissed.

Note to self: Get this kid into acting classes. Her natural flair for drama is extraordinary. My friend recently recommended I get Ana Lu into drama classes, that perhaps she’ll channel her inherent knack for drama in a theater, rather than our home.

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I can only hope.

I follow Ana Lu into her room, kneel down next to her bed and gently lay my hand on her back. She twitches, pulls away and grunts overtly again.

“I still love you, Sweetie.”

It’s the first thing I say every time she says I’m mean or that she hates me. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not as if I’m overly joyful in the moment. Inside I’m fuming because I know that I bust my mommy-ass to raise her, so getting told I’m mean while setting a basic rule really pisses me off.

If I’m honest, there are plenty of times I’ve considered sticking out my foot to trip her when she stomps off all attitude-y to her room.

But regardless of my intermittent, unhealthy desire to trip my five-year-old when she’s acting like a twit… I’m always mindful of saying, “I still love you.”

I always want her to know – no, it’s vital that she know – she can be real with me. That I can take it. I ask her if she wants me to stay. She murmurs, “Yes,” in a tone of voice that communicates, “I need you, but I don’t want you.”

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I sit on her bed, start to rub her back and feel her petite body relax underneath my loving touch. Most times, after I sit with her for a minute she regains confidence that my love is unconditional, and I’m cool with her spazzing out on me; she’s ready to be alone. She softly whispers, “Space, please.” She knows she needs alone time to wind down.

Thank God.

I desperately need it, too.

Related post: The Multiple Personalities of a Tween Girl 

Comments

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  1. 1

    Bekah says

    This is so perfect! I love it. I try so hard to make sure that I always tell my kids that I love them when they are mean and it’s amazing how much it helps both them and me. But I still love to think about tripping them! I am so happy knowing there are other moms like me out there. :D

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  2. 3

    says

    My youngest (8 year old boy) will be a complete turd all day and then, when bedtime rolls around, want a big hug (which I give.) Then, on my way out of his room, he’ll yell, “I love you!” I reply back with, “I love you, too,” but then flip him the bird once I’ve closed his door…

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  3. 8

    says

    Just last night my daughter told her dad “I don’t like you. You’re a poo-poo head”. I told her it wasn’t nice what she said to her dad. I guess she thought about it and few minutes later she went and told him she was sorry. He said ‘I love you too.”

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    • 10

      Mary says

      It’s a bit of a stretch to call a child’s acting out “emotional abuse”. She’s not deliberately inflicting harm. She’s five, and not in control of her emotions yet.

      While I agree that it’s important to teach kids that their actions have consequences, the best way to teach a child to control her emotions is to give her that security of knowing that Mom’s not going anywhere. I think this writer handled the situation really well by showing her daughter that 1) she doesn’t control Mommy’s emotions, (making her temper tantrums less effective), and 2) unconditional love.

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    • 11

      Kylie says

      The point is that you have to teach them that this type of behavior is wrong before it becomes ok for them to treat you like crap. I make sure my son knows I love him but I also make sure to remind him that I have feelings and it is not ok to hurt someone else. I want my son to be “real” with me but I also want to be “real” with him. Everyone has feelings and he is responsible for how he treats EVERYONE, including his parents.

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    • 14

      Bignoggins says

      The last time I checked, public tantrums and lack of self control were considered a big problem to greater good. If we don’t start at age 5 teaching kids it’s NOT ok to wig out, you have lost the battle when they are 13 and 33.

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      • 15

        thatboymomwithagirl says

        I agree. My kids are 17, 15 and 13. I have never heard “I hate you” out loud. They know better than to say some self-indulgent, entitled crap like that simply because they do not get their way. Have they thought it or muttered under their breath? No doubt. However, self-control comes first in this house. Completely expected.

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  4. 16

    Clare says

    Sometimes my 9 year old daughter tries half-heartedly to hit or shove me while also hugging me, her fury towards me in those moments is so fierce that that she needs the reassurance of a hug at the very moment she is expressing her anger! Luckily for us both she recognises the ironic nature of the conflicting feelings and at first that in itself intrigued her enough to distract her, (and me), and now it brings out a begrudging smile which sometimes allows us both to laugh and move on past the anger and look at the cause together – if we’re lucky! It can also sometimes lead to a brief smile, followed by stomping off to her room and slamming the door with utter frustration at being 9!

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