There are few things in the world that hurt a parent more than hearing their child say, “I hate you.” The words cut like a knife. The child you love so much and have sacrificed for in so many ways now hates you.
“I hate you, mom! I wish you were dead!”
“You are the worst mom ever!”
“I can’t wait to get the f— out of this house! I hate it here!”
These words leave parents feeling a combination of hurt, anger, and resentment. Parents will naturally think to themselves:
“Don’t you appreciate all that I have done for you? How dare you speak to me that way!”
It’s so easy to take this as a personal attack because when we give up so much for someone, we almost always expect good things from them in return. Doesn’t my child understand the sacrifices that I have made for them and that I love them?
Here’s the truth: your child probably doesn’t feel like they owe you anything for all the great work you do as a parent. Most kids don’t, in part because they perceive the world very differently than we do.
Let me be clear: it’s very important to understand that these hurtful words your child is using are not about you at all. Taking it personally often leads to a big emotional reaction from you, which reinforces the bad behavior. This tells your child that they’re powerful—and have power over you—which helps the behavior continue in the future. After all, who doesn’t want to feel powerful at least once in a while?
Kids often spout off hurtful words like these when they have a problem they don’t know how to solve, whether they’re angry, stressed, or dealing with feelings about something bad that happened at school that day. Not being able to handle their problems leads your child to feelings of discomfort—and pushing your buttons and getting a strong emotional reaction from you helps to make up for those feelings of discomfort.
Don’t get me wrong, your child isn’t consciously aware of this in most cases. Nevertheless, causing you to be upset helps them to compensate for their inability to handle the problem they’re facing at the time. Some kids also say hurtful things as a means of trying to get what they want. If they can hurt you, you might feel bad or doubt yourself and give in. So in some cases, it’s a way to achieve a more tangible goal.
I think it’s also worth noting that kids often use a lot of faulty thinking to justify their behavior. In other words, they think that if they perceive someone as being mean or if they see something as being unfair, that makes it okay to be hurtful towards the offender.
First, the don’ts. Reacting to what your child says by being angry or upset is normal—after all, you’re only human. While an emotional reaction is a very natural thing, it often leads to ineffective choices. Here is a list of what not to do when your child says mean and hurtful things to you:
Your natural reaction might be to say something like:
“Well, I hate you too!”
“Well, I wish I never had you! What do you think about that?!”
But saying something hurtful in response sends your child the message that you are not in control. It also models ineffective problem solving for your child. In other words, it shows your child that the way to handle verbal attacks is to launch a verbal counterattack.
Leave the cursing and name-calling out, too. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
Screaming, yelling, or even raising your voice will lead to the same ineffective outcome as saying something hurtful. You will show your child that you are not in control emotionally—that you are their emotional peer. And again, you are modeling ineffective ways to solve problems or conflicts with others. Not to mention, you’re essentially giving up your power to the child. Do you really want to do that?
Related content: Tired of Yelling at Your Child? Stop Screaming and Start Parenting Effectively
A lot of parents respond to their children by saying something like, “You can’t talk to me that way!” Well, the truth is, they can. You can’t control what words come out of your child’s mouth—that’s something they have complete control over at all times.
When you say, “You can’t” to your child, it can incite a power struggle as your child might think, “Oh yeah? Try and stop me!” and on and on they go. Try to choose other words instead. (I’ll give you some examples of more effective verbal responses in a moment.)
Oftentimes, parents will lecture or try to reason with their kids to get them to see things their way. Some parents might say, “Well, someday I will be dead, and then what will you do?”
Others might point out all the things they do for their child to convince them they should be more grateful and respectful. That vast difference in perception between you and your child that I mentioned earlier means there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to get them to see eye–to–eye with you. You’re effectively asking them to get up to a level they just aren’t at right now.
