What to say when they say “I hate you”

As a parent, there’s no more heart-wrenching phrase to hear from your child than I hate you. It’s a sentence that can cut deep, leaving you feeling helpless and unsure of how to respond. But, as difficult as it may be, it’s essential to handle the situation with care and empathy. Here are some strategies for handling conversations effectively when your child says I hate you.

First and foremost, it’s crucial to remain calm and composed. Avoid getting defensive or matching their level of anger, as this can escalate the situation. Instead, take a deep breath, count to ten, and respond with empathy.

I can see that you’re really upset right now. Can you help me understand what’s bothering you?


I know you’re angry, and I’m here to listen. Can you tell me more about what’s wrong?

By acknowledging their emotions and showing understanding, you open the door for a more constructive conversation.

Another approach is to redirect the conversation and help your child identify the root cause of their frustration.

What’s making you feel so upset right now? Is there something specific that’s bothering you?


Let’s take a step back and think about what’s going on. Is there something I can do to help?

By shifting the focus away from the hurtful phrase and onto the underlying issue, you can work together to find a resolution.

It’s also essential to address the phrase itself, but do so in a gentle and non-confrontational manner.

You know, when you say ‘I hate you,’ it really hurts my feelings. Can we find a better way to express our feelings?


I know you’re upset, but ‘I hate you‘ is a pretty strong phrase. Can we talk about what’s really going on?

By expressing your feelings and encouraging your child to do the same, you can work towards a more positive and respectful dialogue.

Another strategy is to offer empathy and understanding, while also setting boundaries and encouraging responsible communication.

I know you’re mad, but ‘I hate you‘ is not a respectful way to talk to me. Can we find a better way to express your feelings?


I understand you’re upset, but saying ‘I hate you‘ is not okay. Let’s find a way to talk about this that works for both of us.

By setting clear boundaries and encouraging responsible communication, you can help your child develop essential social skills.

Finally, remember that as a parent, you’re a role model for your child. How you respond to their outbursts will influence how they respond to similar situations in the future.

I’m sorry you’re feeling so upset. Can I give you a hug and help you calm down?


Let’s take a break and come back to this conversation when we’re both feeling calmer, okay?

By remaining calm, empathetic, and understanding, you can turn a potentially explosive situation into a valuable learning opportunity.

In conclusion, responding to I hate you from your child requires patience, empathy, and effective communication strategies. By staying calm, addressing the underlying issue, and setting clear boundaries, you can turn a negative situation into a positive learning experience. Remember, as a parent, you have the power to shape your child’s communication skills and emotional intelligence. So, the next time you hear those dreaded words, take a deep breath, and respond with love, empathy, and understanding.

Be kind ❤

Related Posts