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Babysitter Angst

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Jennifer Ginsberg:"I hate you!" Shane glared at me and stomped his feet when I refused to turn the TV on for him yesterday morning. "You are not my mommy anymore. I don't even love you!"

young boy holding on the woman

I know that at 4 years of age he does not fully comprehend the gravity of the powerful words he is uttering. He is much more invested in my reaction than the content of his rageful expressions. Which is why I silently walked away from him, as emotionless as possible.

"I hate you mommy! Do you hear me?" He was begging for a response.

I got down on his level. "I hear that you are very angry ... very frustrated." I wanted to validate his real feelings without buying into the drama.

"When is Alicia coming?" Nice segue. Alicia is our babysitter and Shane is deeply and passionately in love with her. She the first caregiver in four years who has truly won Shane's affection.

This is a mixed blessing. It is wonderful that I can finally leave him with someone without having to peel him off of my body sobbing hysterically.

But it is also horrible that I can finally leave him with someone without having to peel him off of my body sobbing hysterically.

I don't know which is worse. Either way, I end up feeling like sh*t. Welcome to maternal angst.

When Alicia was leaving later that day, Shane jumped into her arms and said, "I love you sooo much."

I pretended not to notice as she struggled to disentangle him from her body.

Then he turned to me and demanded another TV show, even though he had already filled his quota for the day. "Shane, the TV is over for today and it is time for bed." I was as compassionate as possible.

"I hate you mommy!" Shane snapped at me and stomped off to his room.

God help me.


next: A Baby is Good for Biz
13 comments so far | Post a comment now
birdsfly April 15, 2009, 2:13 PM

Where does a 4yo learn to tell someone they hate them? Mine has a major temper on him but has never uttered that phrase.

michelle April 15, 2009, 2:32 PM

Maternal Angst - the love/hate relationship we all have with our children. Where else on the planet would a child be able to express themselves without judgment than with a parent.

Sometimes dealing with the frustration of our children can be difficult - yet we continue to love them unconditionally and provide a safe environment for them to flourish.

Well written by this author and very easy to identify with.

For Miss Birdsfly - here’s a lesson in childhood education for a pre-school teacher with 3 kids of her own. They learn it from older siblings, they learn it by watching tv, they learn it mostly from kids on the playground, and occasionally they learn it by overhearing something a parent might say like “I hate chocolate cake”… Don’t worry, your child will hate you soon enough - they all do!

michelle April 15, 2009, 2:33 PM

Maternal Angst - the love/hate relationship we all have with our children. Where else on the planet would a child be able to express themselves without judgment than with a parent.

Sometimes dealing with the frustration of our children can be difficult - yet we continue to love them unconditionally and provide a safe environment for them to flourish.

Well written by this author and very easy to identify with.

For Miss Birdsfly - here’s a lesson in childhood education for a pre-school teacher with 3 kids of her own. They learn it from older siblings, they learn it by watching tv, they learn it mostly from kids on the playground, and occasionally they learn it by overhearing something a parent might say like “I hate chocolate cake”… Don’t worry, your child will hate you soon enough - they all do!

Lisa  April 15, 2009, 2:46 PM

Great article.

A friend’s son told his dad that he “hated” him. Where did he hear that phrase they asked their son… from “Finding Nemo.”

Kristen April 15, 2009, 3:46 PM

Birdsfly, I had to laugh at your post. Most people these days allow their children to watch tons of television or movies and MOST kids shows and movies have the words hate, stupid, shut up, ect……..

Tabitha April 15, 2009, 3:56 PM

Leave it to Disney to teach kids everything they don’t need to know. In spite of what he says, he would not want to live without you.

Uly April 15, 2009, 10:18 PM

Kristen, even if you don’t let your kid watch TV they hear these words. Where? Everywhere! From people on the bus, from their little friends (some of whom watch TV, of course) and yes, even from you.

You casually say “Ugh, I hate this stupid thing” when you’re struggling to get your toast out from the toaster, or “Ick, I hate drizzly Mondays”. And your kid copies you and you don’t think much of it until they try that word out on a person - and WOW. THAT gets a response! So not only did you introduce the word (among with other forces in your kid’s life, of course), but you reinforce it by letting them know that if they want to get under somebody’s skin all they have to do is say “I hate you!” nice and loud.

Don’t know a four year old yet who doesn’t say nasty things. Deny them the word “hate” and they just get creative with it. My own beloved niece tried “I’m going to eat your bed and poo on it” and “I’ll become a witch and turn you into a boy” before resorting to… “I HATE YOU AND YOU’RE NOT MY FRIEND!” Naturally.

JY Lim April 15, 2009, 11:22 PM

the art of a great post is one that creates discussion - on both sides…this one is heated and i love it. keep the flames coming - burn baby burn…

oops, i hope my kid didn’t here me say that or he’ll want everything to burn down and grow up to set fires…

Ann S. April 16, 2009, 2:59 AM

Why is everyone ganging up on birdsfly. Look, even if kids learn words like hate or stupid, it’s up the parents to teach them that this disrespectful and not the way to talk to people, let alone parents.

Validate the feelings of a 4 year old? Sounds like a therapy session. Who’s the parent here?

Get a grip on your parenting skills first, then work with your children before they turn into spoiled brats who dislike anyone who doesn’t give them what they want!

Uly April 16, 2009, 4:15 AM

Or, Ann, you could totally ignore it and they’ll drop it on their own when they turn five.

Sure, it may be the lazy way out, but if it ultimately works as well as the hard way… look, dealing with a preschooler is hard enough as it is! You pick your battles.

Frankly, I think so long as you stick to your guns regardless of what they say, they’ll end up pretty non-spoiled. Learning that their words don’t have the power to upset you or change the subject is more important than learning that saying them gets Mom mad.

Ann S. April 16, 2009, 11:56 AM

Uly,

Have you ever been to disneyland? Have you ever been to a toystore with a toddler? They want everything and too often we give into them because it’s “easier” than dealing with it.

Tantrums are a natural part of a toddlers existence - but more often than today kids are growing up spoiled and with the wrong values - and checked out parents are to blame.

As parents we certainly have to be careful not to get too emotionally charged when kids speak to us in a way that is “disrespectful” - but they still need to learn the different in what their words mean.

Uly April 17, 2009, 1:49 AM

Ann, I didn’t suggest you “give in”. Please try reading - and this time, exercise your comprehension skills.

I *said* that you should pick your battles and enforce your rules *without* getting dragged down in pettiness about language. Once you’ve already said “no candy”, stay on that subject - don’t switch to “no saying this, no saying that”.

And no, I’ve never taken a child to Disneyland or to a toystore. Why would I?

babysitter job April 18, 2009, 9:01 AM

I guess that in most cases, the babysitter and the child usually bond together. People don’t care so much about this relationship because they see babysitting only as a job, but for some babysitter it’s more than that.


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