My Daughter Thinks We Do Not Love Her

Updated on July 26, 2011
L.J. asks from Hammond, IN
18 answers

My 6 year old daughter gets upset anytime she does not get her way. She starts to cry and say how we do not love her and that we are mad at her, I do not get it. I feel so rotten when I hear this she breaks my heart. I tell her we all love her but she can't.... but she still keeps crying. Does anyone have any ideas? I am losing my mind she spends most of the day whining and crying!

I forgot to mention she has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder and bipolar.

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So What Happened?

Thanks everyone for all of the advice. I will be trying all of them until i find one that works. She is still saying it but I am learning to develop thicker skin. She is in therapy and is getting medication.

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answers from Honolulu on

She is... manipulating you... and knows it and it works.
She wants attention by getting it by negative means, and manipulation.

Per her conditions, is she seeing a Therapist?????
If not, then she NEEDS one.
AND the Therapist will give you tips, on how to handle her and per her condition.
And, as well as just how to handle a child, issues or not.

If she uses emotional means, to manipulate people and it becomes an entrenched habit... this is not good, for her. And others. And it will become... a vicious cycle of behavior.
A negative AND DYSFUNCTIONAL cycle of behavior.
She needs to learn, positive and healthier... "coping-skills."

When my kids try and manipulate me, I just CALL them on it.
I tell them POINT BLANK... that I know what they are doing and it WILL NOT WORK. They can cry or tantrum or scream, it will not work.
They know better.
AND... I will go and sit down and read my magazine, until they calm down, then they can tell me when THEY feel better.
I also TELL my kids, IT IS A CHOICE.... they can act this way, or not. They are old enough.

The bottom line is: IF you keep LETTING her act this way... she WILL continue to act this way. And it will become highly dysfunctional and not good for her... at all.

6 moms found this helpful

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answers from Charlotte on


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answers from Glens Falls on

As you've said she's been diagnosed bipolar/anxiety disorder, I would recommend you do some reading on a communication technique called validation. A good book about validation is "I Don't Have to Make Everything All Better". Validation is important in all of our relationships but especially if a loved one is troubled by a mood disorder. Some children have trouble processing emotion so it comes out as rage - or self rage. I thought validation just meant being positive until I read this book and learned that validation is about accepting the emotion coming from the other person even if that emotion makes no logical sense to you. The example I use is when the person says "You don't love me!" and we reply "Of course, I love you" - that is NON validating. The better answer is to try to get them to talk through the emotion. First you acknowledge it and empathize with it. So instead you might say: "I must have done something to make you feel like I didn't love you. That must feel terrible. Can we talk about what happened that made you feel that way?" There is a step process to acknowledge the emotion, find something to agree with in it, then transition to where you need her to go. Please give it a try. I wish I had found it earlier.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Joplin on

Whenever my kids pull this I look them straight in the eye and tell them that I do love them and if I did not love them I would not care what they did, where they were, who they were with and so on...ok so 6 is a little young to understand all that, but you can remind her of all the fun things you have done or things you have got for her. She cannot get her way all the time...tell her you love her too much to let her be spoiled = )
I know even at age 6 I was big on bedtime and tucking in and our nighttime routine. Maybe take this time in the evening to have quiet talks about the day. Encourage her to better express how she feels, Give her the words if need be. For example, earlier today you said we did not love you because we did not give you x,y, know that is not true, you know we love you very much, I think what really happened is you were feeling sad that you could not have x,y,z. I know it sounds overly simplistic, but some kids have a really hard time figuring out how to appropriately express how they feel...and by giving them these little reminders it can help.
My only other suggestion is toughen up a tad. Assure her you do love her, but tell her if she wants to continue her crying she can go sit in her room until she clams down.
Also just a word of caution, IF you are giving in because you feel bad, she is winning and has learned from you that this works sometimes...and you cannot let that happen, if it is a no...follow through.
Be strong, loving them really does mean saying no sometimes.

6 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

Its a game. She knows that it hurts your feelings so you'll give in so that you'll feel better.

