No-Nos When Your Child Says ‘I Hate You!’

It’s a common scenario in many households – your child is upset or angry and they lash out with the words “I hate you!” As a parent, this can be incredibly hurtful and can be difficult to respond to. It’s important to choose your words carefully in these moments, as how you respond can have a lasting impact on your relationship with your child. Here are two things you should avoid saying when your child says “I hate you.”

1. “I hate you too.”
In the heat of the moment, it can be tempting to respond in kind and lash out with “I hate you too.” However, this response only escalates the situation and can damage the trust and bond between you and your child. Responding with hate only reinforces the negative emotions and can create a pattern of hurtful interactions. Instead, take a deep breath and try to remain calm. Recognize that your child’s outburst is likely a result of their strong emotions and not a reflection of how they truly feel about you.

2. “You don’t mean that.”
Telling your child that they don’t mean what they’ve said can dismiss their feelings and emotions. It’s important to acknowledge and validate their emotions, even if the words are hurtful. Instead of dismissing their statement, try to understand the underlying reasons for their outburst. Ask them what has made them feel this way and listen to their perspective. By showing empathy and understanding, you can help your child to work through their emotions and find a more constructive way to express themselves.

When faced with the hurtful words, “I hate you,” it’s important to remember that it’s often an expression of frustration, anger, or hurt rather than a true reflection of your child’s feelings towards you. Responding with love, empathy, and understanding can help to diffuse the situation and strengthen your relationship with your child. By avoiding these two damaging responses, you can teach your child how to navigate their emotions in a healthy way and foster a stronger, more positive connection with them.