We recently received this question from a listener.

“When my son does something he knows he shouldn’t do and I correct him, he tells me I’m mean and that I don’t love him.  That is untrue and makes me feel horrible.  What should I do?”

It’s important to understand why this young man choosing to say something that’s not true.  His goal is to simply to manipulate his mom. He achieves that goal when she feels bad because of his words.  He’s hoping she’ll feel bad enough that Mom won’t reprimand him again.

Mom can eliminate those words but it will take some self-control. She’ll need to fight the urge to react by having hurt feelings. Instead simply responding in an unemotional way is best.  Saying something as simple as “No, that’s not true. I love you and you need to do what I asked you to do.”

No further comments are necessary.  In fact they could prove to be counter-productive. Remember how smart your children are. It isn’t that this son is diabolical or mean, he has just discovered how to be in control. Don’t think for a minute that he actually believes it when he says Mom doesn’t love him.

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is this – Parents show their children love when they set legitimate boundaries and consequences for crossing those boundaries.

You can hear John and Kendra’s interview on Austin Hill in the Morning below:

“You don’t love me!”