What to do when you hear “I hate you”

Every parent will hear the heart breaking phrase”I hate you” at least once in their life. Although your child might be angry right now, you know they don’t really mean it. But it’s never an easy thing to hear.

As a human, your first reaction to hearing “I hate you” would probably be to retaliate in some way, perhaps say something mean back. But as a parent, it’s important to stay calm and in control. If you’re a bit worried about reacting badly to hearing that phrase, perhaps rehearse a safe reply – here are some suggestions.

“I’m sorry you feel that way”

“You don’t hate me, you hate what I’m saying”

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“Well, I still love you”

“It’s OK; you’ll get over it”

“It’s okay that you’re angry, but you still have to xxx.'”

“I know you don’t mean that”

“It’s OK; I love you enough for both of us”

“Maybe you should pick another word to express your anger”

“I think you want space, so I will go now AND I’m happy to listen to you whenever you want to talk”

“I think this feeling will pass”

maternity & infant