When my kids (10y and 4y) say this, I've come up with some standard responses.
- 'It's because I love you that I say no'
- 'oh, I do, and to prove it, I'm going to feed you (break/lunch/dinner/???) in an hour!'
- 'see you're wrong, I do love you, its just that I don't feel like a trip to the dr. tonight when you fall and break something ...'
- ' okay, we'll when you're ready for me to love you again, i'll be in the kitchen (and then walk away) '
- 'i love you 50 times a day, but you're not getting cookies 50 times a day'

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

My daughter does this too. I think that it is brilliantly effective. Such pleasure that we get from telling our kids that we love them and hearing that they love us back. What better way to make us feel bad about not getting what they want?

Separate yourself from this and know that she doesn't really think that you're mad at her or that you don't love her. Admittedly you feel bad about her saying this and it breaks you heart. Do you give in to what she wants when she says this?

I think it's a phase. Be loving but not hurt, and tell her that you hear that she really wants thing "x"you're sorry that she can't have what she wants. You do love her but you don't like her behavior. And after she stops crying talk to her about how to define how she really feels.

I think 4-7 are tough ages for kids learning to express emotions into words. Give her some tools... she'll get through it.

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answers from Washington DC on

My 7 yo does this all the time. She also has issues with anxiety and we did family therapy as part of a research study. I brought it up with the psychologist and she confronted her on it. She turned it around and asked her if when she gets upset with me does she hate me? She thought about it and said no. Then she told her that it was okay to be upset with someone but it doesn't mean they don't love you. She told me that my daughter was a very sensitive child and I need to reassure her that just because I am upset doesn't mean I don't love her. That doesn't mean that I don't get very upset when she says it. A lot of times I tell her that she knows that isn't true and she needs to stop saying it. From what I hear, this is very common. I get lots of notes saying she is sorry and that I must hate her, lots of eye rolls. I don't want to know what the teenage years will bring!

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answers from St. Louis on

I think it comes down to how many times you give in since your heart is breaking. This is the oldest trick in the book, "you don't love me", even if it has only a 5% success rate they will try it.

Your daughter does not actually think you don't love her, she wants what ever you said no to.

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answers from Washington DC on


This is your daughter's way of manipulation....she uses her words to hurt you to get her way...DO NOT FEEL are doing the best you can...

Are the doctors giving her medications to help her with her mood swings and anxiety?

When your daughter starts whining or crying...tell her that these are the rules for our home. They are there for a reason and she is welcome to question the reason the rule is in place...I'm all for asking questions and knowing WHY something is the way it is...

When she starts the whining and crying - tell her I cannot hear you through your tears or your whining...when you are ready to talk to me like a big girl - then please let me know...until that point - DO NOT give her ANY attention for her tears, out bursts or six she knows what she is long as she can pull on your heart strings - she need to tell her that You do love her - that's why rules are in that she will grow up knowing the difference between right and wrong....

DO NOT LET HER GAIN CONTROL OF THE HOUSEHOLD WITH HER MANIPULATIONS!!! You will not be doing her or anyone else ANY good....set the rules. set the boundaries...when she says "I hate you" - tell her i'm sorry you feel that way...when she says "You don't love me" tell her I will ALWAYS love you...but do NOT give in to her whining and crying...


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answers from Redding on

This is the oldest trick in the book.
It really is.
If they can just melt you enough, you'll give in and give them what they want.
"I love you, but you're still not getting ice cream before dinner. You can cry in your room if it makes you feel better. But you're STILL not getting ice cream right now".
You just have to stay calm. Don't let them know that it makes you feel rotten. They can be like little sharks who smell fear and blood.
After a while, they do come to understand that getting their way for everything has nothing to do with love and you aren't going to cave in.
It's highly possible she will cry and whine whether you give in to her or not, so I suggest not doing so. Saying you don't love her will lose it's power after a while.

Best wishes.