As James Lehman says: “Don’t hold your breath… Don’t expect immediate compliance, appreciation, insight, acknowledgment, or credit in response to your parenting efforts.” That will come later. Perhaps much later. And when a kid is that upset, they’re not going to be able to really hear what you’re saying, anyway. It’s wasted energy that’s best spent controlling your own emotions instead.
It’s very easy for parents to go to that place of, “Fine, if you don’t appreciate anything I do for you or anything you have, then we’ll see how you do without it!” Taking away all of your child’s prized possessions, emptying out their room, or taking things away for weeks or months at a time will not be effective.
Over-the-top punishments will not teach your child the skills they need to manage themselves more effectively in the future. It won’t teach them to not say hurtful things to others. Harsh punishments will only teach them to “do time” and will breed resentment towards you. Consequences do not always speak for themselves. You have to step up to the plate and be your child’s coach.
Related content: Watch James Lehman Explain Effective Consequences
Okay, we know what not to do and what to avoid when our kids say hurtful things. But is there anything we can do? Below are some do’s and effective responses when these situations inevitably arise:
Take a deep breath and think about what you will say—and how you’ll say it—before you let the words out of your mouth.
Non–verbal cues such as tone, volume, facial expression, body positioning, and the pace of your words are extremely powerful in communication with others. Non–verbal communication or body language can have a huge impact on how your message is interpreted. Try to avoid crossing your arms, putting your hands on your hips, rolling your eyes, or talking at a fast pace, for example.
Keep your facial expressions as neutral as possible. It’s a good idea to do a mental check and ask yourself, “How am I coming across right now with my body language?” and make the appropriate adjustments.
When your child hurls an insult at you, you can say:
“I’m sorry you feel that way, but you’re still responsible for taking out the garbage.”
“Talking to me that way isn’t going to get you out of doing your homework.”
One of my personal favorites is,
“Maybe you do hate living here, but you still have to be home on time.”
What you’re doing when you respond like this is effectively and gently challenging your child’s poor behavior and helping them see that it isn’t going to solve their problem, and then you’re redirecting them to the task at hand. The goal here is to be assertive, not aggressive.
When your emotions get the best of you, get yourself involved in another activity that will be calming for you. Walking away shows that you are in control and that you have the authority in the situation. If you’d like, you can come back and address the issue with your child at a later time when things have calmed down, which will be much more effective.
After your child has used words as a weapon against you, it’s important to try and follow the suggestions above as best you can. With most kids, staying calm, gently challenging them, and setting clear limits (walking away) is enough to gradually decrease the behavior over time.
We don’t recommend giving consequences for hurtful statements because when there are so many challenging things going on, it can become really overwhelming to consequence every little verbal outburst. Picking your battles will be very important, as will not giving in to your child and not giving them what they want when they speak to you this way.
If you feel you must do more to address this issue in your home, you can certainly add some problem–solving discussions once things cool off to help your child develop the skills to solve their problems more effectively.
Will following these suggestions be easy? No. Will it feel good? Probably not. Will it work? Yes, but it might take some time for both you and your child to make the necessary adjustments.
Also, I know that following these suggestions may make you feel that you are letting your child get away with disrespectful behavior. But these suggestions will help you stay in control, role model positive self–management skills, and set clear limits with your kids. Your actions will show that their behavior is not okay.
So try your best, stay consistent, and remind yourself that even though it doesn’t always feel good, you’re on the right track.
Tired of Your Child’s Backtalk? Here’s How to Stop It
14 Proven Responses to the Most Frustrating Backtalk
The Empowering Parents Podcast: Apple, Spotify, Google, Stitcher
Sara Bean, M.Ed. is a certified school counselor and former Empowering Parents Parent Coach with over 10 years of experience working with children and families. She is also a proud mom.
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Parents who get upset at this have clearly forgotten when they were kids. Most if not all of us have said or at least felt this in our childhood. They don’t hate you. They’re angry. They don’t need to be grateful. You aren’t doing them a favour . Given the plethora of adults who can’t figure out how to manage their anger or separate their emotions or even understand them it seems disingenuous at heat to expect it or our emotional kids.
