Tonight my kid broke my heart

Tonight my kid broke my heart a bit. Not in that “awwww, so sweet” way, but in a way that cut deeply to my heart and made me cry.

It all started this evening. I had brought a treat home from Starbucks for him after work, and when I got home, he was watching a video and having a snack. No problem. Since he was doing that, I decided that it would be a good time to watch the football game I had on the PVR from yesterday. It was all fine until he decided that he didn’t want to watch the movie anymore and told me to “log off”. I turned it off for me, and he started to play. Noisily. Right next to where I was sitting. It was fine, I didn’t want to interrupt his playtime. Then he started asking for things. Not just asking though, demanding. Even asking him to wait a minute until the next stoppage wasn’t good enough for him, and if I did get up from what I was doing to get/do/go where he asked, it still wasn’t enough. He kept getting bossier and bossier, and more and more demanding.

This continued for a while, until shortly before bedtime. There were toys literally all over the floor, and you couldn’t even walk from the living room to the kitchen without having to step over them. I asked him nicely to pick them up, and instead, he decided to move them slightly to the left of where they were before. I explained to him that he needed to listen, and to pick up his toys. I also told him that if he couldn’t pick them up, I would start taking them away. Not my proudest moment as a parent, that’s for sure, but I had to do something. His response? “Ok, you take them away then. Put them in the garbage.”. I’m not sure he quite thought about what he said before he said it, but I was shocked. I told him that he was lucky to have the toys that he does, and asked him if he would like it if I gave them to other kids who weren’t so lucky. He was shocked at that suggestion, and it quieted him a bit. He started to out his toys away, but then got sidetracked and started putting them elsewhere again. I knew that he was tired, probably a bit overtired,but it was no excuse for the way he was acting.

Next up came bedtime. I asked him a question and he proceeded to ignore me. Since he was acting like he didn’t want me there, and only wanted to boss me around, I gave him a kiss and said goodnight. He melted down and started sobbing. I only went in to the other room, but when e came out, I asked if there was something that he should say to me. He said no but told me that I needed to read him a story. Told, not asked. Things kept going downhill from there, and ended up with me attempting to give him a kiss and say goodnight. He refused, so I left the bedroom, fighting off tears, and as I walked out, he began to howl again. “I want Mummy to read me a story!!”. M talked to him about doing nothing but ordering me around, and he continued on his “I want…I want…I want”. I went back in to give him another chance to be nice, and when I went to talk to him, he said to me “I want a different mummy. I want Gavin’s mummy.” This was enough to get me to leave the room immediately, and at least made outside the room before I start to cry.

His words cut straight through me, and hurt worse than anything he has ever said to me. I was shocked and hurt and sad. All I could do was sit there and cry. M was still in the room and talked to him about how his words hurt me. Eventually, he came out of the room to give me a hug. When he came out, his little face was streaked with tears, and he had his hands clamped over his youth, as though he didn’t quite know what to say. He looked at me with my tears running down my face, and I could see his heart breaking a bit too. I reached out and took his hand, and he sat down on my lap, wrapped his arms around me and buried his face in my neck. “I’m sorry Mummy” he said. “it’s ok, buddy”, I replied. “Do you want me to tuck you in?” “No, Daddy will do it”, and he walked back into the bedroom. M followed and tucked him into bed.

About 15 minutes later, I could hear him ruffling around. I went up and layed down on the floor beside his bed, placing my head on his pillow and laying my arm over top of his. “I love you little one” I whispered. ” I love you Mummy” he whispered back, taking his hand in mine. We lay there for a little while, and he asked if I could read him a story tonight. I said that we wouldn’t be reading one tonight and that we would just cuddle a while, which we did. After a while, I gave him a kiss and a hug and he squeezed me tight and kissed me back. “I love you”, he said.

An hour later, I’m still feeling a bit shaken up by his words. I don’t think that he realized the impact that his words would have on me, but I don’t think that I would have done him any favours by hiding how hurt I was either. He needs to understand that words can hurt, and to choose them carefully. This was a hard lesson for both of us to learn, but an important one. I just wish It hadn’t happened so soon.


  1. says

    Sorry for your rough night. To answer your question from Twitter, yes it’s happened to me. A number of times. It sucks, but it’s bound to happen. Kids just want to see how far they can push it. Be thankful that at least he feels bad about it when he saw your reaction. Sadly in the teen years, I don’t think we’ll be so lucky. 🙁

    • Brandee says

      Thanks. It was so hard, and so unexpected, which is why it caught me so off guard, I think. I am a little scared for the teen years after last night.

  2. says

    Brandee, I think every parent has been here. Maybe the details aren’t exactly the same, but the outcome is. There comes a time when kids are aware that different families parent different ways and I found Aiden went through a mild case of this when he saw parents that were much more lenient with their kids and had very different expectations than ours. Just keep talking to him and never hide your feelings if he is capable of understanding. Aiden knows that I hurt, love, get angry, and that I apologize when I make mistakes. It’s part of our kiddos learning how to be whole people. He does still love you, deeply 🙂

    • Brandee says

      It surprised me partly because he doesn’t even know Gavin’s mom. I just felt so unprepared and so hurt by his reaction, but I agree with you that it is important that he knows how much what he said affected me. Kids need to know that we are people too, and that not everything goes, even with Mummy and Daddy. Thanks for empathizing with me. 🙂

  3. says

    oi…. it begins… all of us have to go through this it really sucks, and it will only get worse. When they’re teenagers it will be nothing but swearing and running off into the wild. *sigh*

    • Brandee says

      I know, and I’m a bit scared. He is normally just such an easy going kid, this just kind of came out of nowhere! Sigh.

