If your child says: “I hate you”

1. Stay calm and tell them, “You seem angry, and it’s not OK to talk to me like that. We’ll talk later.

To earn respect you have to show it. As the adult, it’s important you stay in control of yourself. No matter how angry you are or want to shout back, show them, by example, what it’s like to feel angry, and to stay in control of what you say.

If your child continues to be rude, say “Please go out now, and we’ll talk later.”
If they carry on say “I’m not staying around to be spoken to like that. I’m going to leave now.”
And just walk out of the room.

Two things that can help you stay calm are:

  1. Try to work out what your child is really saying – “I feel angry that you won’t let me do what I want. I’m struggling with being told what to do.”
  2. And try to work out what’s REALLY going on for your child. Is it that they’re frustrated? Upset? Feeling hurt and wanting you to feel hurt too? Or finding it hard to manage their emotions?

2. When they’ve calmed down, encourage them to make amends and explore what they should have done.

Wait until they’ve had at least 20 minutes to calm down, and later that day, go to their room.
Stay calm and say:
“Now you’ve had a chance to calm down, it’s important to talk about what happened earlier. It wasn’t OK to say “I hate you.” To make up I’d like you to hoover downstairs – or write a note – or draw a sorry picture.” Whatever’s appropriate.

Children do have a sense of justice and like to make amends if they’ve done something wrong to repair the damage. If you’ve done something wrong you can apologise too.

Afterwards, ask: “When you’re feeling angry, how can you tell me what you’re feeling in a more respectful way?”
Explore their ideas and decide on a solution.

3. Find ways to repair the relationship with your child

Rudeness indicates something’s wrong. So how could they feel closer to you?

  • Could you have a family meeting to agree on rules about talking respectfully in your family?
  • Could you spend 15 minutes quality time with them every day, doing something they love?
  • Could you start describing all the good things they do rather than always commenting on the negatives?
  • Or empathise more when they’re angry or frustrated?

So the 3 tips to deal with your child saying “I hate you” are:

  1. Stay calm, tell them: “You seem angry, and it’s not OK to talk to me like that. We’ll talk later.”
  2. When they’ve calmed down, find a way to make amends and explore what they should have done.
  3. And find ways to build up the relationship with your child.

If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

Anger management for 5 year olds

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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