It makes me sad

When you push away the people who love you most

It makes me sad

We seem to be having a good time. Until we aren’t anymore. We’re halfway through the 3rd story book. The cuddling is over. He covers the words with his hands so I can’t read them. He knocks the book out of my hands.

“Kubla, you don’t want me to read anymore?”

“Keep reading!”

I try for another minute, but he makes it impossible to continue.

“Kubla, if you want to do something else, just tell me. Do you want to play a game?”

Silence. I toss a pillow at his feet. He attacks me—neither of us is having fun.My adorable, loving boy is trying to be as difficult as possible.

Here’s a question I wrestled with for a couple years—what to communicate when he pushes me away with his anger. Or instead of just telling me what he wants, he’s annoying so I leave. It’s so unpleasant.

I try ignoring the bad behavior. I try matching his anger. I try leaving the room. I try kicking him out of the room. I try expressing my disappointment. I try punishing him. None of it feels right. My responses add to the distance between us.

This day I try something new. Instead of protecting myself, I try love. And instead of saying what I don’t like about him, I make it about me and my feelings.

Calmly, “Kubla, it makes me sad when I see you pushing away the people who love you most. I wish I knew what I could do to bring us close again. I’m going to leave the room now. But when you are ready to be loving again, I’ll drop whatever I’m doing so I can give you a big hug and play.”

Five minutes later he’s calm. He doesn’t come looking for me, though. I find an excuse to walk by him. He looks up. I stop. We hug. We’re closer than ever.

What’s your best approach to calm things down and reconnect when your child pushes you away with bad behavior?

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