I hate you!!! What do you do when your child says that to you?

@alnilam (969)
United States
August 14, 2007 6:05pm CST
I reflected on my life and my relationship with my parents. i had a nice childhood but i think there comes a time in every child life when they say "i hate you" to their parents. I also said it (probably because I did not get candy or something ;). The problem here was that when i said that to my parents they started screaming at me in the way who do I think I am to make a statement like that it only made me "hate" them more in that time. So thinking about this now was not that the wrong reaction from my parents (i mean my case is not a big deal but in many cases "i hate you" has a meaning). Shouldn't parents when they hear these horrible words try to talk with their kid what made them say these words and not making it worse by screaming? How do you handle it when your kid says something like that?
6 people like this
16 responses
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
15 Aug 07
Children saying "I hate you" to their parents when they are upset about something sounds extreme, but expressed commonly enough. I found this at a site for parents, and thought that the advice given in the answer by a developmental psychologist is apt and practical. Question: My child yells, "I hate you!" when she's upset with me -- or sometimes just when she's upset around me. How should I respond? Answer: At this age, a child isn't wishy-washy about her feelings. She feels one emotion at a time, and it's all-encompassing. It's why she's happy with a passion or angry with a vengeance. So when things are good, they're very good, and your preschooler adores you. But when things don't go her way, she feels that life is bad, that you're bad — and that she hates you. Though you may be tempted to, avoid responding to your child's "I hate you!" with "Well, I love you." This will only shame her. And saying, "You know you love Mommy," or "There's no reason to get so upset!" belittles her very real feelings. Remember that your child is still learning to manage her emotions. She needs help expressing her feelings, and her way of asking for help is to play a kind of emotional charade game: She acts out her feelings, and it's up to you to figure out what she's getting at and how to help her. The best way to do this is to name and acknowledge her emotions without judging them. Show her — without mocking — what her balled fists, scrunched face, and assertive stance look like. Then name the emotions for her: "I can tell from the way you're acting that you feel angry. You seem frustrated that you can't get that dress on your doll." If she nods in agreement, follow up with, "That's very upsetting!" Next, help her voice her feelings in a more appropriate way: "When you feel this way, use your words to tell me, 'I feel angry. Please help.' " Finally, help your child see her options. "You could ask Mommy to dress the doll," you might suggest, or "We could put away the doll for a little while and read a book together." Giving choices is also helpful when your child lashes out because she can't have something she wants: "Cookies are for after lunch; you may have some grapes or a banana this morning." Although your child's verbal assaults can be hurtful, do your best not to take them personally. After all, she's merely copying what she's seen you and others do in many situations — that is, translating a strong emotion into a simple word: "I hate waiting for the bus!" or "I hate it when the phone rings during dinner!" for example. Most important, remind yourself that your preschooler's behavior is normal, and in no way indicates how she really feels about you.
2 people like this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
15 Aug 07
thank you on your professional opinion. you gave some good advice.
@lexus54 (3576)
• Singapore
16 Aug 07
I don't deserve the compliment, because I am not the expert. I am only sharing what Becky Bailey, developmental psychologist and early childhood education specialist, said in answer to that question. If you wish to read what some others say, you can check out these few sites too: 1. http://listen.family.org/askdrbill/A000000595.cfm 2. http://www.rd.com/content/parenting-tips-when-kids-say-i-hate-you/ 3. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/90587/for_parents_when_your_child_says_i.html
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
of course you deserve it. the fact that you were looking and reading this. it shows you are willing to learn and not make mistakes a lot of parents do. you deserve it... and thanks for sharing the links with us.
@TeamJMR (17)
• Australia
15 Aug 07
It's a funny world we live in, isn't it! When this happened to me I just told my daughter: "You are quite in your rights to feel that way about me at the moment, although I'm not sure what it is I have done for you to say that word to me! The word -Hate- is a very strong one so you must feel very very angry and upset right now" I walked away (went outside) and left her standing there.... About 15 minutes later my daughter seeked me out and apologized for using the word hate. We then sat outside and talked the situation through. This worked a treat and never have I been told that again from this daughter! I have another daughter and a son, both younger, so I guess I will hear those words again someday. When I relayed this incident to my Mum, she just laughed! Why did she laugh? ...... Because I had said those words to her once, and my Mum did the same thing to me as I did with my daughter. See.... it is a funny world we live in!!
