When your child hurts your feelings

“I want to leave the family,” he mumbled without meeting my eyes. Six little words felt like six sharp punches to my stomach.

He was lying on his bed, staring off into the distance while I sat on the edge and tried to process what he just said.

Our five-year-old had been angry when I’d put him to bed, complaining he wasn’t tired and he didn’t want to sleep. I’d told him to read a book (well, you know, look at the pictures) or play quietly with his toys until he felt sleepy, but he needed to stay in his bedroom.

Unrelated photo of another feeling-hurter

His fury would not be shushed, though, and he continued to rage against the man (evil overlord mom-type) for the next 20 minutes. As I worked in my office downstairs, I heard whining and muttering over the baby monitor. He was grumbling about how it wasn’t fair that he had to go to bed, and he didn’t want to stay in his room and he wasn’t tired, so there.

I heard our three-year-old slip into his room and try to talk to him, and he continued his complaints about me and my tyrannical ways. I figured he would simmer down soon, and continued working. But a couple of minutes later, I heard our daughter’s voice tattling through the baby monitor.

“Mamaaaa! Dess-er say he want to weave da fam-a-wee!”

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