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answers from San Francisco on

I have a daughter who is 4 years old and she says that I don't love her every time I do not let her have her way. I think it's her way of saying that I'm not listening to her and allowing her to have her own way. She also cries sometimes and whines about it. I try to let her understand that she cannot have her way all the time and that I love her no matter what. I'm hoping this is just a phase that she is going through. I really don't think she thinks that I don't love her and I'm sure your daughter knows how much you love her as well. I think it's hard for kids to understand that loving them doesn't always mean letting them have their own way. Best of luck to you!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Albuquerque on

Sounds like she's playing you mama. She knows you love her and also knows that if she breaks down and cries about not being loved you'll give in.

I'd sit her down and tell her that love doesn't mean always getting your way. Explain in simple terms that it's your job to look after her and say no ifyou think her request is unreasonable. Tell her it means you do love her. And then stand firm. Don't give in!

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answers from Chicago on

My understanding is that anxiety disorder and bipolar bring about feelings of depression and gloominess that could in all probability lend itself to mimicking feeling unloved. I am assuming you will be medicating her or getting therapy. I would let her know that these are only 'feelings' and emotions are not the same as reality. You do love her. If she will be medicated once she gets the right combination she will be so much better. On the other hand, just like all six year olds they do learn sometimes crying works. So it can be very real or a way to get something. You will be able to make the call after awhile. This is all new to you I am sure so be easy on yourself. My son has the same condition but was diagnosed later. Being a boy however he learned all sorts of ways to get things. We are not bad parents and being guilt ridden will not help. Take a stand as you ordinarily would.

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answers from Hartford on

Every child uses this tactic to try to get you to retract your discipline. It's not an anxiety thing nor a bipolar thing. It's like, "If you really loved me you'd let me do anything I want because I want it even if it means being bad and hurting other people and eating ice cream for every meal!" but if you actually allowed those things, you wouldn't be parenting and you wouldn't be putting boundaries into place and your child wouldn't feel secure or safe.

Keep steady and be firm, and know that this is part of her normal development. Try not to take it so personally. As a mother you really need to develop a thicker skin.

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answers from Dallas on

She knows you love her - that's why she's playing you like a fiddle ;) Do what Betsy C said.

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answers from San Francisco on

As a mom to an aspie daughter whose expressions of frustration can be almost comically over-the-top, I think it's possible that your daughter isn't necessarily being intentionally manipulative but is feeling such an emotional overload that the words that come out aren't based on rational thought, and consequently attempting to reason with her when she's in this state can end up frustrating you both (BTDT!).

What I've found works best when my daughter gets into one of her frustrated and not rational moods is to tell her something along the lines of "Mommy would *like* to help you but I'm having trouble understanding your words right now. Maybe you can find a quiet place and let your feelings settle down and come talk to me when you're ready". It doesn't always work, but at least it helps keep *me* from responding over-emotionally to her over-emotional outburst.

and perhaps your daughter might find a book like "What to do when you worry too much - a kid's guide to overcoming anxiety" to be helpful

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answers from Chicago on

That scares me to hear that a 6 yr old is dx with bipolar. It is very serious and will mean that she will never be able to get insurance on her own. Have you looked into her diet to see if that's creating these mood swings? Mine came from a progesterone imbalance once I hit puberty.

Take a look at and see if you think it can help. I know that it has helped other families with BP and has helped mine with ADHD due to the food allergies that my DD and DH have. Those are powerful medicines to have a young child on...I've been on them.

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answers from Dallas on

I'm guessing it's how you approach your discipline with her. I have started reading a book called "Positive Discipline" by Jane Nelsen and it talks about how to discipline in a way to come across the way you intend and help prevent your child from feeling that way. It's very common for kids to feel that way with the type of discipline most of us do these days! Anyway, so that's my suggestion...try reading that book and see if it helps.

EDIT: Just read some of the other comments, and I have to say that I don't agree that she is playing you. Odds are she really feels that way. I remember feeling that way as a kid. I never told my parents that, but I felt that way. If one of my children said that to me, I would say "Of course I love you" and then continue disciplining. I would give it little attention (so that the child doesn't think it works to get a big reaction from me), but enough attention to comfort them should they need it.

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