As a parent I think one of the hardest things is when your child tells you they hate you. Especially when they do it over and over again. My children have been able in most instances to tell me when something is wrong and they are not feeling happy. For Avril though that usually comes out as “I hate you.” She is my middle child and balance is always a problem with 3 young children. Mavis the baby of the family is teething and learning to walk. She has been very demanding on my time, especially at night, leaving me exhausted.
Yesterday started out innocent enough but after nap things started to go down hill. We had had a particularly strong battle at nap time but I didn’t really think anything of it because we normally have battles at this time. Two wanted to visit his cousins so we prepared to go, that is when Avril said, “I want to live with Oom (Cambodian for Aunt) Luoth, I love her. I hate you.” It continued all evening, even at Luoth’s. For awhile I was able to keep positive and remind myself,
1. I am an adult and she is 3
2. She is not responsible for my feelings
3. I don’t have to listen to my feelings
4. She didn’t mean it
5. She was probably feeling bad about something that I needed to address
6. I am her mother and I should help her out of these negative feelings
But I was battling my own negative feelings. When we left Luoth’s I wanted to go home, put a movie on for the kids and go curl up in a ball and cry. Instead I talked with her and I said
“Why do you hate me?”
“I hate my family.”
“Why do you hate your family?”
“Because they hate me.”
At this point I said a quick prayer and said, “That is a lie Satan wants you to believe. Your family loves you and you know it. You don’t have to listen to Satan. Let’s pray and ask Jesus to help you.”
I said a prayer outloud for her and another quiet one for me so that I to could chose not to listen to Satan and my negative feelings. When we got home I was still feeling bad, but then I remembered how powerful hugs are. Even though I didn’t feel like it, I walked into the living room and asked Avril for a hug.
“I love you .”
“Because you smile and laugh and are a good big sister and a wonderful helper for me and you are mine.”
This time she chose to believe the truth. She said, “I love you” and has since acted like nothing happened. I was still exhausted so I made a batch of cookies and ate half of them. Cookies always help.