It used to make me genuinely giggle because it was so classic it was funny to me. So they didn’t say it. In fact my oldest commented that they didn’t say it because it didn’t do any good. If it is doing them good in your household you need to examine your motivations imo
Your kids aren’t here to meet your needs or be grateful or make you happy. You’re here to meet their needs and raise healthy independent adults.
So I have 4 children , my oldest is 16 , I have the hardest time with him. He definitely has shown he wants nothing to do with me or the family. I induces a teenager and he wants to be alone on his phone but we had not been on a vacation together in a long time so I planned this week away at a cottage and I put so much effort into it . For him to spend 4 of those days in his room I finally convinced everyone to watch a movie together on our last night .
He was on a couch and was kind of laying down when his two brothers came and sat on the couch with him. I asked him to “ sit up k so everyone has a spot to sit” he glared…and didn’t move , the other two boys looked at me , I said again “ I asked you to sit up so there is room for everyone , he got up stormed off and said “ there are you happy now there’s room “ and went into his room. I jumped up ran into his room and said “we’re all watching a movie together let’s go!” He said no I’m not I’m going to stay right here. I explained I put a lot of effort into this week I just want one night where we can be together “ and he said go away !
I stayed . Then he persisted to tell me “your just mad cuz you don’t get your perfect family movie night “ I was heart broken cuz he was right I just wanted to spend time with all the kids at once cuz this might be the last time he wants to come to a cottage with me . So I started to walk away and he says yeah go ahead and cry like always .
So I told him when we get home your grounded from your laptop
He text me and said I hate this family and our house that’s why I never want to be around you. I came out of the bathroom to try to take his phone away and he started screaming he hates me !
I said I hate you too. And he was like oh there you go good job say mean things to your kid ! And I said you say mean stuff to me all the time. And he said you deserve it. I walked away left not knowing what to do.
Maybe he just hates how I am or me as a person
Maybe he better off with his dad
I feel like giving up
Reading this reminds of my experience as the eldest kid.
About jealousy over my other siblings, where my parents and relatives adored them compared to me. They would speak proudly of my siblings and not much abt me. This created low self esteem within me, the feelings that most of things that I said dont matter, which I carried until now I have 3 teen kids.
with my 3 teen kids, 2 also rebels, at different times. when it happened, I mostly focused on the easiest kid to care, instead of dealing with the hardest. and the problem just went on and on. Until one day, I realized, I needed to focus on the hardest. I needed to heal the broken heart.
The cottage scene could be, instead of asking the eldest to move (again), ask the other brothers to sit on the floor or grab other seats available. The act would make him feel that you care abt him (even though he refused to do what you ask). little acts like this would slowly mend his heart, and when he feels more secured in your love, he would open up to listen to your words. Dont lose him, he just feels abandoned. Show him that he is your first priority, hopefully your r/ship will show changes.
What if your child says cruel things even when they are not mad or trying to get you to do something? What if you're having a nice time somewhere then they just say things to make you feel like crap about yourself out of no where?
I'm having a difficult time knowing what to say in response, he apologized in the past , but now considering this is like the 5th or 6th time saying the same things he know will hurt me, it is harder to forgive. It feels like being in an abusive relationship, but instead of a spouse bullying me and putting me down about myself, my kid does it. I told him it is going to take more than 'I'm sorry' this time and have been just in my room cleaning and working on stuff (sort of having space to myself, because I don't know how to handle it) so that's how I ended up on google and found this article. Anyway, normally my son is not like this--- is this just teenage hormones? I don't remember ever talking to anyone like this, bullying this way, in my life not even as a teenager! He doesn't even get me birthday, Christmas or mother's day gifts- not even a card, unless I complain and make a big deal about how it hurt my feelings then maybe (not always) he will put in an effort. It just feels like crap to feel like my kid doesn't care at all. I'm a single mom, I work hard and my whole schedule revolves around him. I am home when he is home, but he ignores me and I sit wondering why I don't I just work evening shifts since we aren't really spending time together anyway, but I don't. I tried getting him into counseling but he won't open up and talk to anyone, so we are on his 3rd or 4th one now hoping this time he will talk. =/ I can't even talk about this with any of my friends, because I am embarrassed and don't want them to know what kinds of things he says to me and what's going on.