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
"the circle of life" as it seems. maybe your kids will use the same method when they have children of their own. "family legacy" :D Thank you for sharing your experience.
@kkittu (426)
• India
15 Aug 07
i am not married but when i get marry,and when my kids say these words to me...... then i dont take it serious, because i parents cant do any think to kid witch hurts kid,even kids do,... parents always stops kids to do do some thing which hurts kid.... and kids missunderstand their parents for that and they can scold / or can say i hate you
2 people like this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
thank you for your answer
@marcialoyd (1174)
• United States
15 Aug 07
I don't think there is a kid out there that at some point has not said I hate you to their parents. At such a young age I don't think they really understand what the word hate even means. They are just simply trying to manipulate their parents into getting what they want. I don't have children but if I did I would simply ignore it. Just remember they don't really mean it.
2 people like this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
15 Aug 07
they may not understand it but they know the power of it and use it sometimes. thank you
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
14 Aug 07
I am very sensitive, so I used something that I read in a book and after a few times, my children stopped saying it. What did I say? I would say something like, "I am sorry you feel that way" because at the time they do feel what they consider hate, so when you put it that way, I think they look at it as something that can hurt them instead of them hurting you..
@alnilam (969)
• United States
15 Aug 07
this also is a good approach. it makes a child think about what he has said and in the same time he realizes that the words spoken do not make the affect as he/she wanted it. Thank you
@AmbiePam (48108)
• United States
14 Aug 07
I said that a couple times growing up. My parents just ignored it. They knew I didn't mean it. If my child were to say that to me, I'd probably just say, "Join the club!" Kids think that is the ultimate insult and often use those words to manipulate the adults caring for them.
@alnilam (969)
• United States
15 Aug 07
how did you fell when they ignored you (i know it would only make me madder). thank you
@arcidy (5016)
• United States
14 Aug 07
Well I dont have any children but if I did and he or she said I hated you I would just ignore it because one day a child may hate you then the next day the child will love you again so dont get all upset because they will forget about it no child hates there parents forever except for a few adults but children the most theyll hate you is for maybe a day or two or at the longest a week.
2 people like this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
15 Aug 07
hmm you must be careful on the ignoring part a lot of children really dislike their parents because they were ignored. Thank you.
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
15 Aug 07
Myself If I had said such a thing to my mother I would have been picking myyself up off the floor. I lived for some years with my grandmother and when I felt like I hated her I just went to my room and beat my pillow and complained to it. Years later she told me she could hear me. I have an aunt that once said that she loved her daughter but didn't really like her at one point. For some reason this gave me permission to not always like my kids so when they said they hated me I said to them thats ok Because I really didn't care. It wasn't my job to be like or loved by them. I knew they only meant it for the moment. I felt it was ok for them to not like me because there were a lot of times I didn't like them.
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
seems fair enough. it is not possible to love a person 100% all the time even if they are your family (hehe especially if they are your family :D). but this feelings are not usually spoken out loud i guess. thank you
1 person likes this
@deebomb (15323)
• United States
16 Aug 07
Thats the great thing about kids. They are open and can and will express how they feel about any thing any time.
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
you re right. but they have to have a parent that understands :D. The society should be more open minded about this "i do not like you all the time issues". i have loots of friends but sometimes times I do not want to be with one because I just do not fell like being with him or her because at that time he annoys me. but i always have to say i have a headache or something because if I would say "hey i won't go out with you tonight because i don't like you today", i would loose a friend.
@limcyjain (3523)
• India
16 Aug 07
My children are small yet and i havent faced this till date but i feel it is the parents themselves who are responsible for such words coming from their children. Parents dont change with time. They try to impose things on their children and ultimately the child revolts.
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
you are right. Thank you on your response.
