Wednesday, April 2, 2008

You don't love me as much.

I am not sure what I've done to Sarah, but she thinks that I don't love her. For the past several weeks she has been saying things to me like, "You don't love me" or "You love Cheyanne and Caity more than me." (Cheyanne and Caity are my friend Jennifer's children.)

And, while it's true that I do love Cheyanne and Caity, I love them in a different way than I love Sarah. But how do you explain to a 3 1/2 year old the different types and levels of love and that the heart is big enough to love many, many different people, many, many different ways?

I don't think I've done a good job with my explanations, because she continues to say these same things over and over again. And she continues to ask if I love Daddy and Peter more than I love her. So I have to try to explain that I love Daddy, Peter and Sarah the same and that I love the three of them more than anyone in the whole world.

And then she gets me with, "What about Grandma and Grandpa? Don't you love them as much as me?"

I have tried to be equitable in my conversations with her, trying to be fair about explaining who I love and how much, and trying not to leave anyone out, but last night, I gave up. And while Peter wasn't listening, I told her what I think she wanted to hear.

I said, "Sarah, I love you more than anybody in the whole wide world."

And the questions finally stopped.

I'm sure there will be more questions today, but for just one brief moment, I wanted her to feel that all of my love was just for her.

I'm not sure what I've done to make her question my love for her, but I want to erase all doubts. I want her to know that I love her. I don't think I will ever be able to explain just how much I love her, but I don't want her to question or doubt.

I just want her to know.


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28 comments:

Heather said...

I think, at that age, there's no easy way to explain love. I'm 36 and don't understand it. If your answer satisfied her, then it was the right one.

tommie said...

Let me preface this by saying that I have a 3 1/2 year old and an almost 5 year old (they are 16 months apart). Now, EVERYTHING is a competition....who grabs their lunchbox off the counter first,who reaches the car door first, who buckles the car seat faster, who races to the door to preschool faster....No matter what, it turns into who can do it better, faster, more.

So I can see how easily this could be confused with 'who do you love more'? If for right now, that made her feel better, then to me that is what is right.

OHmommy said...

It is a hard concept to grasp for such a young child.

You did a great job. Way to go!

Chelle' said...

Oh Beth. I'm so sorry you've come up against this already.

Here in our house we are known for saying to each of our children, all the time You are my favorite (Enter age and sometimes gender)in all the world.

So if it is K-girl... "You are my favorite 4 year old ever." Or even, since we only have one girl... "You are my favorite daughter... noone else even comes close."

Sneaky little love statements like that to makes our children feel like they are the most important people in all the land.

Maybe that would help your daughter... especially as she is 3.

When we say that to K-girl now, B who is my oldest looks at me as if to say, "Duh Mom... she's your ONLY 4 year old/daughter." So I just wink at him.

Hope that helps.
Chelle'

jennwa said...

She knows you love her but unfortunelty she will never know how much until she has kids of her own. There is no way to explain a mother's love.

Texasbelle said...

I don't think you have done a thing to make her question your love for her. I think as an intelligent 3 year old (I have one of those myself), she just found a button and is experimenting with pushing it. You handled it well, now stop second guessing yourself!

Family Adventure said...

It's a difficult one. I tell me boys each that they are the best, but then I tell them that there are two 'bests'. They seem to accept that. That they are absolutely equal. So far, that's been enough. I don't know what I would have done if they'd started ranking my nephews, or their uncles and aunts.

I'll be curious to read how this one pans out tonight... :)

Heidi

Christina said...

I agree with Heather its the age, and being a girl. Sometimes I think little girls are smart and a little tricky too. She knows you love her and just keep showing her. It will get harder because daughters can be a lot different than sons. My daughter who is now 17 going to be 18 in May was a lot like this at around 3 or 4. she was very clingy and was attatched to her dad and would always want me to tell her I love her, etc. Now she is still spoiled and attached to her dad, but somewhere along the line we have become, not just mother and daughter, but friends. She is anything but clingy and in need of attention. She is very confident in herself and has not been trouble at all. She was like I said a little difficult up until about 12, but it is only time that will bring your daughter around. Just keep reassuring her and remember stand firm. She will battle you a lot and maybe even know that she is getting to you all with this, but rest assured you will come out at the end with a loving confident daughter. Just wish it didn't take so long.