I have been with a great man for almost 3 years now. I have my own home in another town, come visit him and his 2 teenage sons, 16 and 18 for up to 2 weeks at a time. It works for us. And things were going great. My children are all grown, in their 30's with their own children, hard working little families. I have never interfered with my boyfriends raising of his boys, but will discuss things with boys when he requests, etc. Recently the 16 year old has taken offence to me.. I am not 100% sure why, although I know their relationship with their mother, who they don't see, maybe every couple years, is not good. She is a heavy drinker and does not communicate with the boys very well. So they other day, I asked they young one, "Are you having issues with me?" he said.. "Yes! I don't like you and I don't want you here!"
That blew me away, they he began to raise his voice, his father come in at this point and said he will not tolerate him disrespecting me. But too late, he did and too late, I am hurt, because he does not have a valid reason for that remark. His father is sending him for professional help.
I am wondering .. should I stay away for longer period of times? Do I leave the relationship?
I am confused and hurt. Even though I do know this is not about me, but about his relationship, non existent with their mother.
Bothered and Bewildered! :(
Great article!! I’m not a mum, I’m an auntie. I absolutely dote on my 11 year old nephew. He is like my part time son. One day I was at my sisters house for abit about 10 mins. He’s real mum (my sister) made him finish his homework when he didn’t want to. When I left I got a series of messages saying that “he wishes I was dead” and “hope you choke on your food”. I was So shocked and really hurt. I give him so much support, love and he always calls me if he has issues. Why did he say that to me??? Shouldn’t it be his mum?? She made him do his homework not me.
Please help. How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again. I feel he thinks he can say that to me because of how much love I show him.
How should I manage this. I can’t just let him text such things and think its ok. I am trying to think of the right approach here.
I have not sent any messages back and will see him soon.
Sometimes I feel I should love him less...but how does anyone do that?
I don’t let him walk all over me and will discipline him when needed. This was a strange attack from him when I had nothing to do with the situation.
How do I control this from ever happening again?
Do I pretend nothing happened and be normal?
Thanks for any suggestions.
Also I don’t want to tell his mum and get him into more trouble.
My beloved 10 year old daughter is a complete tornado at home recently. Pubity has hit (although not the cycles) and she has become a raging bull.
i have 2 other children (6&3) and have felt in the past i have not given my eldest daughter the dedicated 1on1 time she desires. working, keeping a nice home and having 3 children is a huge task in itself. This aside, i made a conscious choice to 'leave the house until later' and gave my daughter what i believed she needed. mummy / daughter time alone.
However, she has developed a sincere hate/ dislike for me, screaming and shouting the house down each night (over nothing let me add), banging, horrible and hurtful words... the list goes on and on.
i am at my wits end. really do not know which way to turn for help. My family have tried to intervene and get to the root of whatever the issue she has is, but she will not let us in.
i have always been close to my daughter and we talk about everything, but now seems really hard to even have a civilised conversation about school like normal. I fear that if this isn't stamped out now, that this anger and fury she has within, will just get worse and worse, and she will end up doing something terrible. Do you have any suggestions?
I am a mom to a now 10 year old with similar behavior problems. She comes back worse after being with her dad. We don't have a set schedule so it's on and off sometimes off for months at a time. So when she's finally with him everything is great because he's Disney land dad no homework,no responsibilities. It doesn't help he and his GF hate me. She was his family friend who became my friend and was sleeping around with him behind my back for months before I found out 6 years ago. So they hate me for reasons beyond my Understanding If I receive 20$ a month from him it's a lot and I don't ask or contact him. So I can relate and I am sorry.
