My 7 Year Old Is Telling Me He Hates Me Now

Updated on October 10, 2006
C.A. asks from Augusta, ME
12 answers

how do any of u moms deal with older children who start to tel you that they hate u? i tell him i love him, and i tell him it hurts my feelings. but he doesnt seem to understand. course he has a lot of problems too.

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So What Happened?

thanks so much for the advice i sort of knew he did it out of anger bedcause i told him he coudlnt play with somethign and was angry..i sent him to his room where he throws things, not that i mind he throws things in his room if its and outlet for frusteration. and later i expaline how i felt...but im thiking he has a form of autism cuz sometimes he wont look at me when i try to talk to him and he repeats himself..but thanks for the advice!

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M.B.

answers from Boston on

I had this problem with my yougest daughter. I just kept telling her I love her. Eventually she stopped. I think it's a phase they go through.

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M.

answers from New York on

C. - I have an 8 yr old who has said she hates me a few times. Any time she says it, I tell her that talking to me that way is unaccetable, even if she is joking. I tell her we don't use the word "hate" and that I don't say that to her (even when I'm mad). I would explain to him why it is not acceptable and then punish him by taking away some privilege (ie favorite TV show) and let him know that he cannot speak to his parents that way. I think there needs to be consequences for unacceptable behavior. Good luck,
M.

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M.A.

answers from Boston on

Surly! Sassy! Snobby! When Good Kids Mouth Off
How to handle back talk at every age
By Paula Spencer
"You stink like a stinky stinkeroo!"

"You're not the boss of me!"

"I hate you!"

It seemed kind of funny when my son, Henry, then just a preschooler discovering the power of words, began to hurl them at me like arrows. Two years later, his sister Eleanor followed suit. Her salty rants, most of them bathroom inspired ("You're a poop with wee in your butt!"), sounded so improbable coming from her tiny, tutu-clad body that I had to turn away so she wouldn't see me giggle.

I'm not laughing anymore. Tots flexing their linguistic muscles are one thing. Now that Henry and Eleanor are 8 and 6, however, they just sound disrespectful. I'd hoped mouthing off was just a phase. Instead, it's getting worse. "Leave me alone, you big bag of beluga!" I was told only yesterday while supervising my first-grader's homework.

Verbal defiance is hard to ignore. There's the sarcastic "Give me a break!" The insulting "Don't you know anything?" The challenging "Make me!" The foul "That sucks!" And let's not forget that insolent preadolescent favorite, "Whatever." Just as annoying are the accompanying theatrics rolled eyes, knitted brows, crossed arms, Shakespearean sighs.

"Yes, it's disrespectful and rude," agrees Robert Billingham, Ph.D., professor of human development and family studies at Indiana University. "But it's the parents' responsibility to teach children how to disagree and express ideas in ways that are respectful." The key word here is "teach" (rather than punish), with equal doses of patience and persistence.

Paula Spencer is the author of Everything ELSE You Need to Know When You're Expecting: The New Etiquette for the New Mom.

Ages 5 to 7: The Echo Years

("I heard it on TELEVISION, Pea-brain!")

Why kids mouth off: Kindergartners and first-graders are like sponges, absorbing words they hear on TV, at school, and on the playground without necessarily understanding their meaning. They don't aim to hurt feelings with imitated insults, explains Mary Naples, director of the Family Life Counseling Center in Boca Raton, FL (no connection to this magazine). For young kids, sassy talk is more like a competitive sport in which they can test out the latest verbal moves. Or they use wicked words to express anger or resentment that they can't otherwise articulate. ("Time for bed," you say. "Idiot-head!" is the reply.) It's the equivalent of a toddler's tantrum.

What you can do: First, make your expectations for respectful language clear in advance. Respect can be a hard concept to grasp, so instead, try "We don't say or do things that hurt other people's feelings," which shows kids that words have consequences.

