So you’ve just been told that your kid hates you. At least, that’s what came up in the heat of the moment. You had an argument, and your little human just betrayed you beyond belief. It’s a soul-crushing moment when a child utters those words, regardless of how old he or she is. But the key to successfully navigating these waters lies in the response you give. Here’s what to do.
What to do when your kid hates you
You work your ass off to give your kid the best life possible. You feed them and do their laundry. You’re always there to help out with homework, and you’re the taxi that drives them to and from all their activities. Oh, and when the flu strikes, you’re the one that’s up all night. And that’s exactly why you’d never expect to hear that your kid hates you. But it happens, no matter how great of a parent you are.
So what’s the first thing you should do when your kid says “I hate you!”?
Before reacting, just take a moment (or ten) to take a very deep breath. Those words are only as hurtful as you allow them to be. Instead of taking it personally, it’s important to figure out what your kid is really trying to express.
If you’ve got a six-year-old, chances are he or she said it without even knowing the meaning behind the words. In fact, this is a general a cry for help. In most cases, kids need the person they push away most, so it’s important to be compassionate.
Sit down as ask them why they’re upset with you. Ask them why they feel powerless or sad or angry, and whether or not there’s something you can do to help. Right now, your kid has no idea how to put his emotions into words, and he needs you to help him express himself.
The case with teens
When your kid hates you, and you’re no longer dealing with a tween, but with a teenager, the scenario is slightly different. The older your kid is, the trickier the situation gets. This is because they’re now purposely using those words, not accidentally or without intent. Even though your teen might be using the word “hate” to inflict pain, she still might not be finding it fulfilling to hurt you, but she definitely knows what it means.
If you’re stuck in this scenario, you need to let the situation cool down before having a talk with your teen. If you can, it’s best to leave the room and go for a walk.
Once you and your kid have had some time to defuse the situation, it’s time to have a serious conversation about boundaries. Your kid needs to understand that you won’t tolerate them talking to you in this way and that there will be serious consequences if it happens again.
It’s also super important to follow through with the consequences if there ever is a next time. You need to make it clear that it’s NOT OK for them to act this way.
If all else fails, just grab a glass of wine and vent to your friends. They’re probably facing similar issues with their kids. Nobody said the parenting journey was easy. You’re an awesome parent. Kids just suck sometimes.