17 answers

Toddler Who Won't Stop Saying "Hate"

Any suggestions on how to get a 2 year old to stop using the word hate all the time? She says it so often and it has been since late fall since she has started with this phase. It's about the worst thing that she does for the most part. But it is one of the most awful things to hear out of your little girls mouth. I appreciate any input. Thanks so much.

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

I think that the best advice I got was:
telling her to throw the bad words into the garbage.
Taking more time for my husband and I alone.
Telling her that "hate" is a curse word, time outs no matter what. Say, "That is a very strong word! I am sure that we can find a better word to decribe how you are feeling."
The united method-saying mommy and daddy don't use that word.
Dimming the lights at night for bed and using a booklight to read stories.
Realizing that routines don't just happen over night, they take alot of practice and persistence. 21 days and it should feel normal.
Almost everyone gave me wonderful advice and I thank you, I cherish your honesty.
My mother also told me to say the reverse of what she says for instance, when she says,"I hate you Mommy", say, that's not nice, I know you love me, you don't want to hurt my feelings do you?" And you know what? It worked! She said, " I love you Mommy, I'm sorry. I feel better, I don't want to hurt you. You love me, Mommy?" And my heart melted. I told her of course I love you. She is such a peach.
Thanks so much.-J.
NOTE: The number one thing I disagree with is putting any substance soap or vinegar in my childs mouth, I think it is degrading and abusive. I think it crosses a line of physical conflict between yourself and your child. I am saddened to learn that this cave man mentality still exists. Patience and persistence go a long way. My daughter rarely goes to the bad words anymore, and I believe it's because she truley wants to make me happy. She knows that "Mommy doesn't like those words."
You can still be nice to your child and have them behave the way you'd expect them to. Imagine that!

Featured Answers

When my children used in appropriate words I would tell them to put them in the garbage. When I would hear it again I would ask if they took it out of the garbage and put it in their mouths. then I would metion things not nice in garbage like dirty diapers. It worked for us. Don't make a big deal out of it though as it will become a weapon against you. they learn real quick what pushes Moms buttons.

1 mom found this helpful

Try making a game of it by having her think of other ways to say it. We use phrases like "I really dislike" or "I have a strong dislike for...". If you get her to be creative about it that may help distract her from using the word hate. I have three children and we had this struggle for a while, but now it is much better!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Maybe a reward system would help. Start her off every day with 5 stickers. Every time she says the word "hate" she gets one taken away. How ever many stickers she has by the end of the day, she gets to keep. When she has 20 or 30 let her pick a prize. Maybe you could do it too. Is there a word that you say that you shouldn't? "Stupid," "God," etc. I think a little one would get a kick out of seeing a grown up doing a reward system, and it teaches her that no one is perfect, not even adults.

1 mom found this helpful

Hi J.,
I strongly believe that this must be addressed. Your child, like most, is testing your boundaries. If you ignore it altogether, she'll think its an acceptable word, and continue to use it. Then she'll start with the next word, and the next, etc., with the confidence that mommy won't do anything about it. It's best to nip it in the bud sooner than later. Like many other responses, it doesn't take long. And it'll be one less thing to worry about. There are lots of ways of doing this. Whichever one you choose, just make sure the message gets through that mommy and daddy don't use words like that (keep that united front always). Regardless of what they say or do, in their hearts, the last thing they want to do is disappoint mommy, daddy or anybody who they know loves them. Good luck,
P.S: Some bedtime advice that's working so far. At 6:30 we start talking about bedtime, at 7 p.m. it's pajama time. No need to bathe daily. Every other day is good unless they've soiled or dirtied themselves during the day. We do a "quick-bath"--run water, soap up, rinse off. We save the luxurious bubble baths complete with toys & singing for the weekends. Everything goes down a notch. If the tv is on, lower the volume or turn it off (at least while preparing for bedtime). Dim the lights all around the house. Lower your voice. Use a booklight to read a few pages (that's all you'll need to do at this point) because the bedroom light is off. They'll doze off, then you can start on your "me time".

1 mom found this helpful

Honestly, you sound like you are kind of "hating" your life right now. Maybe the 2 year old is picking up on that, and you say it more than your realize.
I know this really doesn't have to do with your question, but your description of yourself sounded more like a question. First of all, I say you need to get those kids to bed by eight at least! You need some time to yourself. I know you say a schedule is hard for you to imagine, but I'm a teacher, and a mother of two, and a schedule is the best thing for you and your children. Write out a schedule on a piece of paper and put it on the fridge. You are the only one who can make the schedule work, so you need to promise to stick to it. Why not give it a try for a week or so. They say it takes 21 days to adjust to something new. Good luck, and I hope you don't think I was being pushy.

1 mom found this helpful

When my children used in appropriate words I would tell them to put them in the garbage. When I would hear it again I would ask if they took it out of the garbage and put it in their mouths. then I would metion things not nice in garbage like dirty diapers. It worked for us. Don't make a big deal out of it though as it will become a weapon against you. they learn real quick what pushes Moms buttons.

1 mom found this helpful

Stop reacting to it. Any person, old or young, only continues doing what they get attention for (good or bad). If you have no reaction, eventually she will stop. This is true for all children and teen issues - our reaction (and often over-reaction) is the "fuel" to the test-the-boundaries fire.

1 mom found this helpful

I think it is important to allow our children a range of emotions including hate. Let's face it, we all hate someone or something at some time. If we try to cut an emotion or behavior off, it just gets to be more or it comes out in other ways. As parents, we have to tolerate alot and I think part of our jobs is to help our children develop their emotions and to direct them appropriately. I would just mimic your child to let her know you hear her. For example. I hate you Mommy. Response is yes, I hear you, you hate me right now. Or I hate going shopping. Yes, I know you hate going shopping but right now we have to go. Hope this helps.

1 mom found this helpful

We had the same problem with my son. We taught him very early on that "hate" was a curse word (he was about 2 or 3 at the time), and we gave him alternative words to use. So if he said "I hate that" we would reply with "Hate is a very strong, very nasty word. Maybe you mean to say that you dislike or that makes you feel angry" or something like that.

We didn't get angry with him since sometimes kids will say things to get a rise out of you/any attention is better than none/he really didn't have the expansive vocabulary to choose another word, all those reasons you probably already know.

If he persisted in using the "h" word, he would be punished - timed out, whatever. No exceptions, and he understood very clearly why he was being timed out - for cursing. If he really, really felt like he had to use that word, then he would say "I h that". I know it seems silly, but as his vocabulary grew, he leaned on that word less and less and now that he's 10, I virtually never hear him say it. When he hears someone else say it (adult or child) he gently corrects them with "That's a very strong word"!

Don't let her off the hook just because she's young. When you set expectations, your kids will meet them as long as you're consistent, yet supportive in your enforcement.

1 mom found this helpful

Try making a game of it by having her think of other ways to say it. We use phrases like "I really dislike" or "I have a strong dislike for...". If you get her to be creative about it that may help distract her from using the word hate. I have three children and we had this struggle for a while, but now it is much better!

1 mom found this helpful

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