Then remember not to overreact. Getting mad or leaping to punish is a common mistake, one that only fuels anger, says Naples. Matter-of-factly label the rudeness with "That's hurtful" or "Please don't talk to me in that mean tone." Instead of responding as anticipated, with anger, you can use the moment as an opportunity to connect with your child. If the sass was said in a silly way, for example, you might respond with "That's a new word. Where did you learn it?" If it was shouted angrily, empathize: Saying "You seem pretty upset right now" can lead to a helpful discussion. Remember, too, that a little humor can go a long way ("This idiot-head is not going to leave you alone until you go to bed!").

If the bad attitude continues (and given the persistence of most 5- and 6-year-olds, it just may), repeat your message and add a clear warning about a consequence, suggests Lynda Madison, Ph.D., director of psychological services at Children's Hospital in Omaha and author of Keep Talking: A Mother-Daughter Guide to the Preteen Years: "I said that kind of talk isn't allowed. If you use it again, you'll go to time-out." Or state that you'll withdraw a privilege. The crucial point: Follow through. And don't get upset if your child keeps muttering "Stupid-head! Stupid-head!" during the time-out phase. Paying her any kind of attention at that point, including correcting her, only keeps the bad behavior in the spotlight. Just ignore her until she's civil, or redirect her to some other activity.

To minimize your child's mouthing off, consider going unplugged. Jenny Hansen of Powell, TN, banned certain TV shows for Josh, 7, and Amy, 5. "You'd think children's TV would be okay, or that you'd just have to watch out for the violence," she muses. "But the things that come out of the character Angelica's mouth on Rugrats are terribly disrespectful." If your children, like Hansen's, pick up phrases like "dumb baby," "idiot galoot," and more from the tube, turn it off and cut kids' nasty language off at the source. If you have cable TV, many companies allow you to block out specific channels to shield little ears from negative influences. Remember, you're in charge; TVs can be disconnected.

Ages 7 to 9: Inching Toward Independence

("Duh! Have I got your goat yet?")

Why kids mouth off: Acting surly, challenging authority, and even declaring parents stupid are all ways children attempt to assert their independence during the mid-grade-school years. And yet think about it stretching their wings on the home front is a safe way to go. Kids know you'll still love them even when they act unlovable.

Children this age are better able to understand others' feelings, so they know how to work words for maximum insulting impact, perfecting the irritating tone and attitude. That's why their retorts can be so exasperatingly biting. "They might know it's hurtful, but they do it anyway, especially when they feel something is unjust," Madison explains. These outbursts accelerate when kids are bored, tired, or defensive.

What you can do: First, choose your battles so your disciplinary tactics will still carry weight. Margo Sequeira, a mother of three boys ages 12, 9, and 7 in Newport Beach, CA, doesn't jump in every time an objectionable phrase pops out of her sons' mouths. "I don't let things like 'As if' bug me," she says. "Some expressions come and go. I worry more about them saying disrespectful things like 'Shut up.'"

That's a wise strategy, says Suzette Haden Elgin, Ph.D., founder of the Ozark Center for Language Studies in Huntsville, AR, and author of The Gentle Art of Communicating With Kids. The less a parent pays attention to such expressions, the less a child will use them.

If you do get nasty back talk, keep your cool. The first time you hear it, shift into calm, automatic "computer mode," advises Elgin: Say "People don't like to hear 'Duh!'" Then rigorously ignore subsequent outbursts. Don't even furrow your brow in annoyance. "Though the situation is infuriating, this is an effective way to stop it," she says.

If a child lobs a truly disrespectful snipe at you (something way worse than "Duh!") or refuses to do something asked, avoid getting into a battle of wills. For example, let's say you casually tell your child, "Please wash the dinner dishes tonight," and in response, he roars: "No way! Do it yourself!" Getting on your own high horse ("Don't you dare talk to me that way!") will only escalate the situation. Rather, try to peek at the roots beneath the incivility. Perhaps he is peeved, say, that a sibling never has to lend a hand. Acknowledge the underlying feelings, and then help show him a better way to speak up: "You seem angry, but the way you're expressing it makes it hard for me to respond. Do you want to talk?" Or model the words: "A better way to say it is, 'Can my brother help me with the dishes?'"

