How should I respond when my child says "I hate you"?

It's a phrase almost all parents hear form their child at some point and while we know kids don't mean it, it can be jarring for parents to hear. How should you respond when your kids say this to you?

40  Answers

10 0

I always said to my two daughters, the few times they said that to me, "Are you sure that you don't just hate that I'm not letting you have your way, I hate when I don't get my way too. In the meantime, I love you enough for both of us."

57
5 5

I love that!

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0 0

Well most of the responses were to say I LOVE YOU or to that effect. I don't agree. It is a time for reality - how do you feel when your child says it. Personally I was crushed when my 12 year old child told me that she didn't love me any more. My heart was breaking and I did the emotional thing because I was emotionally diswraught. I broke down and cried in front of my child. To my amazement, my child put her arm around me, said that she was sorry and held me until I got my composure. Very valuable lession - my daughter got a real good understanding of hurting someone with words. We talked about it years later and by the way she never said such an unkind thing again. During our discussion when she was about 16 went like this - she was really sorry she had said that and yes, that she didn't mean it but she thought for that moment that her not loving me could hurt me so much that I would cry because normally my girls didn't see me cry which I didn't do often. My tears impressed upon my daughter how much her words hurt my feelings which I think is a very important lesson to be learned. Cheryl

32
0 30

This is exactly how I reacted three years ago when my son said he hated me. He was 7 years old at the time, and he hasn't said those ugly words since. Kids need to know how hurtful those words are! We need to teach our kids to communicate better... they may hate the situation, but not the person. There's a big difference!

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18 0

Depends on their age, but when they are small, I realized that they were using words they heard from the TV and not from me. They didn't understand the context of the word "hate"...they saw an angry face and thought it meant "angry". So when they would say "I hate you", I would kneel in front of them and ask them, "Why are you ANGRY at Mommy? I know you don't hate me. You love me and I love you. It is okay to be angry with me, but hating isn't nice. Hating means you don't love someone." By the time they were older, they never said they hated me, and they knew that you can be angry and it is fine...and we get over being angry.

18
0 0

Great response bravo!!!! ill try to remember this one thank you

1 20

If my kids ever say it to me I will respond with what my mum use to say to me my brothers and sisters..... if you hate me then I must be doing my job right!

13
0 12

I have 4 daughters and whenever I hear something like that I just calmly say to them "You're gonna hate me alot between now and when you're 18 but atleast I know I'm doing my job and you'll grow up to be an amazing person."

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5 5

I have four children and have never heard this comment from them. I imagine, however, that I would respond with something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way. I love YOU, still...no matter what. Would you like to talk about it?"

10
13 0

You look at them and say Well I Love You...and they may say it again and you then just smile walk away and as you are walking away you tell them again that you love them....

9
1 12

marcy..just read your comment....great minds think alike i think lol xxx :) xxx

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32 21

I guess it would depend on the age. If it's a younger child (3 - 5'ish) I'd say something like "that hurts my feelings. Could you apologize to mommy?" If it's an older child (6 - 10'ish) I'd say something like "hey, that was not a nice way to tell me your mad." If it's a teenager, well I'd probably not acknowledge that comment until later when tempers are under control. I know my child doesn't hate me, personally, they hate my restrictions or bounderies. Two different things entirely. I'd try to remember to not take it personally.

8
0 29

Yes I agree with you Christina. You really have to take into account your child, age and situation. I had some real life learning lessons with my teenage sons many years ago and now I have a 9yr old daughter and its a different ball game I think with girls but how we react to these things really does make a difference. What I am most proud of with my daughter is that she doesn't hold grudges and gets over things quickly and I think that mostly due to how I deal with the situation and try as you said not to take things personally.

0 9

"If you think you hate me now, I can make you really hate me!"

8
0 9

(just kidding) :)

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0 16

My kids said that too, my response was" that's fine, I don't always like you either but I will always love you."

7
0 16

I have always said if your child never tells you that they hate you then you are not doing your job as a parent. It wasn't often but when i would hear this from my children and would tell them that I might not like them very much either right now but that I always love them!
I always got a little love note or hug and appology soon afterward. They don't really hate us...they just don't like the situation.

