When I was visiting Amos and Story in October is when this first happened. Amos had never said this to me before, and I was so caught off guard and honestly didn't know what to say or do. The three of us were playing upstairs in Licia's house when Amos took something from Story and I told him to give it back to her. He refuse and of course I made him do it and he looked at me straight in the eyes and said:
I DO NOT LOVE YOU.
What? I was so caught off guard. I looked at him and told him that makes mommy very sad, but I love him very much and will always love him. He then repeated “i do not love you.” I told him once again how sad that made me and that I loved him very very much.
At the time I thought what a little terd. Doesn't he see how much I love him that I come down here and visit him all the time. That night I started thinking about his actions and thinking of some of the things I had read on some blogs and I came to the conclusion that this little boy was mad at me for making him give the toy back and so he wanted to hurt me. He wanted to see if he said something really mean to me if I would get angry and stop loving him. I did neither. I didn't get angry at him and I for sure didn't stop loving him.
Then Aaron went to visit in November and he told me that Amos did the same thing to him. He had heard me tell him about my experience so he knew just what to say and he assured him that he did love him very much and that what he said was not very nice.
Well, fast forward 2 months and Amos is home with us! Within the first few days he had said that phrase “I do not love you” to everyone in our house, even Carson, our dog! We told him that it was not very nice and this time we added that we did not want to hear him say that again b/c it was so mean. From then on he has not said this to any of us anymore.
I can actually see his little brain working sometimes and can tell that he wants to say it so badly, but instead he says stuff like this:
I do not like lunch.
I do not like Carson.
I do not like Mommy's car.
I do not like my shoes.
I do not like Papa's car.
It makes us smile each time b/c he is trying so hard to make us mad and each time we reply with “oh that's funny I thought you loved lunch”, or “oh i'm sorry you don't like mommy's car, I love it”. It doesn't take long for him to move onto something else. Poor kid is trying to piss us off and that's just not going to do it.
He works so hard at is sometimes though.
So, when you get mad at someone today and you want to tell them like it is, look them straight in the eyes and declare to them: I DO NOT LIKE LUNCH.
That'll show em!
lol….you guys are GREEEAAAT!!! That Lord has something very special for that little boy! I can’t wait to see what it is!!!
Oh my — how precious!! And don’t you just know… there are many days going forward when I just might be heard to say “I do not like lunch.” And it will be just the thing to bring perspective to whatever little thing is making me irritated. See… Amos is being used even now. And he doesn’t even know it. 🙂
You guys rock.
I LOVE your attitude.
Naomi does/says the same thing to me, but she also adds, “I am not your friend”. That is actually the one that gets to me because I realize she doesn’t really understand “love” at her age but “friend” she sort of does.
Jason – it is so hard to hear them say that. I just hope it is a control issue for them and they are just trying to see what we will do. I always try to remain calm and reassure him that no matter what he says I will ALWAYS love him.
what do you guys do?
I’ll never forget the day that Emily told me she hated me. After crying my eyes out when she took her nap, I realized she had no idea what it meant. Incidentally today, she had a very dramatic moment and asked Derek, “do you not want me anymore?” Where in the world do they get that stuff? I am with you Jamie, we always just tell Em that she can never do anything that would make us not love her…reassurance, reassurance, reassurance. Can you tell I have had this conversation with my 4 year old three times already today?:):)
I think it is partly control, and it’s partly just the response of a hurt child. I did the same thing for a long time growing up, and only looking back can I see that because of my hurt I pushed people away because I believed they didn’t or couldn’t truly love me. So I would respond that way sometimes to test their love. Children who have been hurt a lot have a hard time trusting people, so if Amos doesn’t fully trust your love yet, he is going to push to see if it there is a breaking point. He wants to know if your love is real. And I love how you and Aaron continue to show him that. It’s just going to take a lot of time for that trust to build. I know that doesn’t make the waiting any easier. But it will happen 🙂 And I’m excited to see the process.
Jamie, seriously, we are living such parallel lives and I cannot wait for the next time we get to hang out. WHICH WILL HOPEFULLY BE IN UTAH IN MAY. But anyways, Kembe totally does this, too. Not quite so verbally, but anytime I say “I love you” or “We are so happy you are in our family” he shouts back “I DON’T WANT TO!”
Same message he’s trying to send.
I know he’s doing it to get a reaction, so I won’t give him one. At all. I just totally ignore it and keep a fake grin plastered on my face. I think he’s getting bored with it since it does him no good and hopefully it will end soon. But inside, it does make me die a little.
Eliot’s going through something similar and we’re almost out of it, thankfully. It was his default answer for the last several months. My favorite was when I told him we were going Christmas shopping and he yelled, “I DON’T LIKE CHRISTMAS!”
This post just made me laugh out loud!!! I’m gonna try that out:”I do not like lunch!”…so funny…
I just came across your blog. Funny, our son does the same thing, even though I know he likes whatever it is, blocks, food, etc. When he gets mad, he says ‘I don’t like it’, I say ‘okay’ and he moves on.