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How to cope with the 'I hate you's'

(35 Posts)
kiwidreamer Mon 10-Feb-14 19:47:09

DD has always been a bit precocious, a little sponge that acts way above her age... at DS's 4th birthday she was just over one and we joked she was born thinking she was the same age as him. He started school not long after and brought home a few not very nice words...stupid and hate being the ones that upset me the most.

We were able to nip it in the bud with him and he barely ever says the words but DD has picked them up more than he has. A few weeks ago we had a full on tanty from him, about the iPad of all things and he said his first 'I hate you' we thought we'd dealt with it okay and he's never said it again.

However now our stroppy little miss at 2.7yrs is quite happy to say 'I hate you' to me when I make her do things she doesn't want to do... like getting dressed after the bath tonight.

I tried so hard to give the blank face and no reaction but inside I'm gutted. She is equal parts lovely and difficult, most of the time I put it down as 'spirited' and normal tho trying toddler behaviour and try our best to move on. But this has really affected me, if this is what she is like now, what the heck is she going to be like at 9yrs... at 14yrs... how to do we parent a child like this so that we can hopefully have a nice relationship as she grows up. All I can think right now is that her personality is such that I don't think she is going to want to be close to me in the future and it breaks my heart.

NigelMolesworth Mon 10-Feb-14 19:49:31

My answer has always been 'That's a shame because I love you very much. Now come on its time to get dressed / put your shoes on etc etc'. And carry on. It's horrible though isn't it?

DipMeInChocolate Mon 10-Feb-14 19:50:38

"That's nice, dear". She's so young though, she doesn't realise how hurtful she's being.

DevonFolk Mon 10-Feb-14 19:51:30

Do you tell her how it makes you feel to be told that? Does she understand that it's hurtful?

When my 3.9yo DD told me the other day that she didn't love me anymore we just talked about it and she decided that maybe she did love me, just didn't like me very much when we were 'discussing' hair brushing.

For me, it's all about helping her understand what it is she's saying and the implications that come with that.

RhinestoneCowgirl Mon 10-Feb-14 19:52:53

Same as Nigel

uc Mon 10-Feb-14 19:53:14

Agree with Nigel. "Oh dear, I'm sorry you feel that because I love you".

AnnieLobeseder Mon 10-Feb-14 19:59:39

Really? Do you actually think children mean these things when they say them? Try not to let it affect you, they don't mean it and you should know that - they're just trying to get a reaction out of you in return for you asking them to do something they don't want to do.

The best response is to ignore or as PPs have said, just a casual "That's a shame because I love you very much". If you react to it as if they've done something awful and hateful, they'll just do it more when they want to express anger.

Hexbugsmakemeitch Mon 10-Feb-14 20:06:27

My daughter said it once at 3yo. I calmly spoke to her about what a terrible thing it was to say to anyone let alone her Mummy who loved her. I felt it was too serious a thing to brush off.

I actually think that it's not necessarily a bad thing to let children see that they have hurt and disappointed you. I've explained to my two that as you can't 'take back' the unkind thing you've said you should be careful what you say in the first place.

Of course you have to remain adult about it, no tears and tantrums.

Eletheomel Mon 10-Feb-14 21:53:55

My 4 year old told me he didn't like me and called me a 'stinky wee wee mummy' when I was picking him up from the childminder (in the school playground) last week (he wanted to stay longer to play with his friend). To be honest, it was hard not to laugh... grin

I smiled, told him I was leaving and he could stay if he wanted but I was off (he's not the kind of child to go off by himself). So we came home and then discussed his behaviour. At no point did I tell him it upset me (I figure if you do that, you're giving them a heads up to use those words again when they're peed off at you and want to hurt you) I just said his behaviour was unacceptable, that it was rude and I didn't want it to happen again.