7
1 8

Hmmm...this is tough one. I have never had either of my children say this to me. I know that when I was a Child I'd said one time "I hate whatever" (I don't remember specifics, it's beside the point) and immediately my Mother said "Oh don't say that, you don't really hate anything." "Hate is such a strong word and feeling." "I hope you never know what Hate is, in your life." The statement had such a profound effect on me, that I repeated it to each of my own Children the moment they said "I hate whatever." I think they both understood and it's not a word used in our vocabulary(s) even casually.

6
0 5

This approach worked well in my home, too. If hate is treated as a four letter word, it is less likely to become part of their vocabulary.

1 12

My daughter (15) has screamed that at me once.....and i, smile on my face shouted back " i love you" and walked away from the situation....as we know, our children dont mean it....if we bite back then it makes things ten times worse - hard i know but its worth giving it a try...it worked for me.

5
0 8

Part of being a parent means disciplining your child. I would never have even thought about saying those words to my parents growing up..not only because it's disrespectful but because I was afraid of the consequences. I'm so sick of parents letting their kids disrespect them and get away with it. If your kid says that and your response is I love you or im sorry, then you have way more problems than those words. These discussion boards are getting ridiculous! Be a parent!

3
0 7

This is the first time I've read responses, and obviously you don't have teenagers. In this day and age life is different for them. I would never have even thought those words about my parents much less said them. Being a parent comes with different consequences as it did many years ago. You attempt to "parent" as ours did and now they threaten to call the cops, run away, etc...Life, unfortunately is not what it used to be. I wonder how this "parenting" is going to work for you in the future??? With everything these kids are exposed to it will only get worse!! In the end children may say they hate you, but if they are mad or whatever they will always take it out on the ones they love the most.

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0 4

Good, because that means I am doing my job! I love you but unfortunately there are times when you are going to feel this way. My love for you in unconditional.

3
1 0

My mother in laws response was always "hate me now, love me later"..and now that she is gone that rings more true than ever!

3
0 0

I have two grown sons and they were not allowed to use the word hate until they were 18. I treated it like a swear word in our house and explained how hurtful the word was. I now work in a middle school as a paraprofessional and do not let the kids say it in front of me. In today's world certain words are used way too easily and people don't really think when they are using them. I always explain to the kids why I don't like the word being used and how it really hurts people.

3
0 10

This is what I tell my kids when they say they don't like me....but I love you..but just know that when you talk like this...it hurts my heart!!! :( Makes them think ( I think) Good luck.

3
2 3

When my daughter said that to me, I made it a point not to react strongly. If they know it bothers you they will do it more when they are mad and want to get to you. I brushed it off like it was nothing and said something like, "I'm sorry you feel that way". I think it worked pretty well because she only said it that once and that was 3 years ago (although we have not quite entered the teen years so I'm sure it will resurface)! Good luck!

3
2 6

My child has only said that to me once but her new thing is saying "you hate me". I have told her over and over that I don't hate her and once jokingly said that "I would have no problem telling her that IF i did feel that way.

When she told me she hated me I just let it go. I said "that's fine but I still love you".. I am sure as she gets older, she is 5 now, that I will hear that phrase over and over again, but I don't think you can take it personally. They need to be taught other words and phrases to describe how they feel. Hate is too easy of a word that is used too often.

2
0 5

My daughter does that too. If I scold her for something, she will start to cry and say, "mommy hates me!" Going back to some previous responses where a child may be confused between the difference of hate and anger. If they think they mean the same thing, it makes sense as to why they would say this!

0 20

I know when i was growing up my mum always said thats okay I've got enough love for the both of us, used to irritate me but it rendered what I said powerless and it lost its effect, and am now prepared to use that when the time comes hopefully not too soon!

2
0 0

Beat that ass!!

2
13 30

My answer has always been "I think you feel that way right now, but it's okay because I love you enough for both of us" so I am on the same page as Jo. The beauty is that I heard my older child saying that to her little sister, so it's a "pass it forward" situation,. I have heard a parent say to her child, well I hate you too. As our kids process information differently, it's the worst possible thing to say because they will carry it with them and always suspect that deep down you do hate them.