If your child remains surly, warn him about the consequences he'll face. Ideally at this age, link them to an upcoming privilege: "If you can't calm down, you won't be able to play ball after the dishes are done." Last, don't try to squeeze an "I'm sorry" out of your salty-mouthed child. Forced apologies tend to be meaningless, notes Madison. And they can trigger a power struggle that diverts the focus from your main goal: teaching a better way to communicate. Ask him to rephrase his snipe nicely or explain why it was wrong.

Ages 9 to 12: Emotion Explosion

("You can't control me! I can't even control myself!")

Why kids mouth off: Children who have learned that back talk is unacceptable usually begin to outgrow the habit as they approach adolescence, or they use it only around peers, says Madison. At this age, seriously bratty behavior can be a warning signal that a kid is upset about some larger issue.

Still, parents can expect outbursts. While preteens understand that mouthing off is wrong, they're not yet emotionally mature enough to always check the impulse. What's more, they may develop an irritatingly sarcastic or supercilious tone ("M-o-o-o-m, get a clue!") just because their friends talk that way. A desire to seem grown up can lead to even more defiant, defensive snarls ("Who died and made you God?!"). Add to this the fact that the hormonal changes and moodiness of puberty (which can begin as early as age 9 these days) are at work, and your little darling's language can become shockingly strong.

What you can do: Take a mutual time-out. It's natural to get mad when being dissed by someone who is nearly your height and may almost seem like your equal. The fact that this is your baby only adds salt to the wound. Since it can be hard, if not impossible, to make your point in the heat of the moment, don't even try.

When her 9-year-old daughter, Kristen, uses "that snotty tone" and an argument erupts, Lorie Smock of Guilford, IN, delays further discussion. "I'll say: 'Look, we're not getting anywhere. We both need to cool off. So let's go our separate ways, and we'll try again a little later,'" she explains. "That helps her calm down and gives me some time to decide if I'm approaching the situation in the right way or need to take it from a different angle."

Then, when all seems calm, say something like "I'm glad that blowup is out of the way. It made me feel bad, and I think you felt bad, too. What can we do so it doesn't happen again?" The child then owns a piece of the solution instead of feeling dumped on. Preadolescents especially appreciate sincerity, so you could also say: "Look, you hurt my feelings, but I didn't do anything to hurt you. What's up?" In general, a child who feels she is listened to is more apt to accept the times when you simply have to lay down a "because I said so" rule, points out Billingham.

Another key to dealing with a surly preteen: When a child sneers "You're so clueless!" or "Get a life!" it's irrelevant whether she really considers you dumb or dull, Billingham says. Parents who take rude behavior to heart risk treading too gently out of fear the child won't like them, he warns. "Remember, it's not personal; it's developmental."

If your child is mouthing off left, right, and center, talk to his teacher, coach, or other adults in his life for insight as to where his anger or frustration is coming from. And consider a few sessions with a child therapist if his verbal rebelliousness is too out of line.

Finally, tune out those grandparents and other interested observers who insist that a child who's 9 or 12 should "know better." Control is not yet second nature for children, even during these years, notes Billingham. "It's best to take the approach that a child any child between 5 and 12, in fact is learning how to know better," he says.

It's a long haul, but if you keep at it, you might just be rewarded with a teenager who not only knows better, but sounds like it, too.

Parental Replies that Make Things Worse

"I heard that!" Your child replies, "Heard what?" and before you know it, youre caught in a power struggle.
"Shut up!" Its merely insulting, not instructive.
"What did you say?" Your child answers, "Nothing," and youre left hanging.
"Dont you dare use that tone with me!" This phrase sets up a challenge but provides no clear consequences.
Parental Replies that Get Results

