13 answers

Won't Allow Me to Comfort Him..

Whenever my son gets hurt or falls down (will be three June 21st) he will not let me comfort him. In fact he gets mad. I want to run over and pick him up and give him a hug, he wants nothing to do with it...but if I walk away from him he gets even more mad. I don't know what to do in this situation. Have you ever heard of a small child who doesn't want to be comforted when they are hurt? If he is sick he will let me hold him and stroke his head, but not when he gets hurt. I don't get it, and I don't know what to do. I want him to know it is okay to cry and be frustrated and it is okay to seek comfort from others. Any advice how to handle him when he scrapes his knee or bumps his head?

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I assume that since you work in an office at least 1/2 time your sons are in some sort of daycare or have a sitter. Do you know how incidents like this are managed in your absence? It might be worthwhile to talk with your child's caregiver. Some of his behavior may be a result of their expectations or actions.

Kids are going to get bumps and bruises, and you won't always be there. If he can self-soothe, that is a good thing. Just let him know that if he needs you, you are there. Offer to let him help you find a band aid or put together and ice pack if he wants/needs it. Tell him that you are sorry he got hurt. Let him lead the way in what he needs. He may not want to be fussed over, but you say he doesn't want you to walk away either. Calmly talk with him. Uh, Oh. That looked like it hurt. Do you need an ice pack or a band aid? Or, I bet you didn't see that tree root. It was really big. That's what tripped you. I wonder how old that tree is. I bet is has squirrels living in it. Want to look up and see if we can see any? Use the opportunity to connect in a way other than simply kissing away the pain. You might be surprised how wonderful that can be.

1 mom found this helpful


I know the feeling. I have a three and four year old and both of them rather run to someone else for comfort instead of good ole mom. I found out that the way I approach my child for comforting was causing their anxiety to not want me. Our pediatrican told me to stand back that if they wanted my comfort have them approach me, not me go approaching them. Hope this helps

My son went through that, for about a year and around when he was that age. I think he wanted to be tough, so I tried to respect his wishes. But I did want him to know that I was still there to comfort him, so I started blowing kisses, instead of getting to kiss it better. I also made sure to ask if he was ok, or if I could help him feel better.

Maybe try to change your perspective on comforting. Not all people like to be touched or soothed when they are upset or injured. Some people, sometimes, like to be acknowledged but not fretted over. I know when I'm really stressed out, sometimes the last thing I want from anyone is a hug. But if I am weepy aout something, then I do. Everyone is different. I think you just need to respect that.

Verbally reassure him that you are there and wait for him to engage or disengage from you, and try not to take it personally. It could be a boy thing, it could be a three year old thing, it could be he is just anxious to get back to playing or whatever he is doing, or maybe he is starting to feel signs of embarressment sometimes when he is upset. These emotions are all new to him and he is learnign to manage them. It doesn't mean he will grow up to be a stoic man or that he isn't your baby anymore - he is learning to cope. If he lets you be close to him other times - reading a story, watching a movie, when he is feeling sick, then I think there is nothing emotionally worng with him.

In fact, I would lean towards saying it is healthy that he can self-soothe and that he can ask for you when he does need you but not always. Just encourage the other people in his life (like dad... and you too) to ask him what he needs. Are you all right? Do you want me to hug you? Should I check to see if your booboo is okay? Teaching him to be verbal about his emotions would be great for him. It empowers him and teaches him that people should respect the physical and emotional boundaries he sets.

Our little ones can be strange sometimes! I think its cute when they develop these unique personality traits. Perhaps he feels more frustrated by the 'failure' of falling down than actually hurt from the injury and so rushing to his 'rescue' only highlights that failure for him? However ignoring it doesnt give the encouragement he needs? My little one is exactly the opposite - if he falls the world has just ended. I dont spend too much time comforting him because I want him to understand that minor falls are part of life and he needs to move on. Good luck figuring out the balance thats right for your son.

Hi M.,

Join a support group for moms and take some parenting classes to help you build your self esteem.

www.kidspriorityone.org or ###-###-####

www.chkd.org/classes or ###-###-####

There is a book that may help you as your child grows up entitled: "The Enabler: when helping hurts the ones you love," by angelyn Miller, MA

Hope this helps. Good luck. D.

