PARENTING: The first time my child told me he doesn't love me...

PARENTING: The first time my child told me he doesn't love me...

Definitely never thought I would hear those words come out of his mouth...

Sad young brown skinned woman crying
Sad young brown skinned woman crying/Pexels Website

As a new parent, you go through a phase of having an ideal way of wanting to parent. 

You want to raise your child in a certain way and you have to admit that at some point or the other, before or whilst becoming a parent, you would roll your eyes at that mother who was getting demolished by her toddler at the mall - thinking to yourself, that will never be me. 

But all things considered, you experience a natural high when first becoming a parent. 

The pride, the overwhelming love you have for this little human, the range of emotions that seem to come at you from all directions, and at some point or the other, the constant questioning, wondering if you are making the right choices, saying the best words...

But when your day comes, if it hasn't already, be sure that parenting is an ongoing experience and doesn't just end when your kid reaches a certain age. 

The pain, the love, the discomfort, and the questioning will always be there, but it is up to you to find the beat to your own drum. Figure it out and merge with your child, learn to be there for them instead of pushing them away. 

It was like this for me when my son recently got extremely upset and responded to my, "I love you" with, "I don't love you, mama..."

There it was, like a bullet through the chest and head. It was as if someone had started cutting onions or something because my eyes welled up with tears.

I couldn't believe that this was the same child that is usually so loving to me. But in the moment, I have to admit, I paused for a bit, feeling rejected and hurt. But after I took a minute, I remembered some advice from an online source about parenting toddlers. 

It said something like; toddlers are dealing with so many emotions and are still figuring out how to process it all.

Another mom who shares some great tips also said that a tantrum or an outburst is your child's way of saying, "I am not okay, something is troubling me." 

So, I assessed the situation and realised that he was overwhelmed with emotion over the fact that he felt threatened by the attention that I was giving to my niece, who might I add is just a few weeks older than him. 

Now that sense of jealousy is normal, so I hear, but how you handle any and all emotive outbursts sets the tone for future ones. It may not seem like it, but consistency is truly so important. 

And yet it's so difficult to practice. As they are learning to deal with the overflow of emotion, so are we...

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The next time he said that to me, which wasn't that long after the first time, I was a bit stronger and just sat there reassuring him that even though he feels that way, I will always love him. 

I also reassured him if he wants to talk about what is troubling him, that I was there for him. 

Now what I have learnt is that toddlers can use your kindness and patience against you, but staying firm and consistent, as mentioned before, is integral. They don't mean to be malicious, they are just testing their boundaries and yours to see what they can get.

All in all, if you are waiting for the happy ending, there isn't a universal handbook that guarantees one for every parent or family. It's a joint effort that takes work and requires you to be present and conscious at each step. 

We sometimes forget how damaging it can be to snap at our kids when they test our patience and say things like, "What is wrong with you?" This could be detrimental to their futures, so if you ask me, pause before shouting out of anger. 

I know it is not as easy as it sounds, and it does take a concerted effort, but if you want to raise a good human who spreads love, then try it out. More than that, if you want to be the best parent for your child, then learn how to speak a language that nurtures both them and yourself. 

Because, ultimately, our children mirror us in a lot of ways, and if we don't teach them how to love without condition, then it may set the tone for their love language for the rest of their lives. 

Carol podcasts
East Coast Radio

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