"Why are you talking that way? Are you mad about something?" Pinpoint your childs feelings.
"The rule in this house is that we talk respectfully." This sets parameters or provides a reminder.
"How would you feel if someone said that to you?" Help him to consider the effects of his words.
"I cant respond to your tone." This tactic ignores unacceptable language and rewards the acceptable.
Is Your Kid Too Polite?
Dont worry that your childs a wimp if she never uses defiant language, says Robert Billingham, Ph.D. Some youngsters are naturally easygoing. Or they may simply be respectful kids who vent frustrations in other ways. Enjoy your well-mannered child, but guard against her becoming a pushover; after all, the upside of back talk is that its a way for kids to practice expressing independence. Urges Billingham, "Encourage her to stand up for herself and not always give in to others wishes." Play-act tough situations a kid cutting ahead of her in line at soccer practice and help her brainstorm smart, not snide, responses.
Mean-Mouth Hall of Fame
Weird and wild things weve overheard real kids say to parents in the heat of the moment:
"You knuckle-headed nuisance, quit nagging me!"
"I think you need to go back to second grade, Dad."
"Cant I get any service around here?"
"People your age ought to be smart enough to know that!"
"Tell me to do that one more time, and you can never pack my lunch again!"
"You expect to drive me to the mall wearing THAT?"
"Youre the meanest mom I ever had!"
Parenting.com, December 2000

Little Kids, Big Mouths
Back talk comes in all forms, from sarcasm to sulking. Dr. Mom's stay-cool strategies for ending insolence
By Marianne Neifert, M.D.

The labor of love called parenting can be difficult even when your child is compliant and adoring. But when your simple requests or innocent remarks are met with sassy retorts, sullen silences, even eye rolling or shoulder shrugging, you can feel angry and discouraged or find yourself caught up in an argument neither of you will win.

Given the consequences, what compels kids as young as 3 to be insolent? Often they do it to get attention, to test their skills at arguing, or to try to dominate their parents, friends, or teachers. Being able to use words to make other people angry, or even sad, can give youngsters a sense of power.

But not all rude behavior should be considered an act of defiance. Kids, like adults, expend a lot of emotional energy being well-mannered to people in the outside world be it at school or at daycare. Parents should be aware that little ones are more likely to lose their composure at home, where they feel safer, than they are in other places.

Besides, children are bound to be disappointed when their wants clash with parental rules and authority, and you should expect and allow a certain amount of whining and grumbling when you're telling a child to do something or enforcing limits: "Awwh, do I have to?" "No fair." "I did it last time." "I never get to stay up late."

You can view such comments as harmless background noise and either ignore them or, if you feel you must respond, simply paraphrase what your child is feeling, while restating your own request. "I hear that you wish you didn't have to do chores, and the garbage still needs to be taken out."

Curbing Sassiness

But serious insolence ("You are so stupid!") should not be overlooked. The following strategies can minimize the tendency toward back talk.

Do Unto Others

Many of us forget the obvious that kids are more likely to show respect when you treat them, and other people, in a respectful manner. And if you constantly put yourself down or disparage your partner, kids, or friends, you teach your children that it's okay to wound others with hurtful words.

Even infants observe their parents and mimic what they see. As soon as your baby starts to speak, teach him to say "please," "thank you," "I'm sorry," and "excuse me." Try to frame your desires for your child to put his toys away, for instance as requests, not demands. And when he carries them out, don't forget to acknowledge it, which helps him feel valued.

To teach little ones the difference between respectful and disrespectful speech, you can cite examples of each made by other kids. Another idea: Show how tone of voice and inflection can turn even the most neutral phrase such as "That sure made a lot of sense" into a put-down.

One of the most effective ways to shape a child's behavior is to give him positive reinforcement whenever he speaks or acts the way you'd like him to. Praise him for paying a compliment, listening respectfully, or having a polite conversation with you. And when he's made a concerted effort to control his language or behavior in a difficult situation, tell him how much you appreciate it by saying, for instance, "I know you're disappointed that we have to leave. Thanks for cooperating without a fuss. Now we'll have time to stop for some pizza."

Allow Kids to Vent

Children who don't feel free to express their views may talk back in order to feel less controlled. Don't confuse insolence with your child's healthy willingness to state her own opinion or to honestly express her wants and needs. Be tolerant of such statements as "You didn't keep your promise" or "I hate green beans."

When you insist on an overly broad definition of back talk one that prevents children from ever disagreeing with adults your end result may be an extremely well-behaved child, but one who's probably stifling her emotions, wants, and needs. Instead, encourage her to assert herself appropriately by conveying what she feels.

