Yes, you read it right, the FOUR words. And you may be saying “Pete, ‘I love you’ is only THREE words…hopefully your poor kid doesn’t take after your math skills!” Look, you and I both hope my kids don’t take after my math skills. And like any parent, hearing “I love you” come out of my little one’s mouth makes me melt like a Hershey Bar on the Las Vegas Strip in the middle of July. She tells me that she loves me in her little toddler voice, and I just hand her my wallet and anything else I own… seriously, with two daughters, this is going to go really well for me 🙂
But the words that I absolute LOVE hearing from my little one are Daddy/Mommy “I want to help”. My little one is at the stage now where she understands so much and recognizes when mommy and daddy have to do things that otherwise take away our attention from her.
As this Baby Center Article states, between the ages 2 and 3, a child begins to comprehend the more complicated aspects of life and gains a deeper understanding of how she should treat people. So when my little one sees that mommy and daddy are doing housework, caring for her little sister, or walking the dogs, the idea that she says “I want to help” makes me happy. I’m beginning to see the development of a kind hearted, helpful, unselfish person. And truth be told, the idea that my daughter is shaping up to be a beautiful person makes me, perhaps selfishly, believe that my wife and I are doing parenting right.
I get it, sometimes their idea of “help” really delays the process of what you are trying to accomplish; maybe even gets you a little frustrated. But as a dad, after my frustration settles, I tend to just laugh. I laugh at the fact that my toddler got me “frustrated” because she was trying to “help” me. And for those who have older children, teenagers, or adult children- I’m sure you are nodding your head and saying that you’d take this type of “frustration” over what comes about in your child’s later stages of life.
Yes, “I love you” will always be my daughters’ way to my heart and checkbook, but if the goal as a parent is to do everything you can to raise a wonderful human being- one that is helpful to others, kind to others, puts others first before him/her, is respectful of others, and grows to be a leader- then yea, hearing my 3 year old say ” I want to help” is music to my ears!
Feeling outnumbered, don’t forget to tag @outnumberedfather or #outnumberedfather. “Reminding all parents that together, we can take back control of the living room. Since 2018.”