How to respond when your child says 'I hate you'

A hurtful but almost inevitable part of being a parent.

April 05 2023

Something as simple as not letting your child have a sleepover, or not buying them a toy can trigger some serious emotions that they arent yet equipped to deal with.

Another reason kids blurt out the H word is because they are realising the power of language. They know it will upset you.

Try not to take it personally and follow these tips:

Give your child time to calm down, but don’t go too far. Show them that no matter what they do or say, you will still be there.

Help them find better words to express their feelings. They dont know how to tell you they feel angry because they cant go to the sleepover.

Acknowledge their emotions. Dont dismiss how they are feeling, reassure them that you can see why they are angry. Together, you can retrace exactly what happened to figure out the cause of the emotion and give her the correct words to use next time.

Teach your children how words can hurt people. Using examples of times people have been hurt by words can help them develop empathy.

Don’t react. The easy option is to fire back with something just as hurtful, but unlike you, your child might not know that you dont mean it.

At the end of the day, talking about their feelings is, no matter how hard, is better than keeping everything bottled up.