• Australia
15 Aug 07
I am the mother of five sons and I never heard this from any of them, but as a leader in a children's ministry I admit to having heard it several times. My response is always, "Well, I love you" and that usually takes the wind out of their sails. Hate is a word which should not be allowed in a child, along with the word "can't".
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
short and strait response "Well, I love you", it is good it achieves the affect you wish for it. It "takes the wind of their sails" because they do not achieve their goal: to hurt you to get something they want. Thank you.
@magikrose (5424)
• United States
15 Aug 07
I do the same thing my mom did for me. When my kids say that to me all I do is tell them that I am sorry that they feel that way and that no matter what I love them. The way I look at it they are saying it to hurt my feelings and to get what they want. My best defence is to love them. I hope that some day they will understand why.
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
they will. i think they always do. Thank you.
@mistissa (1348)
• Netherlands
15 Aug 07
To be honoust I have no idea, Fortunately my kids have never said anything like that to me. I have said it myself to my parents years ago. I can only imagine it hurt them, but I do think it depends in what circumstances it is said
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
i too think it depends on the circumstances. Thank you
• Philippines
15 Aug 07
Well i never did that to my parents and i will never do that kind of thing to them, as i do respectes my parents and they are my life and inspiration. I owe them my life and i have no right to treat them bad and say anything bad to them. I love my parents and im proud of them and i hope that my children will do the same thing to me when they grown up and when i get old. I'll take care of my parents when they get old coz i want my kids to take good care of me when i get old too. Have a nice day ahead from Kiko.
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
you really are one of a kind person. you really never said "I hate you" to your parents? it is nice that you will take care of your parents when they are old and i am sure your kids will do the same because i strongly believe what you give is what you get, the more you give the more you get. Thank you and have a nice day too.
@youless (90025)
• Guangzhou, China
15 Aug 07
Be sure I will feel very hurtful to hear that from my child. Maybe I have to think about whether I have done something wrong so that my child will have such a behavior. I was a child before and I understand it is not easy to have an agreement with parents all the time. At that time I wish I could be a reasonable and understanding parent when I grew up. So I think I will try to solve it in peace. I will say I still love you even if you hate me to my child and perhaps he will feel guilty to say something wrong to me.
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
guilt works fine believe me, my mother was really god at this :D but a word of advice do not use the guilt trip too often, my mother did and I started to adopt the behavior and turned it against her (so when i felt guilty as a child I made her feel guilty even more). Thank you on your oppinion
• United States
15 Aug 07
I remember the day my son told me he hated me..and it hurt he was only like four or five at the time, I didn't scream at him...I did what he wanted me to do least...I pick him up and said you might hate me but I still love you hugged him and didn't put him down for what seemed like eight minutes or more...sure he kicked and screamed the whole time but he calmed down and got down and went to his room and fell to sleep he was tired from all that. He just turned 18 july 17th and still remembers that I reminded him about it about a year ago..we were goofing off wrestling around and he elbowed me in the eye...he jumped up and was real worried about what happened and after I was able to see other color's instead of just a big blue blob I said "I hate you" (just kidding with him of course) and I tried to storm away and he grabbed me and hugged me and wouldn't let me go and rubbed my head and said the samething I said to him years ago it was funny as h#ll. Come to think of it...He sure smelled better when he was younger..lol Thanks for the memories
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
wow... you managed to turn what is for a lot parents a bad memory into a really nice one for you and your son. Thank you for sharing the memory.
@Sharon38 (1916)
• Jamaica
15 Aug 07
Well I thought it but never said to to my Mom. So she never knew what I felt inside. My daughter said she felt like runign away once I told her to go ahead. I know this was a bit cold but she came back and asked me if I did not care. I told i did but if she felt the need to be elsewhere she should go ahead and I would take in a child whohas no home and who would appreicate what she had. i never heard that from her again. Talk with your child and let them explain what is going on in their heads. It will help
1 person likes this
@alnilam (969)
• United States
16 Aug 07
i think conversation is the answer, but you have to "make" them to be willing to talk to you. It seems like you succeeded... :D. your answer was not cold, my mother always helped me pack and because of that I loosed the interest to do it again. thank you