"http://www.w3.org/TR/xhtml1/DTD/xhtml1-transitional.dtd"> urbanMamas

When we fight: Kids say the darndest things

This morning, my boy woke up on the wrong side of the bed.  He didn't want breakfast, he didn't want to get dressed, he didn't want to go to school.  He was sour, through and through.  He was wearing on his dad's patience with every "no" and refusal.  Negativity rose further to physical manifestations.  Our boy threw a dish rag at his dad.  And, to climax: "I don't want you to be my dad anymore!"

I wanted to give our boy & his dad some time to cool off.  I said to our boy, "That isn't loving or kind," which is sometimes my auto-response to negative comments or behavior.  

Kids say the darndest things, even things like "I hate you, Mama".  Many times, these statements are made in the heat of a moment; they are things they might not really mean.

Before long, and before we were heading to school, our boy went to his dad to apologize.  "I'm sorry, Dad".  And, his dad to him, "I'm sorry, too.  I was just frustrated."

No doubt these moments happen in your household, too.  How do you diffuse the situation and close the loop?  How do you make amends?


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

My 4 year old recently told me in the heat of the moment he doesn't like me but he loves me.

I am not sure what the scope of normal is with regard to fighting and throwing things. When my boy was about five, he went through a period of being so defiant and aggressive. He mostly directed the defiance at me and his father and the aggression came out at school. But occasionally we'd get the aggression at home too. We were able to resolve this entirely by giving him 5-HTP, a precursor to the neurotransmitter serotonin. Low serotonin is best known for causing depression, but in some people (mostly males) it can cause aggression instead. We experimented beginning with 50 mg once a day (away from food). Our boy ended up needing what would normally be a high adult dose (and we worked at this with our wonderful doctor Dahra Perkins, MD) but it also turned out he had gut issues which inhibited absorption so he probably wasn't getting much of what we gave him. Years later we did tests that showed that he doesn't convert l-triptophan in food to 5-HTP. That's why he needs the supplement. The cause of this may be genetic or it may be heavy metals but the doctors and researchers I've talked to have indicated that they see it all the time.

I guess I want to communicate two things. 1) If the child's behavior doesn't make sense relative to their environment and experience, there may be a biological cause. 2) Disciplining a child who is going through this will be fruitless and damaging to all concerned. I really believe that a healthy, balanced child raised with love wants to please his or her parents. The children at highest risk for physical abuse are those who exhibit defiance. It's so important that parents understand that the child is not choosing to be defiant. They should seek help. Another great resource in the Portland area is the Amenda Clinic.

Our boy is sweet and helpful now. Most importantly, he's happy even when he doesn't get something he wants. While independent and headstrong by nature (like his parents), he is never defiant or aggressive.

My child seems to think he can say unkind things and then everything will be normal when he feels better. We are workign on getting through to him that he needs to reach or or be accepting to others doing so to get that closure. I think he doesn't exactly mean all he says, but that is another issue... he may not mean it unkindly but that is how it sounds to us! I try to let go what I can (I hate you is not a big one for me) and worry about the ones that seem persistetent and may point to real issues.

I'm a father of two and I've been through with this many times. The only thing I do is understand and lecture him. Things starting go better when both of us calmed.

One more thing. I wouldn't make them feel superior before us parents. That is where defiance and aggression starts if you can't discipline them at first.


The comments to this entry are closed.