I know my son loves me, if he turned round and said he hated me, I'd just think that was the most recent 'abusive lingo' he'd picked up and brought home, it wouldnt' occur to me that he meant it, and I'd let it wash over me (I remember saying it to my own mum and I know I didn't mean it then).

OP, I think you need to get a thicker skin regarding your kids and the words they say, and you can't start projecting how your future relationship will go just because your daughter (in the terrible twos) says she hates you - that's irrational, and you certainly can't start worrying about not being 'close' to her based on that - that's nonsense.

kiwidreamer Tue 11-Feb-14 18:42:01

Rationally I know that she doesn't 'mean' it and that she is just expressing her frustrations and anger but words can be hurtful, at what age do we switch from glossing over hurtful words to making sure they are aware their words have an impact? Which is really what I was asking in how to deal with it... gloss over with 'I'm sorry you feel that way cos I love you' or to be more direct that words are important and can hurt people.

I suppose my taking it personally is more of a straw that broke the camels back thing, she is a demanding kiddo plus been unwell lately plus taking 45mins to go to sleep at night plus waking in the night for a few hours for no apparently reason but toddling into our room at 20min intervals... plus we have a really big decision to make regarding buying a house or renting again which is putting a lot of pressure on these past few weeks... so maybe I was a little melodramatic pondering our future relationship but I'm finding it quite tricky to parent two kids with such very different personalities, I need to do some reading perhaps!

superbagpuss Tue 11-Feb-14 18:44:55

I got a worst mummy ever from my 4 year old

told him as he hasn't met all the mummies in the world he couldn't judge me

that flummoxed him

AryaOfHouseSnark Tue 11-Feb-14 18:48:27

I have always said, well that's ok because I love you enough for both of us.
It backfired on me the other day when dt1 said, I don't love you Mummy, but that's ok because you love me enough for both of us. confused

ISeeYouShiverWithAntici Tue 11-Feb-14 18:54:23

Well, cos I am a terrible person, I sometimes used to say "I love you too"
Then watch a little purple face trying to get me to understand that they HATE not love me.

most entertaining.

when not doing that, it was the bog standard response of do you? That is sad. I love you very much.

AryaOfHouseSnark Tue 11-Feb-14 18:58:08

grin thanks Isee, I am going to do that next time <evil laugh>

kiwidreamer Thu 13-Feb-14 23:12:07

So I tried that 'I love you too' today... and got a purple face tirade of I hate you I hate you I hate you.

Christ on a bike sad

Honestly it sometimes feels like I've been propelled 10yrs into the future, this cant be normal behaviour from a not yet 3yr old????????????? Certainly wasn't for DS, who wasn't / isn't perfect but adored us at that age! He would always want to hold my hand, DD wont have a bar of it 'I Do It MYSELF'

And then she gives me sweetest puckered up kisses at bedtime, holds my face in her hands and says I love you my mummy.

Bewildering wee poppet confused

She has responded well to a 'prize' for staying in bed at bedtime and only getting up in the night for a wee so I'm going to start a sticker chart tomorrow... for littlies I'm guessing she gets a sticker reinforcing good behaviour and no 'demerits' for naughty carry on... stick to Time Out for those instances??

Chottie Fri 14-Feb-14 04:50:40

I used to say well, I love you.

Fast forward and I now have to adult DC who definitely love me, so OP please do not take this to heart. Your LO is just that a LO who doesn't really understand what she is saying. Don't compare your children they are different people and will not be doing the same things at the same time.

Just be calm and let it wash over you. It will pass, in a few weeks time you will posting about something entirely different smile

Eletheomel Fri 14-Feb-14 08:32:16

kiwi - your DD sounds like a proper independent little tyke grin. I was suprised at how early the 'teenage' years started - I too thought they started when they were in their teens, not when they were prescshoolers....

No advice on the sticker chart (we've managed to get by without that or time outs for DS1 - I'm sure DS2 will be a different kettle of fish...) but positive reinforcement (without the negative come downs) sounds like a good plan - good luck with it.