Limit Cultural Influences

Unfortunately, popular culture plays a powerful role in promoting back talk among children. Sitcoms make pint-size smart alecks into celebrities, whose one-liners are met with enthusiastic laughter from the audience. And talk-show guests routinely take rudeness to ever higher levels now seem to be a permanent part of TV and radio.

So although it's tempting to use television as a babysitter or to switch on the radio in the car, either limit your child's viewing and listening time or monitor what he sees and hears. If you can't watch an entire TV show with your child, at least poke your head in from time to time or watch the program together for 15 minutes. Explain that put-downs and sarcasm can be hurtful, and stress that you don't want to hear such language at home.

Ways to Handle Rude Retorts

If despite your best efforts your child still answers back sarcastically or gives you the silent treatment here's how to remedy the problem.

Act Fast

Don't let your child benefit from an insolent remark: Give a clear and immediate message that her words and tone were unacceptable and won't be tolerated. Don't allow her to intimidate you with back talk; it will only escalate if she gets her own way by using it.

Explain as objectively as you can that in your family, everyone is treated with respect. Don't overreact, and be sure to condemn the rude language, not the child. Offer your child the face-saving option of starting over in a calm voice. Sometimes you can instantly defuse a tense situation with humor for example, by saying in a light, teasing tone, "Did you really mean to say that?" When your child starts the conversation over, thank her for cooperating and speaking respectfully.

Acknowledge Everybody's Feelings

Kids often lash out when they're angry, frustrated, disappointed, or feeling unlovable. Luckily these intense emotions don't last very long, so although it's difficult, don't take verbal outbursts personally.

Instead, try to isolate the hurt or anger behind your child's words and help increase his awareness of his feelings. One way to do this is to use the word "and" (which links two equal ideas) instead of "but" (which tends to negate what precedes it). For example: "I hear that you don't want to stop playing right now, and I'm afraid it's time to get ready for bed." You can also encourage your child to express his negative emotions more appropriately by asking him to think about what might really be troubling him.

Explain that disrespectful language makes a person feel attacked, angry, and hurt. Calmly describe the effect that your child's words have had on you. Even a child as young as 3 can understand when you tell him he's hurt your feelings.

Enforce the Penalty

One of the most effective ways to curb rude behavior is to promptly impose a consequence for it. The goal is to teach your child that if she doesn't respect others (especially grown-ups) and cooperate with them, they won't be receptive to helping her get what she wants.

An ideal consequence for insolence is the immediate loss of a privilege. For instance, if your 5-year-old repeatedly answers with a sarcastic "Duh!" to everything you've said while you're both playing Candy Land, you can tell her, "I'm too upset by your behavior to play anymore. You'll have to find something else to do."

Other penalties you might choose are a loss of TV time, adding extra jobs and chores, and not allowing friends over. Before enforcing one, however, be sure to give your child the option of picking the consequence: "You can apologize and do what I asked, or you can stay home and miss the movie this afternoon." That way she gets the power she so desires.

For preschoolers, a time-out which allows everyone to calm down can be a suitable alternative. After tempers have cooled, talk with your little one about her feelings.

But don't issue vague warnings when dealing with back talk ("If you say that again, you're really going to be sorry" or "This is the last time I'm warning you about your mouth"). Empty threats only serve to give kids more control and thus will reinforce the habit.

Yet it's also important that you don't impose too harsh a punishment on your child, since that may breed resentment. While back talk certainly is annoying, it isn't dangerous, and it shouldn't require drastic measures, such as refusing to drive your 6-year-old to soccer because she was sassy while you were getting ready to go.

Step Back

Children often try back talk to draw you into a power struggle so they can feel more in control. Answering defensively or in anger will only make things worse: It takes two to perpetuate a power struggle, so disengage.

It took me years to learn this. When any of my five children were insolent, my stock response was "Don't talk to me that way." One day, though, my daughter (who was 12 at the time) talked back and I said nothing though, to be honest, it was simply because I didn't have the energy to confront her. A few minutes later, she apologized on her own, admitting that problems she was having at school were the real reason for her hostility. I came to her support, demonstrating to her that we were on the same team.

So instead of responding angrily, you can say, "You seem to like to argue and complain, but I won't play that game." When tempers have cooled, talk to your child calmly about the source of his angry feelings and ask him to suggest ways he could better express them.

