Toddlers say a lot of crazy things. They tell it like it is and express their feelings in the funniest ways and my toddler are no different.
But one thing they had never said was "I hate." They may very well have said they disliked things and I am sure they do. They dislike when we say no, when we tell them that they can't turn the air conditioner on and off or eat in the dark or read with a light while we drive at night.
The throw fits and they scream and they tantrum, but they did not say "I hate you" until we read them this book: The Day Leo Said "I Hate You" by Robie Harris. And as we said in When Your Child Says 'I Hate You' the book does offer a great outlet for those sticky and intense feelings toddlers sometimes have.
Nevertheless, for toddlers who do not know those words, it may prove confusing. So now my 2-year-old and his 3.5-year-old sister wander around saying "I hate you" when they don't even know what it means.
And great parenting on my part, I know. My excuse:
The book arrived as a review copy and I had not had time to skim it before my daughter spotted it and demanded I read it to her. She, of course, fell in love with it and demanded I read it 12 more times while her little brother also curled in my lap.
"I hate broccoli!" my daughter shouted, laughing.
"I hate broccoli!" my son repeated, also giggling.
Great. Now they say hate and refuse to eat broccoli. Thanks, book!
But then a funny thing happened. Even as my husband declared he "hated" the book, my kids kind of got the point. They understood that "hate" is not something to take lightly and we never hate people, but we can have strong feelings about things. We still do not say we hate things, but they know the word and I am less afraid of it now. They are not using it regularly, but they did take it as permission to be honest and upfront about their feelings.
So, thanks, book! Really.
Sometimes the things we worry about have the opposite effect and in this case, I nipped any curiosity about "hate" in the bud. They got an upfront lesson in the word rather than hearing it anger and using it incorrectly, so you know what? I am grateful to the book my husband "hates."
And also, my son specifically asked for broccoli last night and did not "hate" it at all.
Have you ever had a parenting fail that turned out to be a good thing?
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