/ #Parenting 

I don't love Mommy!

I wanted to say, ‘Well, I don’t love you either!’ But here’s what I did instead.

“I don’t have office today but I have a meeting at Starbucks,” I tell my three, almost four year old.

“But Starbucks is just for Jamaine, can I go with you?” she asks.

“Well, it’s a meeting for grown ups so only Mommy can go.”

“I don’t love Mommy!” she shouts as she stomps out of the room.

What’s the instinctive response when someone says “I don’t love you?”

“Well, I don’t love you either!”

But I didn’t say that, tempting as it was to retort just for the sake of it. Because the truth is, I do love my baby, her tempers and all. I love her and I know she loves me even if sometimes she thinks she doesn’t.

How do you stay patient with a kid who seems to hate you?

Understand that little ones are still learning to deal with their emotions. Oftentimes, they are impulsive and they blurt out the first thing they think or feel. They do not second guess themselves. They don’t evaluate whether what they say is right or wrong. They don’t stop to think about whether they will hurt somebody’s feelings or not.

They don’t say things just to hurt somebody. They’re just expressing the way they feel. That’s just the way it is.

As the parent who’s supposed to be more mature and more tolerant, it’s our job to teach them how to deal with their emotions. As much as it’s also our job to teach them how to react in situations like these.

While it may seem easier to be just as impulsive, I remind myself to practice patience and to put things in perspective. How do I want my kids to react in case they find themselves at the receiving end of an outburst? I want them to stay calm and to be compassionate with the other person. So that’s what I do.

Although sometimes it helps when I approach my daughter and try to appease her anger, most of the time, I just let her be so she can sort out her feelings on her own. Give or take a few minutes and she’ll apologize or initiate a reconciliation, and she’ll return to her happy self.

Patience takes practice — daily practice — that I know for sure. Whatever situation you find yourself in, intend to be patient with your little one. You’ll be glad you did.

I know I was because a few minutes after her outburst, my little girl comes saying, “I love you, Mommy.” She didn’t need to say “I’m sorry.” Those four words were enough for me.