It’s happened to her, too, says famed parent expert Adele Faber. Here, Faber, co-author of the seminal, How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, recounts how she approached this difficult question with her own young son.
“I remember when my 6 year old plopped himself on my lap as I was trying to read a magazine and asked, ‘Mommy, who do you love best?’ Too tired to think, I said, ‘I love you all the same.’
‘But suppose,’ he persisted, ‘we were all in a rowboat and it turned over. Which one would you save?’
‘The one closest to me,” I mumbled.
‘But suppose we were the same closeness?” he persisted.
That did it. I put down my magazine and yelled,’Why are you doing this me? Do you want me to imagine for even one second how horrible it would be if I ever lost my one and only Abram? That is pure torture! Do you realize there isn’t another one like you in the whole wide world? No one has your thoughts, your feelings, your way of doing things. If anything happened to you, that would be unbearable for me! … Now let me finish reading this article.’
He laughed, slid off my lap, and went off to play. The point is, children may ask to be loved equally. What they need to know is that they’re loved uniquely for their own special, separate selves.”
Want more words of wisdom from Adele Faber? Find out how she suggests responding when your child says, “You’re not the boss of me!”
Here’s how 4 other parenting experts say to respond…
It’s a loaded question that can leave a parent gobsmacked. Expert Christine Carter explains how she responds when her own kids demand an answer. Format: Video (1:29)
Jane Nelsen, among the foremost leaders of the positive discipline movement, says you can answer by showing your child — with this demonstration — that there’s plenty of love to go around. Format: Article
Harvard University family psychologist Richard Weissbourd says before answering, ask this question to get to the heart of the matter. Format: Video (1:35)