How To Parent: What To Do When Kids Say They Hate Their Parents

Does Your Child Say This? “I Hate You!”

Does Your Child Say This? I Hate You!Does Your Child Say This? “I hate you.”

Of all the weapons in your child’s arsenal, the words “I hate you” can have the power to reduce any parent to tears or anger. Children know that saying this can paralyze a parent during a fight, which is why they use this tactic to get what they want. In this month’s issue, James Lehman, creator of The Total Transformation Program for parents, demonstrates how to focus the argument back on the issue at hand, and reduce the emotional sting of your child’s words in the process.

“I hate you!”

Translation: You won’t let me go out tonight, so I’m going to talk hatefully to you so you’ll get upset and give in.

Ineffective parenting response: “I hate you sometimes, too!”

Effective parenting response:
“Maybe sometimes you do hate me. But I’m still not letting you go out tonight.”

Does Your Child Say This? “I Hate You!” reprinted with permission from Empowering Parents. For more information, visit

James Lehman, MSW was a renowned child behavioral therapist who worked with struggling teens and children for three decades. He created the Total Transformation Program to help people parent more effectively. James’ foremost goal was to help kids and to “empower parents.”

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