I have come to learn that when a child says, “I hate you”, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, but rather the fact that they are so angry, they don’t know how else to express themselves. For my son, he was extremely upset that I gave his brand new lollipop he acquired at a friend’s birthday party, to his younger brother without asking. Was that a reason to hate me? It wasn’t the smartest move I have made as a parent, but definitely not deserving of those three ugly words. The minute my son said the expression I have always feared, he knew he had crossed the line. My older son’s mouth dropped to the floor and it was pretty clear the mood had changed in our house.
The look on my face was louder and more powerful than anything I could have said at that moment. My son later told me he doesn’t hate me, hoped I wasn’t too sad and presented me with a picture he painted as a peace offering. I told him I was also sorry for giving his lollipop away but if he is upset with me in the future, to take a different approach, because once you say something hurtful like that, you can’t take it back.
I definitely do not want these three horrific words to become part of my children’s vocabulary, however, I am fully aware that this is not the last time I will hear “I hate you” out of their mouth. I like to think of it as rites of passages as a parent, like being pooped on, sleepless nights and stretch marks, just to name a few examples. In the meantime, I still consider myself a Mommy Master for today as I kept my cool, didn’t take it personally and was able to teach my son a lesson that words can hurt.
If you are a mom who has not experienced this joyous part of parenting yet, your day will come. Nothing can really prepare you for when your child says, “I hate you” for the first time, especially since it will come from your creation, whom you love more than life itself. Just know it is all part of the job and your child doesn’t really mean it. My favorite response back is, and will always be, “I love you”.
What was your reaction when you heard the phrase, “I hate you” from your child the first time?