  4. Beatriz Ferral. says

    Brandee: I know exactly how you feel. We all go through that. When Chavo was diagnosed with Autism Nandy was 6 years old. I was extremely overwhelmed with what was happening. Depressed, worried, sad, feeling very lost and guilty and alone. Hard times for sure. I tried my best to pay attention to both of them but at that time Chavo needed lots of attention and I spent lots of time with doctors and therapists. That obviously affected Nandy and she rejected me lots saying I did not love her and that she wanted a Mommy that loved her like her friends Moms…..It broke my heart and did not know what to do. The Dr. told me to exp[lain to her what was going on with her brother in simple words so she could understand. I did…Over and over again and trying to make her understand that I loved her more that anything in the world too….She understood in her own 6 year old way, but it was so difficult and hard. She told me many times she did not love me anymore and she wanted another Mom. Needless to say how painful that was. It all turned well. She loves her brother beyond words and I think she loves me too!!!!! :). Just always tell him how you feel..They understand more than we think.

    • Brandee says

      Ohhh Betty. I cannot even imagine how difficult of a time that must have been for you. I love seeing how close you and Nandy are now – you are an awesome Mum! You are so right, it is important to keep communicating our feelings with them, and they really do get more than we give them credit for a lot of the time. xo

  5. says

    Oh yes. I’ve been there, many times. Even when they push the limits, it’s just to see how far they can go, you know, like “will she still love me if I do THIS? How about THIS?” They need to know we are human beings with feelings too. I have tucked my kids in so many times with an apology — or an expression of “you hurt my feelings but I still love you.” We’re all human and we get to mess up and start over again tomorrow. (thank goodness)

    • Brandee says

      This limit pushing thing really sucks. I am glad that I went up and had a cuddle with him later, but even this morning his words still stung in my ears a bit. I’m glad that today is a new day. 🙂

  6. says

    This has happened to me and I know how much this ripped your heart. My son did the whole “Then throw them in the garbage” bit and one day after I scolded him about his demeanour he said “See that picture” pointing at a family photo “You’re happy there. You’re not a good mommy now” I started crying. Things are kids do things to push our buttons and to see how far that they can go with us. You stood your ground.

    • Brandee says

      Why do they do stuff like that??? I can’t imagine how sad and upsetting that must have been. I don’t regret showing him my reaction, and I think that maybe it was an important lesson for him to learn, as hard as it may have been for both of us.

  7. Alexis says

    I can no longer count the number of times The Imp has told me he wishes he had a different mommy. It hurts to hear him say it, but he’s just testing boundaries and struggling to see how much power he has. Normal little kid behaviour.

    The more I reacted to it, the more he said it. Eventually I just ignored it (on the outside; it still kills me on the inside) and he now only says it if he’s REALLY trying to provoke a reaction.

    It cuts deep, but I take some comfort in the fact that all kids do it, and that we almost certainly did it to our own parents.

    You’re not alone, is what I’m saying. None of us are.


    • Brandee says

      I take comfort in hearing other people’s stories about this, so thank you for sharing yours Alexis. There is just something so raw and honest about the words of a little kid that makes it so they can cut right straight through to the heart, I think, both for good and for bad. This was bad for sure. I can’t imagine how hard it must be to just ignore it, but it sounds like it’s worked. Thanks for the hug, I needed it.

  8. says

    Brandee, you’ve pretty much described L’s behavior over the last few months. He tells me (regularly, like this morning), that I’m not his best friend any more and he doesn’t like me any more. That’s why they call them the f*cking fours. I’m also told that this is a taste of what teenage-hood will be like. Kids know how to push your buttons like nothing else, but you did right by standing firm and keeping to your boundaries you set out for him. He actually needs this from you, even though he says otherwise. (I call L a contrarian all the time, gets it from his dad of course 😉 ).

    I look at it a different way. He’s at an age where negative emotions are still really confusing for him. Plus, he’s really making connections about how life works in general. I see it as my duty as a parent to guide him through this confusing time, because he’s not really able to do so himself. Believe it or not, after repeating some thing several times, he did at least tell me that doing some things were not right. It will stick, but you may end up feeling like a broken record.

    You just keep doing what you’re doing! Your a great mom, and Q does love you. *Hugs!*

    • Brandee says

      Thanks Irene. I am sorry, but glad at the same time that you know what I’m going through. I like your description of four, it fits perfectly!!! I refuse to think that this is what he will be like as a teenager. I just can’t. I appreciate the commiseration, and the re-affirmation too. You are doing a great job with L, and our boys are going to grow up to be strong, polite and amazing men someday. xo

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