I am doing a lot of "informal" Focusing with my grandchildren and discovering some "gold mines". They are going through some difficult family time and are expressing their feelings and needs in formats that are hard to read from the outside. The younger grandson has always been very stubborn, very demanding and decidedly independent child. Even as a baby he was one of those kids that would cry to demand something unknown till he gets blue.

Recently he started to object very vehemently to any changes of location or activity in which he was involved. He is attending a daycare Center few days a week. Lately he started to use expressions: "I hate you", "you are stupid", "go away". You can just imagine the battle between the adults exposed to it and his stubborn temperament! We all tried many different ways to correct it - why?, . time out,. say sorry .. the usual. I decided to say to him every time he started up with this ... "but I love you" .."you hate me but *I* love you" . trying very patiently to find the right way to handle this

A few days ago he started to talk about how he says "You are stupid" .. and then quickly added "but I always say I am sorry!!!". That was like a new little change - from actually addressing it at me (or somebody else) - to talking about it.

We went for a little walk and he made few more references about the same topic. I finally said to him: "Why do you say stupid and then you have to say sorry?" He took a moment to ponder and then he said: "I wanted you to play with me before you said let's go, and you didn't play with me. I don't like that." I was surprised with his statement and reflected it in this way back to him: "Oh I see you wanted ME to play with YOU first!" I assume for him it was an expectation of a natural right  for certain attention. Since he didn't get it, he didn't ask for it, but instead was angry that he didn't receive it. “You are stupid” was his expression of his anger .

What followed was even more interesting. As soon as I finished he said:" But I don't want you to play with me all the time. I sometimes want to play by myself and if you come to play, I also say 'stupid' then". I again acknowledged what he said . and then he paused for few moments and came to this conclusion: "Maybe I can just tell you - nana I want to play by myself instead!"

Processed by a 3 and a half year old!