Oh, how this week’s Bible verse comes in handy, especially when children try to test your patience, question your affection for them, or even make you question their love for you. Parents often fear the day when their child screams “I hate you” in the heat of passion. Unfortunately, it will happen to a lot of parents and I think it is important to be prepared for when it does.
Children are not able to articulate their thoughts and feelings into meaningful, temperate phrases. They are very honest and tend to share their feelings without filter. Often, they blurt out whatever is on their mind, without regard for anyone else.
When your children utter these three words, experts recommend that it is best to focus on your children’s anger and not take the remarks personally. You should respond with loving and reassuring phrases such as “I understand you are angry. I love you and I am here for you.” Teach your children to express in words that they is angry.
Your children need to know that you are always there for them and will try your very best to understand them. However, they also need to know that hurtful words like “I hate you” are unacceptable. When the situation has calmed down and everyone has had the opportunity to take a short break, have a talk with them about appropriate ways to express their feelings. Using the word “hate” is extremely powerful and negative. Don’t yell at them and threaten. The more loving your response is, the more they will understand that their choice of words was wrong and they can do better in the future.
You may have to bear through a few more intense tantrums and go through these points several times before your children are truly able to grasp the concept of healthy expression. Keep trying – don’t give up! The more practice you have, the better it will sink into their minds and the more they will be able to share their thoughts and feelings. You do not have to wait for them to throw another tantrum to put those lessons to work, though. Try discussing experiences that usually elicit an impulsive, negative response from your children and teach them how to respond kindly.
Hearing those three words can be so devastating to a parent, but by responding in love and using these moments as times to teach, parents are establishing a foundation of self-expression that will definitely benefit their children in the future.