So meet him somewhere in the middle. Dont walk away, but dont coddle him. Just ask if he is ok, and maybe give his booboo a quick kiss/rub and leave it at that. He just wants to know you care. I guess its part of that independance thing they do at this age. He is probably mad or embarrassed that he got hurt. Remember they watch you and your husband how you react to things, so if either one of you gets "mad" when you stub ur toe...then he could be mimicing that behaviour.

My son is the same way, 2 in July, he usually gets mad when he gets hurt and for the most part doesn't want to be comforted. He has always been very active so I think it is more out of frustration that he wasn't able to do something or that he got hurt doing it. I started saying "do you want mommy to kiss xxwhatever is hurtxx" and that helped. Now when he gets hurt he immediately says "hurt arm, mama, kiss arm" then I kiss it and we say "all better". I also go to him and now I ask if he wants mama to pick him up or if he wants a hug and he will say yes or no. I think leaving it up to him but letting him know that you are there if he needs you is helpful. If he is independent then it gives him the choice and makes him feel in control especially after feeling out of control b/c he got hurt. The important thing is that you do go to him so that he knows you are there for him even if he doesn't want to be held, he probably likes to know that you are there for him.

My 4 year old is similar- I have to give him a minute or two while he processes the damage... then generally he will talk about it with me and allow me to give him a hug... sometimes more. He won't let me use bandages on small cuts even if they are bleeding... He just has to process it and I have to allow him to. After he takes his minute or two I explain that I need to make sure everything is all right and look at the damage... many times that means I have to not touch also the damage also, sometimes I am able to convince him a little neosporine will help it and other times I have to let it be... Sorry if this doesn't help much but it is what I have learned to do and it seems to work, I get to be the mommy and check things out but he gets his time to process...

Good Luck-L.

Hi M.,
Try comforting through words if he won't let you comfort through touch. 'Are you okay?' 'Do you want me to kiss it?' if he says yes, but won't come near you, just blow him a kiss. If he does let you near the booboo, kiss it and back off. 'There, all better'. My 7 year old likes mock kisses and thumbs up. Another way to change the situation around is to turn the moment into a tickle game. Like tonight my son got mad at his 19m sister cuz she bumped into him. So I went over to him, had her come over too. 'Show us where it hurts..there, or there, or there'? Within minutes he was laughing instead of pouting.
Good luck.


Much to my dismay, my only child is the same way!!! Having grown up without cuddling parents, I was determined that I would be that kind of parent, which I am. However, my son doesn't feel he needs a cuddling parent! : ) In fact, he's been like that since he was 2 months old (I distinctly remember trying to comfort him by holding him close at 2 mos. and he pushed away!!). That's just how he is. When sick, however, he wants to be held and stroked just like yours.

There is nothing wrong with my child; I've just had to adjust how I comfort him so it is actually useful to him, setting aside my needs for his. This is quite difficult because it goes against my natural instinct! I have learned to just ask him if he's ok and go from there.

Hope this helps. You're not alone! (Nor is your child!) : )

Hey M., pray for your little boy, even when he doesn't want you to comfort him. Make sure you comfort him alot when he is not hurt. When he is in a good mood, always continue to reaffirm him and try to talk to him about the times when he hurts himself and doesn't want to be comforted. A three year old will not stay small very long. Always communicate to him your love for him, so he will grow with your love. Pray for him and tell him God loves him even more that you do because God made him. Little children do some strange things at times, but continue to love him. I have five children, three are young men now. I wish someone would have been there to tell me something. So I know love is one of the most important things. Love him when he wants you to and when he doesn't. It will make him a better man. But be sure to talk to him when he feels better about the way he behaves when he hurts himself. God Bless you M..

Thanks for the question. My daughter is only 10 months old and I am already starting to feel this way when she gets hurt and begins to cry. She almost seems to pull back instead of cuddle up to me when I get her to comfort her.

There was some good advice I will try and 1 is try not to rush to fast to her I guess.

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