(one day you'll have a loving adult daughter and you'll look back and laugh at these tantrumming moments - my big sister was (by all accounts) a nightmare child, but turned out into a wonderful adult :-)

It is normal and they don't mean it. They can't separate out temporary and permanent feelings yet and don't have a handle on their emotions. When she says "I hate you" she means "I'm angry with you". Watch - she'll say "I hate carrots" one day and wolf them down the next.

You could try naming the feeling for her "You feel really angry right now. You don't want to have a bath." For some children it can help and gives them a word they can use.

altogetherwonderful Fri 14-Feb-14 08:47:12

Wow. Nip it in the bud! A sharp ' we don't say that word in this house! '

and move on/distract/walk away

& repeat as necessary

It's the age where you need to nip those kinds of behaviours in the bud otherwise they'll get harder to manage. Don't let them say such things!

Don't let them say it!!!

perfectstorm Fri 14-Feb-14 08:47:32

Agree with Bertie that it's just because she hasn't the maturity to express rage any better. DS will sometimes scream that he wants a new mummy. And/or Daddy. At 5, he does it partly to hurt, but also I think because he's basically powerless and he knows it. He's also a very loving and demonstrative kid, and very kind. I don't think using parents as emotional punchbags interferes with kindness and empathy otherwise, they just need to be able to vent sometimes. It does hurt though when they're little - I'm more immune now, not sure why.

altogetherwonderful Fri 14-Feb-14 08:51:25

It's not common for all kids to say it though, our 2 didn't fling around words like that when in a tantrum

They just lay on floor thrashing around & I let them...

but we say kind words & reinforce that very often! It's very Mary poppins yes but language & choices of words starts at 2

it's not ok for them to say the hate word just because they're trying to express their feelings surely?

perfectstorm Fri 14-Feb-14 09:16:19

but we say kind words & reinforce that very often! It's very Mary poppins yes but language & choices of words starts at 2

Thanks for the assumption that nobody else knows how to parent. wink I would assume we all do that and know that, too.

it's not ok for them to say the hate word just because they're trying to express their feelings surely?

I think reacting in an extreme way to 2 year olds venting is disproportionate. It gives them the idea that they can get to you very easily and it gives them the idea that their anger and rage is scary. Reducing it to size by being matter of fact and calm and just not allowing them to turn it into a big deal, nor behaving as though toddler tempests are scary and unmanageable, is IMO a more sensible and proportionate response. Given DS is now a very calm child, and his school say he's excellent at managing and negotiating peer relationships, it seems to have worked for him, at least. And given most (if not all) of the other parents here find this annoying but not worth getting dramatic over, it would seem that it must be common, and not a huge issue.

I don't think teaching kids that their visceral responses when very tiny are appalling and wicked and must be suppressed at all costs is ideal parenting myself, no. I think teaching them to manage those emotions, by modelling that you personally don't find them scary but also don't engage in expressing them, is best. But then I don't pretend to have all the answers, either. I can only say what feels right for me.

altogetherwonderful Fri 14-Feb-14 15:04:17

Thing is, where have they heard the word 'hate' in the first place? Even hearing it at nursery you can nip it in the bud by simply & calmly letting them know we don't say that word in our family

How us it ok to let them say whatever word they please just because they 'need to express their emotions'? That's rubbish.

I'd be mortified if my kids had yelled at me that they hate me, in a tantrum. Yes I allowed the tantrums, but thankfully it never involved them saying hate or worse swearing at that age blush

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 14-Feb-14 16:24:04

Don't feed the tantrum, she does it because she gets a reaction from you, even negative attention is attention. Turn round and walk away.

When they are older a quick "Up to bed young man" works in this house.

DameDiazepamTheDramaQueen Fri 14-Feb-14 16:24:55

And try not to take it so personally, they don't hate you, they hate the fact you have disciplined them and they are cheesed off about it.

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