Gaslighting is a phrase that is thrown around a lot. In some cases, it is legitimate, and not so much in others. An anonymous user on Facebook claimed that her five-year-old is “pretty much” gaslighting her. We’ll leave it up to you to decide if it’s true.
The Chocolate Milk Incident
The original poster (OP) used chocolate milk as an example of said gaslighting. “He will ask for chocolate milk, and I’ll say “okay, go grab your cup,” and immediately he’s saying, ‘Why don’t you ever get me chocolate milk’ I’ll explain to him that I’m getting it for him, but I just need his cup, and he will continue on with the ‘you never let me have chocolate milk.'”
The user claims they are stumped about why their child is displaying this behavior. The user also asked commenters to suggest a “good punishment” for the child’s actions.
The People Have Spoken
The original poster got a mixed bag of replies to their request. Some people empathized and said their children are like that, too, while others said it is unfair to place such a negative label on a child who likely has no deep malicious intent.
One user shared their own experience with their child. “My kid is like that. He is so manipulative and cunning. But so freaking cute too. For example, we taught him Uno and played a few hands. It was late and time to wrap it up on a school night. He started talking ish, and finally, I said…enough. Go in your room and go to bed. This kid (with a straight face) says. ‘So you’re just gonna tell me to leave. You want me to just go? Right now. So you’re telling me that you want me to leave.’ Over and over. Took a lot not to laugh. But yea…leave now, spawn.”
Another user pointed out that at his age, he likely doesn’t know what gaslighting is. “He’s five. He’s asking you questions the way five-year-olds do…that’s not gaslighting. ‘Why don’t you ever get me chocolate milk’ could very well be him making an observation that you usually get him water as a default or that when he asked for milk, you asked him to get his cup, and he doesn’t understand what one task has to do with the other. You shouldn’t punish a child for behaving exactly the way children do.”
Another user said, “I’ve seen ‘gaslighting’ misused countless times, but this takes the cake.”
Many others implied that the OP did not know the definition of gaslighting and that the term is being used incorrectly in this case.
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Claire started Femme on FIRE after struggling with the debt cycle and realizing that she had to create better habits to get out of it. She became inspired along this journey and now strives to help others achieve financial freedom as well. When she isn’t working on her blog, you can find her on the couch with a good book, cooking up recipes in the kitchen, or playing outside with her ducks.