3 Ways to Handle "I Hate You"

published26 days ago
1 min read


So, now they hate you? Really?!


No doubt, this is a nasty moment. Your lovey says “I hate you.”

If you've already lost it, so be it! You're human.

We cannot always choose our first response.

But we can choose our second.

Here are 3 options inspired by your child's POV to avoid the discipline death spiral!

4 yr old girl with byellow glasses baring her teeth

Pause and count.

Naturally, you want to yell:

  • DON'T you talk to me like that!
  • We NEVER say that word in this house!
  • You just lost your playdate!

Over-react and the battle surges on, nothing gained.

Count aloud for a quick way to chill. 10-9-8.

Or start counting down from your age! To recall the adult-child brain gap.

Show them how to keep cool - they're learning from you.

Green numerals 10-9-8 on blue background

Mentally translate their words.

Through a ChildSight lens, "I hate you" really means

“I cannot handle this problem and my feelings.”

You are an obstacle to what they want. And they can't see any way out.

They don't really hate you. In this emotional tsumani, they're feeling:

  • This epic mad is bigger than I am!
  • There is no way to fix my terrible sad!
  • I want you to change your mind!

They don't hate you, just the problem.

orange sky and huge tsumani wave hitting a city

Give them a Feelings Phrase.

Say "I think you mean ...

  • You're very sad I'm saying no.
  • You really don't want to do this.
  • You're angry about this rule.

(For kids 8+, add "Change your words, please.")

Your goal is for your child to say something else next time they're upset.

Feeding them a "feelings phrase" helps that.

When they can't express emotions, offer a feelings phrase.
two word bubbles saying I hate You and I'm so sad joined by an equals sign

These tips Transform Your Talk like part 2 of Cool the Tantrums. A 4-min. video could avoid a 40-min. tantrum. Take a look.

Hope this helps! See ya soon.

And remember ... Looking through your child's eyes changes everything.


Dr. Beth

Headshot of Dr. Beth

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