Back talk becomes harmful when it creates such a negative atmosphere that you find your relationship with your child eroding. Disengaging from the power struggle, setting a good example, letting kids vent all these strategies can replace sarcastic put-downs with healthier ways to communicate, ways that strengthen the bonds for everyone in the family.

Baby Manners
Between 9 and 14 months, many babies develop bothersome habits, such as biting or slapping, pulling hair, or repeatedly doing things they are told not to, like throwing food. Parents may think their little ones are being deliberately willful and defiant, but these behaviors usually begin as simple acts of curiosity that quickly become reinforced by a parents overly dramatic response. The next time your baby takes a swipe at your coffee mug, try the following:
Anticipate her healthy curiosity. Certain objects are bound to attract a babys attention. Pull your hair back, dont wear dangling earrings, and baby-proof your house to reduce the number of "no-nos" in her environment.
Avoid overreaction. The excitement of your powerful reaction, plus your full attention, can turn a scolding into a reward and actually increase your babys undesirable behavior.
Be consistent. Ask grandparents and babysitters to handle the problem the same way you do. A bad habit will be tougher to extinguish if its tolerated sometimes and not others.
Take quick action. When your baby grabs your glasses, for example, calmly remove her hand while saying no in a serious tone. If she repeatedly stands up in her high chair, end the meal (shes probably had enough to eat). If she keeps reaching for a forbidden object, distract her or remove her to another room.
More Annoying Attention-Getters

Swearing: Make it a family rule that no one uses foul language, including you. Its better to ignore your toddler or preschooler when she repeats swear words a big response from you can make profanity seem even more powerful. You can give older kids a monetary fine or put them in a time-out for saying bad words. An effective strategy for repeat offenders: Offer a positive reward for going a while without using offensive language.
Bathroom language: While theyre being potty trained, little ones frequently use phrases like "Poopy monster." Part of a childs achievement includes mastering the vocabulary pertaining to bodily functions. The stronger your aversion to the words, the greater their appeal to your child, so you can either ignore them or state in a matter-of-fact way, "I dont like to hear that kind of talk." You can impose a time-out if you are truly offended by your childs behavior.
Name-calling: Saying things like "Youre mean" is a common way for kids to express their anger. Dont take such comments personally. You can reply, "Im sorry you feel that way. I understand youre upset and its okay." Explain that someone can say hes angry without using negative labels. Preschoolers often develop a fascination with such derogatory labels as "stupid" and begin using them repeatedly. You can "wear out" the word by requiring your child to say it nonstop for a couple of minutes (use a timer). Then explain that rude comments hurt peoples feelings.

Parenting, March 1999

Marianne Neifert, M.D., a contributing editor, is a pediatrician and the author of Dr. Mom's Parenting Guide.

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M.M.

answers from Portland on

My advice is whatever you do, do not take this personally! He uses words like that to get a reaction and to communicate a deeper hurt. He doesn't hate you, he just has feelings he can't describe, usually frustration and the like.

Tell me how it makes you feel, but let it go. When he has calmed down you can have a talk about how that kind of language isn't appropriate to communicate how he is feeling, and come up with some other tools to practice when he is that mad.

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M.V.

answers from Hartford on

Hi I remember the first time my son said that to me.i was crushed,but after thinking on it for a while i was prepared for the next time.(which i knew would come)after being told he couldnt go out to play with a friend until he cleaned up his toys,the dreaded "i hate you"came at me.i simply said its ok not to like me right now but i know you love me.and we dont say i hate you because it really hurts people.

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C.B.

answers from Lewiston on

I really hate to tell you this, but you are in for this for another 11 years at least. I have an 11 year old, and it amazes me how stupider I get every day. He tells me how much he hates me on a regular basis. The first few times really hurt, but after about the 10th time, I was able to laugh it off.

My answer to my son when he tells me that he hates me is that I am happy for him. Or that I love him anyway. Or any other smart aleky remark that comes to mind. I think he really hates it when I ask him how that's working for him.

