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Feeling distressed because our children have once told us "I hate you" does not make much sense. Children are children and that means that they rarely measure the consequences of what they say or do.
They are impulsive and, therefore, are very easily carried away by their emotions. They have poor emotional control and, often, it is their emotions that end up controlling them, sometimes playing tricks on them. But, How to act if your son tells you he hates you?
Normally, when children verbalize phrases such as "Dad, I hate you" or "Mom, I hate you" they are not aware of the meaning of those words.
Children when frustrated are aggressive. We all know that when children don't get what they want, they feel cornered or things don't go as planned, they may become frustrated and show inappropriate behavior.
Sometimes they search, in their still scant vocabulary, for the most disagreeable or offensive words to harm their parents in order to let them know that they are very angry. Usually, when they are younger, they express their frustration through tantrums, insults, crying, etc. However, when children are older, they express their frustration and dissatisfaction by using hurtful or offensive expressions.
They are learning to know and manage their emotions, they do not always know how to manage them. When they have intense emotions that they don't understand or control, such as frustration, they end up blaming and holding their parents responsible for what they feel.
When your son tells you that he hates you in a moment of anger, what he really wants to let you know is that he does not like what you propose or that he does not agree with your way of acting at that moment. It is true that saying "I hate you" is not the best way to express how one feels, but we cannot forget that they are children and still do not have many other alternatives at their disposal to express their feelings in a more appropriate way.
Children learn little by little during their childhood to function in social situations, to resolve conflicts, to control their emotions, etc. They continually learn and internalize emotional and social skills but, due to their short life span, they are still inexperienced little ones who easily feel overwhelmed. When they get angry, they don't have many strategies and end up expressing their anger using their limited weapons. Put yourself in their shoes, we've all been children.
Following, From our site we want to offer you some recommendations to successfully handle this type of situation:
- Do not worry. It is normal that when you hear those words they are painful, but when your child says that he simply wants you to know that he is very angry, it is his way of letting you know. He doesn't really mean what he said.
- Don't play their game. Ignore it, as if you didn't hear it. Do not be carried away by his provocation, if you enter his game you are lost. It is necessary that the child does not have the feeling that he has managed to destabilize you emotionally and capture your attention. If he manages to trap you in his nets, he may use saying "I hate you" as a throwing weapon against you when necessary to get what he wants.
- Keep calm. Do not freak out. Maintain a state of absolute calm and tranquility and only talk to the child when they have calmed down. In times of storm it is not good to talk, it is better to wait and broach the subject when both parties are receptive and the emotions have subsided.
- Help him to know his emotions. Don't stop him from showing his frustration or anger. Let him experience his emotions freely without judging or criticizing you. Children have the right to act in the wrong way so that they can learn from their own mistakes, from their experience. Then, when the storm has passed, approach him, talk to him, help him name the emotions he has had at that time. And, offer him alternatives so that he can express his emotions in a more beneficial way when he is frustrated or angry again.
- Express how it made you feel. Expressing what we think and feel is a right that we all have. Therefore, when the child has calmed down, tell him how you felt when he said "I hate you." This can help the child to put himself in your place and become aware that everything one says or does has consequences. It is important that the child is aware that his words have made you feel bad and that it is not an appropriate behavior so that it does not happen again. Finally, express that you would love for him to apologize for what happened.
Ultimately, it is important for the child to learn that using inappropriate behavior will get absolutely nothing from you. Therefore, it is necessary that you do not give in to their words, that you pay no attention to them and that you do not speak with the child until they have adopted another attitude. On the other hand, if he stays calm and assumes a good attitude, you will be able to negotiate and talk about what has happened with affection and closeness.
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