278: When your Child Says “I Hate You!”

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My son Noah’s birth-dad recently came to stay with us for a long weekend. We do this every winter– Noah and Drew snowboard together, we go out to eat, we play board games, and it is truly a highlight of our year. As I was reflecting back on the many years that we’ve been doing this, I remembered that several years ago, I recorded an Instagram Live about a meltdown that Noah had before one of Drew’s visits, and I couldn’t quite remember all the details, so I rewatched it. It was so touching to go back in time and watch Rachel from three years ago processing her experience of mothering a strong willed little boy, and I felt proud of her for all she was learning then, and I felt proud of myself for how much more I’ve learned since then, and I felt proud of Noah for how far he’s come since then. It was so special for me to reflect on how much this podcast has blessed my family these past five and half years.

So I decided I would pull the audio from that IG Live and share it here on the podcast, and then I will pop back in and give you three takeaways that I learned from this experience, as well as others, about what to do when your child says they hate you or uses other strong language against you. 

 

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3 Takeaways for when your child says, “I hate you!” or uses strong language against you:

 

1) Be the adult. This means staying “safe” when your child is melting down by remaining respectful and modeling for them what it looks like to control your anger. Remember, “you don’t have to show your child who is boss–they already know.” Instead, show them that you are steady and safe.

2) Validate the emotions. Remember that “all emotions are okay, even if not all behaviors are okay.”  Instead of punishing or shaming your child’s big words, try to help them understand their big feelings: “You want to say words that show how big your anger is right now” or “It sounds like you are hurting and you want me to hurt too. Emotions can feel scary, but I’m not scared of your emotions. I’m right here with you.”

3) Get outside support. If your child has a pattern of outbursts and rage, consider find them a play therapist and/or asking for a neuropsychological evaluation, so you can see if there are any underlying conditions that need support. 

 

>>>Are these tips on what to do when your child uses strong language against you helpful? What would you add to the takeaways? Tell us in the comments below.

 

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