The Heart-Piercing Pain Of Hearing Your Child Say “I Hate You!”
What do you do?
Every parent, at some point in raising children, will inevitably hear, “I hate you” from their child.
Our natural reaction when we encounter these hurtful words from our babe's mouths is to come back with a forceful reply that could be even more hurtful.
Human nature makes us weak and prone to react in an ungodly manner. Anger is something that is an innate human emotion. God tells us in Ephesians 4:26 that in our anger, we should not sin.
Be angry, and do not sin”: do not let the sun go down on your wrath Ephesians 4:26
As a result, when our children tell us they hate us for whatever reason, we as parents must be on guard not to react in a way that is not loving or in line with God’s teachings.
How should you handle “I hate you” when your child blurts it out?
God understands that we are human, and because of sin, we are imperfect. He knows that we will get angry. Your child needs to know that anger is a natural emotion, and it’s okay to feel angry.
However, it’s the way you handle the anger that will determine if we are sinning or not.
Frustration, disappointment, emotional or physical pain, trauma, or anxiety are common reasons to cause a child to become angry.
The number one cause for anger towards their parents is being told ‘no’ to something they desire.
Reacting to “I Hate You”
1. Acknowledge they are angry with empathetic statements:
I know you are angry.
I know that you are upset about my decision.
I realize it may seem unfair to you.
2. Allow for a cooling off period for everyone to regroup. Afterward, approach your child and talk to them about their behavior.
This is an excellent time to let them know that hurtful words are sinful and that they need to seek God’s forgiveness. Pray with them.
3. Discuss alternative ways for them to handle anger, so they don’t sin. Be sure that you let them know it is okay to be angry and to express how they are feeling as long as it is not disrespectful to others.
4. Let your child know that no matter what they say…
- You will never abandon them and are always there for.
- You care about how they feel, and you want to help them.
- Things are going to be better.
5. Don’t push your child away because you feel hurt. Instead, pull them in close and show them you love them no matter how angry they become.
Lastly, remember it is far more effective if you respond to an angry child in five or less words. Leave out the “Don’t speak to me like that,” “You’re grounded” or “Wait until your dad gets home.” Those statements only make the problem worse.
De-escalate, resolve, forgive, and move on.