Remember, your son will still love you. It's hard to be the mom and have to stick to the rules and make him do what he doesn't want to or not do what he wants to. Stay strong, and remember that you too told your mother that you hated her, and you came out ok.

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H.B.

answers from New London on

I tell mine they are alowed to be angry and say "this sucks" and vent thier frustration in they're room , but I gave done everything for them, and the MAY NOT say hateful or disrespectful things to me.
Somethings you put up with but saying horrible things about you personally is completely unacceptable!!!!

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K.R.

answers from San Antonio on

My daughter is 6 and has just recently started telling me that she hates me. All I tell her is that "well I love you and there is nothing you can do to change that." and let it go. Although it hurts when they say it, the way that I look at it is that I must be doing something right. I told my parents countless times when I was younger that I hated them, however looking back they did a great job raising me. I don't know anyone that at one point in time didn't tell their parents that they hated them. You just have to understand that he's just mad and he doesn't really mean it. Sooner or later he will thank you for everything you have done for him and in the mean time you just have to deal with the good and the bad to come.

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P.W.

answers from Syracuse on

I have lived through this with two children now teens (19 & 17). I have heard this as well. Looking back, one of the things I should not have done is take it to heart.

They don't hate you...they are upset and simply hate the rules. Since you are the one who enforces the rules, they associate you with the rules and say that they "hate you".

When my son was younger and he got like this I would tell him to take his bad attitude into his room and not come out until his good attitude was back. It always worked. At this age, they want to be around the action and see what is going on. If he comes back out of his room and still has "attitude", back he goes.

Also, if your son raises his voice...lower yours. Speak softly and quietly...he has to work hard to hear you...stop, pay attention, and listen...and usually, his voice will lower also.

Create the "wisper game". It's the game you play whenever you are mad...my son loved it. We usually ended up laughing...wisper yelling is so funny...it doesn't look or sound right...and it calms everyone down.

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R.A.

answers from New York on

is the 7 year old your biological? He is probably jealous of the the other two step kids - My suggestion is have a one on one with him, take him to the movies, park something he will enjoy just with Mommy and he.

My son did the same thing - But, my answer to him was I am not suppose to be your friend but your Mom - sometimes kids hate their mothers' you will appreciate me when you get older.!!

He will get use to it. Try to spend some quality time I bet you he will be telling you how much fun and how much he loves you at the end of the day!

Roberta

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K.W.

answers from Providence on

I've got 8 yr old twins who sometimes say the same thing to me. It really upset me when I first heard it, but then I realized, they were only doing it when they were angry or upset about something. Usually, it's one of three things: something they want that they can't have, something they want to do that they can't or something they need to do that they don't want to do. Being their mother, I have to try to decide what's good for them, whether they like it or not. Sometimes they disagree, and that's okay, and they say the thing they think will upset me like I've upset them. I don't take it personally anymore, because I know they are just saying it to get a reaction. They don't say it often, but when they do I say Excuse Me? If I have them stand right in front of me and repeat it, most of the time, they feel bad about what they've said and won't repeat it. They also cry and tell me what's bothering them. I just explain my reason for whatever made them upset. It doesn't solve the problem completely in their eyes (they don't get their own way), but it gets the outburst out of their system and lets me explain the reasoning, so at least they understand.
He'll probably continue saying it no matter what you do, but it is most likely him expressing anger and not knowing how else to do it.
Hope this helps a little...

J.S.

answers from Hartford on

My oldest daughter just turned 6 yrs old and whenever she's angry with me, she tells me she hates me. She figured out that it's a likely button to push with me since she was 3 yrs old. My response to her is "I understand you're angry with me, and that's all right. I love you no matter how you feel." I do NOT make a big deal of it, because if she knows it bothers me, she would say it much more often just to hurt my feelings when she's upset. Just know that it does NOT MEAN HE REALLY HATES YOU. What he really means is that he's very angry with you and is comfortable enough with your love for him that he can say things like that and know you still love him. When he's calmed down and more rational, you can say something like "When you tell me you hate me, it hurts my feelings. Hate isn't a word I want anyone in this house to use. When you're angry with me, why don't we find another way of saying so? You can tell me that you're very angry with me, and that won't hurt anyone's feelings."

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