How do you deal with a child who gets angry and screams things like, "I hate you!" Run of the mill discipline techniques just don't feel like they fit here.

asked 13 Nov '09, 20:30

Dinah's gravatar image

accept rate: 15%

I'd answer, "well, I love you just the same"
Or I'd ask, "why do you hate me?"

I think reacting calmly just might be such a surprise, that he'd regret saying it instantly

(These are just suggestions, my son still doesn't talk and he laughs at everything, so I wouldn't know just yet)


answered 13 Nov '09, 20:37

JJJ's gravatar image

accept rate: 12%


I like the "well, I love you" fine, it diffuses. If you ask "why do you hate me" I think you may just be walking right into the trap.

(13 Nov '09, 21:47) lgritz

I know what NOT to do: Do NOT treat it like it is an emotionally charged all-powerful crushing blow. If the kid figures out that he/she has a "nuclear weapon", you'll just get more of it.

I suggest just disengaging as calmly as possible, sending a consistent message that such things will not get a rise out of you, and definitely will not be an aid in winning the argument. Maybe, "I can see that you've run out of anything constructive to say, so we'll do it my way." Case closed.


answered 13 Nov '09, 21:50

lgritz's gravatar image

accept rate: 14%

That sounds like something my mom would say. I'll have to remember it.

(13 Nov '09, 22:59) mkcoehoorn

I really like "I see that you've run our of anything constructive to say..." :) Need to remember that one!

(02 Nov '10, 03:05) Emily

This is an excellent question, I am there right now. I have a 2 year old son who "hates" me a lot these days. I agree with Igritz above - digging deeper does make it worse.

What has worked for me is not attaching any significance to his words, moving on/distracting him, not getting upset and maintaining a loving but not smothering approach...

We have looked at some of the causes (without involving him) and realized that I do a disproportionate amount of the discipline - so we have addressed this and now have more of a balanced approach.

I have also made more effort to have special alone time with him, which has helped. Even though he says I hate you, he is really meaning I need you more (this since his sister, now one, was born).

I feel we are making headway, and I don't feel like it is a knife through my heart any more.


answered 14 Nov '09, 01:08

Krista's gravatar image

accept rate: 18%


I really like that you analyzed the possible causes for the behavior instead of just how to deal with it when it happens. Obviously, your reasons are particular to your case, but I think it's important to put some focus on preventing the behavior in addition to handling the actual occurrences.

(15 Nov '09, 04:55) Artemis

Only exceptionally is adressing the causes not the best approach to solve problems. One useful tool for this is the problem solving matrix described in my answer And I would even suggest involving the your child in filling it out (although I guess you probably should start without him first). That way you show (i.e. with action, not words) that you care about him, and also getting him involved makes him (at least somewhat) committed to whatever solution you come up with (also described in my answer linked above).

(21 Nov '10, 17:57) hlovdal

To the child: "I know you're very upset and you don't really mean that. I still love you and that won't ever change. It's better to say you disagree with me, although I hope you'll understand my point of view eventually."


answered 13 Nov '09, 22:39

Chris%20W.%20Rea's gravatar image

Chris W. Rea
accept rate: 34%

When our son says this, we send him to his room for a time out until he's ready to apologize for using "hurtful words". The idea (and we've explained this to him) is that no one wants to be around someone who is using unkind words, so he'll need to be by himself until he's ready to be kind.


answered 02 Nov '10, 03:07

Emily's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Your answer
toggle preview

Follow this question

By Email:

Once you sign in you will be able to subscribe for any updates here



Answers and Comments

Markdown Basics

  • *italic* or _italic_
  • **bold** or __bold__
  • link:[text]( "Title")
  • image?![alt text](/path/img.jpg "Title")
  • numbered list: 1. Foo 2. Bar
  • to add a line break simply add two spaces to where you would like the new line to be.
  • basic HTML tags are also supported



Asked: 13 Nov '09, 20:30

Seen: 2,761 times

Last updated: 02 Nov '10, 03:07