The Parent-Teacher-Child Connection: February 2013

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

" I love you more."

A few days ago, I overheard a mother and her six-year-old son "arguing" like this:

Son: "I love you, Mom."
Mom: "I love you more."
Son: (a little louder) "I love you, Mom."
Mom: "But I love you more."
Son: (even louder) "I LOVE you, Mom."
Mom: (still calm) "Yes, but I love you more, now let's stop this."

I half expected the kid to take out an ad in the local paper proclaiming his love for his mother.  Did the mother not see that she was totally ruining the moment by invalidating her son's love for her? Did she not see that saying she loves him more sends the message that he doesn't love her enough ... ever?  How did that annoying practice begin - telling someone that you love him more than he is capable of loving you?

Certainly, you can say, "I love you more than chocolate." That would surely satisfy me!  Or how about, "I love you more today than yesterday, but not as much as tomorrow," to quote a Spiral Staircase tune.  That's also acceptable.  Anything is better than, "I love you more."

So what might the six-year-old have said after Mom's "I love you more"?  Maybe "That's impossible," but that's a bit advanced for his age. How about, "I know," but that invalidates his own "I love you" again.  Hmmm... I don't see anything that would satisfy the controlling mother who wants to subconsciouly put her son down by saying she loves him more than he could ever possibly love her. 

So the bottom line is, when your child tells you he or she loves you, accept that unconditional love with a hug, a kiss, and an, "I love you, too."  Everybody wins in that situation.  And remember to say that wonderful phrase first sometimes!

Happy parenting!
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