So today I snapped. Driving home, I caught myself saying something to Eli that went against my values as a parent and as a psychologist. But I'm stuck here and I'm not sure what to do. So like any good modern mom I'm turning to you all and hoping someone else has a better answer than I do.
For months Eli has come home from school talking about how no one played with him, "So and so isn't my friend," "He wants to take all my toys" and any number of other preschooler slights and injustices. This isn't part of the overall telling of his day, it's the ONLY thing he talks about. At first I thought it was the other school, since I'd seen kids mistreating each other with little or no teacher intervention. But now he's doing it at the new school, even though I'll have seen him playing well with other kids literally minutes earlier. Yesterday one of his teachers heard him talking about a boy who hurt his feelings and was quick to reiterate, to Eli, that sometimes kids have a hard time remembering to use "nice words" but that they can still be our friends and then pointed out all the fun things they'd done that day.
I know that Eli got a lot of comfort and validation from me when he talked about how mean the other kids were, and that's not something that I want to withold, if it's actually happening. But now I think that maybe it's not, or it's being exaggerated. So today I told Eli I only wanted to hear about the fun things that happened at school. Totally invalidating and one step closer to Stepfordness. But he couldn't do it and that scared me. I don't want him to focus only on the negatives. I want him to see the big picture and to celebrate the good parts at least as much as he focuses on the bad parts.
I'm stuck. I don't know how to encourage more of the positive focus without completely shutting him down if he has a hard day. The other weird part is that he never does this about the older kids that play in front of our house, and they do ignore him sometimes. Again, this makes me think that it has something to do with my reaction rather than what's really going on.
Thoughts? Anyone with kids in daycare have a similar experience?