2
0 13

This happened to me when one of my sons was about 7 years old. I promptly replied "well that's too bad because I am the only mom you have." He got a bewildered look on his face and I never heard that phrase again. Kids say this to get a response from you that will lead them to getting what they want. You will let them do what they want just so they don't hate you. Don't fall for it. If the shock factor doesnt turn you into weepy jelly, the tactic does them no go and they will not use it anymore. By the way, I raised five children.

2
2 9

Depends on how old the child is...in my son's case at 4 yrs old, when he says "I hate you Mommy" it is almost always followed by "It's backwards day, Mommy"

2
0 1

Whenever my daughter tells me she hates me I respond with "thats ok because I love you."

1
0 4

I use to tell mine, "LOVE YOU MORE". This always changed everything.

1
0 0

I am a mother of two and have heard the "I hate you" from both of them. My reply was: Yes I know that you do right now. Someday your children will say the same thing to you. I hope that you tell them that you understand and that you love them anyway and always will.

1
0 0

Honestly, it's almost a part of relationships around here that "hate you" comes up jokingly. And I think I'll treat it the same if my kids ever say it to me: Smile and say "I love you too." They don't mean it, and we shouldn't take it personally. It's their way of expressing anger, frustration, and grievance. The best we can do is love them. Years later, I look back and even with all the bad memories, the strongest thing I remember is how much my mom loved me, and how much that meant. Even when I was angry.

1
0 19

when my oldest (almost 13 now) was little and he said this to me i was heart broken thinking my baby hated me then he said it a few more times and the other two chirped up saying it too.. then i got to thinking y they were actually saying it to me and came up with the perfect reply to that comment.... i said "you hate me? then good! that means i'm doing my job right as your mother! my job is not to b your friend but to b your parent to teach you right for wrong, to be respectful of others and to mind your manners and to b helpful and kind to others." then i heard "your mean mama! i don't like u!" then i would say "well guess what i don't like ur behavior right now either but i still love you with all of my heart!" they have never said it ever again!! :D i think too often nowadays parents try to b their kids friends first n not the parent first but that's just my opinion

1
1 3

Oh you are so right on all aspects to this.

0 9

I have a 9 yr old daughter. She has told me "out of anger" that she hates me. I don't ignore it, but I don't get into a screaming match. I simply say to her "Well thats your decision to hate me" I suggest you go up to your room and think for the next 10 minutes WHY you really hate me, and if you really hate me. She goes storming off to her room and then after 10 mins I call her to me and she has realised she doesnt hate me. I sit and remind her how strong of a word HATE is even if you dont really mean it, you must not say it.

1
0 17

I always say "Ok. But I LOVE you!!!!" Then they just stop and look at you like WHAT?????

1
0 107

I told my daughter, "Well, I always love you, but I don't LIKE you when you say that to me" Certainly calmed her down.

1
0 31

You say "Well, I love you" and hug them.

1
0 0

smile and know you are doing something right:) ...and maybe also tell them its ok you know they love you ...just in event something terrible happens they don't live w any guilt:)

1
0 0

I always responded with "Well I love you". If your children don't hate you at abouyt 12 times a day, you are not doing your job.

1
0 11

I would tell them I understand they are upset with me right now because They did not get their way, I refused to take them some place, or I did not allow them to do something. I know you love me as much as I love you because we are still standing in the same room together, but how would you have felt if I had said that to you? Would you be hurt and disappointed like I am right now?

1
0 9

YOU SAY to the child, "there are days I don't like you either, but I always love you"...it worked on my kids...it stuns them to hear it said that way...' cause to them...if they say I hate you, they expect the same in return...also makes them stop and think, "how can she not like me, but say she loves me?"
TRY IT...IT MIGHT JUST WORK...

1
1

they say this because they are either getting ideas from friends, their friends could be spoiled and they think they should be spoiled too, getting angry and being selfish. Or they just hate you because your being a bad person, probably not though.

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820 13

my son is 4. his dad and i are getting a divorce. he thinks it's my fault dad moved out and doesn't see them very often. he tells me he hates me quite a bit these days. i just say ok, well i still love you. the other day he said to me 'mum you know when i say i hate you i don't really hate you i will always love you' that was a pretty special moment. it comes out a place of frustration and angry, it's never really meant. you've just gotta keep that in mind.

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1 0

While I havent had this happen (yet, and hopefully never) I plan to respond with "well, im sorry to hear that but I LOVE you."

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