What To Do With "I Hate You!"Apr 13, 2021
Remember parenting in the middle of toddlerhood and feeling like the tantrums were so overwhelming you just couldn't wait until your child was able to tell you how they feel? For some of you, that stage might be today, or you may have moved on to the next stage. The stage where the tantrums look less like flailing to the ground and crying, but instead lashing out by cutting you right to your core. Nothing prepares you for the first time your child says “I hate you!”.
Let’s take a breath outside the moment and think about what is really going on here.
Does your child really hate you? Likely not.
Are you a bad parent because your child is showing aggression towards you? No.
Are you the only one? Absolutely not!
What is more likely going on for your child is that they are having big feelings around something in their lives and are unsure how to express it. Feeling so badly in that moment that they feel the only way for you to truly understand is to feel the same way. So they lash out. They scream hurtful things to the ones they feel the safest with.
So what do you do when they lash out and it hurts.
- First understand that you are allowed to have your own feelings. The small being you love most in this world just said “I hate you”.
- Try not to hear these words as they are but instead hear “I want you to understand how I feel!” Now you can take a step back, take a long, deep breath and show up for your child with empathy instead of hurt.
- Identify how your child might be feeling at that moment. It is okay to get it wrong, let them correct you and keep trying. “Wow, you are very angry with me right now! I am here.”
- Restate the conflict to your child. “Wow, you are so very angry with me! I am here. You wanted to go to the park and I said no. That is so hard.”
Remember your child is just having a hard time expressing their feelings at this moment and needs your support. By helping them understand what they may be feeling and repeating it back to them, you let them know you hear them and want to understand their feelings.
I help committed parents of children age 1 to 10 move from questioning their parenting to being the confident parent they are meant to be. I do this through 1:1 coaching sessions and a G.R.E.A.T. Parenting Membership.
If you are noticing that the tantrums are more explosive and lasting longer, download my FREE guide to de-escalating the Tantrums below, where I use the G.R.E.A.T. Parenting Journey to work through larger outbursts!
You got this!