Once upon a time, I didn't think anything could be more painful than childbirth. Then came the "I hate you" stage of parenting. Just three words, but they may be the most painful words in the English language ... but coming to you straight out of the trenches, I've got news for every mom who has wanted to burst into tears after her kid dropped the "hate" bomb.
Congratulations! You are raising a normal American kid!
Now who's the bad mom? Huh?
Instead of beating yourself up because your kid did what every other kid in America has done, what you really NEED to be doing is brushing up on how to respond to your kid when they tell you they hate you.
I asked some of the smartest parents I know, parents who know better than to yell, scream, and generally act as immature as their "hateful" child, how THEY respond when their kids say "I hate you."
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Some of their answers were funny. Some a little sad. But all were so insightful that they're worth adding to your arsenal:
1. My husband tells them (much more calmly than I can manage), "You don't hate me, you don't like what I am telling you. There is a big difference. I love you!"
2. "Sorry you feel that way, that's too bad ......" Long pause (guilt, the gift that keeps on giving!).
3. "Oh, well, I guess that means you don't want to go to Disney with me this year then. Looks like it's a kid-free vacation this year!"
4. "I love you, but I don't like you right now."
5. "It's OK; I love you enough for both of us."
6. "OK, I'll find you a new mom then."
7. "EXCUSE ME?" (I don't yell at them, but if you say it really loudly, it's shocking enough that they almost always apologize.)
8. "That hurts my feelings."
9. "That's fine. I'm doing my job then. But mommy still loves you!"
10. "You will hate me many times as you grow up, and I'm prepared for it and will always love you."
11. "It's OK; you'll get over it."
12. "You do? That's not very nice, and I don't feel that way about you."
13. "You're allowed to be mad at me; however, you're still not allowed to wear shorts to school when it's 20 degrees outside."
14. "I know you're angry, but that is not an OK thing to say to your family."
15. "You're not exactly my favorite person right now either, Kid."
16. "Well, it's my house, so you're free to move out anytime."
17. "I know you are mad at me right now and we can talk about the situation when you are calm."
18. "That's OK, honey; you'll love me soon enough."
What do YOU say when your kids say "I hate you"?
Images via ©iStock.com/Choreograph; ©iStock.com/David Hernandez