My Goodness said...

hee hee! Sometimes, you just have to say what they want to hear...seems like they'll forget anyway.

Mama Zen said...

I agree with Texasbelle. She can tell that the question gets to you. I doubt that she's actually feeling unloved or anything like that.

I would have told her the same thing!

Nap Warden said...

I think you just have to tell them again, and again, and again...Mine are much smaller, but it sounds like you handled it well:)

Not Your Regular Mini Van Mom said...

It is funny you wrote about this, with twins everything is a competition. I tell both my boys seperately that I love them the best...I only hope that they never compare notes LOL

Amy said...

She knows your love and will know it more as time goes on. Additionally, in time she will be able to explain and articulate it as well.

Yes, my name is Arizona said...

That's a tough one! She probably just wanted reassurement. My son is 3 and how much I love him is a topic around here, too. I think my son is just jealous of his twin sisters...they need so much attention so there's a lot of competition among the 3.

Tammy said...

Sounds like you handled it very well. :)

beth said...

She will really know when she has her own children. Until then, it sounds like you handled it just right.

Amy Wyatt said...

I think it is an age thing. My 4 1/2 year old went through the same thing awhile back. And even now when I punish her for something she says "you don't love me." I think she is just seeing how far she can push the boundary. When ML started questioning if I loved her brother more... I just turned the question on her. I asked if she loved Daddy and she said yes. Then I asked if she loved Mommy and she said yes. Then I said "See, you can love more than one person and I can love more than one person with all my heart too." I then tried to teach a lesson about the love of Christ by telling her that he loves everybody and we are made to be like Him and we can and should love everybody too.

Bonnie said...

They sure know how to get to us, don't they ? I think she is just looking for reassurance. I think you handled it well. I have one boy and one girl so I always say things like you are my favorite girl/boy in the whole wide world !! They love that !!

Jenileigh said...

My daughter is 6 and makes statements like this sometimes! Glad she is satisfied now! They can be so hard sometimes! Precious but difficult!

Steph said...

Love the new look!

I never questioned my mom's love for me. But my kids do. Or they say they do. I remind them all the time, and even tell them that 'even when I'm mad and yelling at you, I love you', That never stops.
I don't know how to make them understand that it's a forever thing.
When I put them to bed, I say "Out of all the little girls in the world, I've got the very best one!" and I say it to all of them, and they hear me say it to their sisters, but they know when I'm saying it to them, I mean it for THEM. And it's true!

You did a good job though. :)

The Nester said...

HI Beth! Fellow NC blogger here! I love to read about your daughter--I only have boys and this is all so different!

carrie said...

Aaaaw, little girls . . . I definitely know how that goes!

I love the new look! :)

Motherhood for Dummies said...

I remember asking my mom things like that, "do you love Luke more than me. Do you love melanie more than more" I think I may have bugged her a bit :)

the mother of this lot said...

Course she knows!

Award over here for you from The Fixer!

Ann(ie) said...

awwwww. Well done, mom. I think that was the perfect thing to say. She needed to hear it and it put her at ease. xo.

tollesons4him said...

I have a 6 year old who everyday tells me that I love her big sister more than her.....

LeAnn

Daisy said...

I tell my kids that I love them more than anyone in the whole wide world.

"Even Daddy?" they ask.

"For you, I would throw myself in front of a train to save you. For Daddy, I'd do the same, but I'd have to think about it first." ;-)

Michelle said...

Beth, I think it gets more internalized as they get older.

Ashes is 14 and Tater is 9 and, simmering just below the surface, is that "mom loves me more, no mom loves me more" thing.

I never experienced "sibling rivalry" since I grew up as an only child, so I don't quite understand it....I would have sold my soul for a brother or sister.