I really think you should seek counseling for your child. Of course things aren't perfect still but my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD her behavior is very similar to your case. She's on medication and therapy once a week. While the medication is for concentration it helps her mood wise slightly so she is able to process what comes out her mouth before she says it. Although the fact that she goes over to her fathers and she has her father and girlfriend openly speaking bad about me and my boyfriend who has played daddy since she was 5 does not help. Having someone to express those feelings of confusion weekly is affective for the most part. I really feel as if your child has issues she herself doesn't know how to deal with on her own and I highly recommend outside help as it is not a complete solution I can vouch for the difference I see
often get questions about how to handle situations where you overhear your
child behaving disrespectfully or calling names, so you are not alone.As James Lehman points out in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sassy-kids-how-to-deal-with-a-mouthy-child/, part of addressing this will be
making the judgment call of what you are willing to let go, and what you need
to address.For example, you might
decide to enforce the rule around no name-calling, and let milder forms of
disrespect slide in those situations.Please let us know if you have additional questions; take care.
My problem is with a daughter who is 10. We are on a shared custody agreement with my ex-husband. She has said several times that she doesn't like living with me and she hates me and other hurtful words. There is parental alienation involved and has been proven. How do I handle her and de brief every time she comes back?
I’m sorry to hear about the difficulty you experience when your daughter
returns to your home.Transitioning
between houses can be challenging for many kids, and can lead to many power
struggles and arguments.It can be
helpful to plan out some time for your daughter to adjust when she returns to
your home before you communicate with her.For example, she might take an hour to unpack, take a shower, and hang
out in her bedroom before you reconnect with each other.Debbie Pincus offers more tips on this in her
article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-after-divorce-9-ways-to-parent-on-your-own-terms/.Please be sure to write back and let us know
how things are going for you and your daughter.Take care.
I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter.
Losing a child to suicide is an experience which no parent should have to go
through, and I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you must be in. I
hope that you have some support for yourself during this time. If you
want more information on available supports in your community, I encourage you
to contact the http://www.211.org/ at
1-800-273-6222. 211 is a service which connects people with resources in
their local area, such as counselors, support groups, and so on. I wish
you all the best as you continue to move forward. Take care.
I’m so sorry to
hear about what you are currently experiencing with your son. While I
understand not wanting to lose your son, you also deserve to be safe from
threats and abuse. Even if his dad and grandmother are influencing your
son, he is the one who is ultimately responsible for his behavior. You
indicated that your son is currently in counseling, and I hope that you also
have support for yourself. As Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner point out
in their article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/, working
with someone locally to help you through this time can be useful. If you
are not currently working with anyone, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222. 211 is a
service which connects people to resources available in their community.
I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best
moving forward. Take care.
Hello all! If you think I'm a liar so be it but I'm a 14 year old from New Zealand to give a teenage perspective.
PLEASE KEEP IN MIND I AM ONLY ONE CHILD FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY, EVERY CHILD AND EVERY COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT SO DON'T SOLEY RELY ON ME
In my view, at our teenage years we distance ourselves from our parents. Not cause we don't love you, it's just that parents don't seem to understand us. I'm sure all of you know about Puberty changing teenagers mental priorities.
They'll start to change, they will start to value their friend's, or people they like, opinion as if their life depends on it. So with this and maybe more mental priority changes we're not the same 7 year old you could tickle and get sloppy kisses from. Your teenager is now more accustomed to, in their view currently, the hardest time of their lives. You have to understand that you have to give support, you have to become their friend.
Being their parent or caretaker isn't good enough at this age, you need to befriend your child. You can tell if you've done this correctly if you and your child makes casual jokes about intimate subjects. Which may sound bad, but it means that they trust you enough to tell you these jokes. You can tell if they're distancing themselves if they watch their phones a lot play on computer games a lot, don't talk much etc.
I honestly wouldn't know how to make friends with a teenager at the point but some things I can think of that may help reconnect them with you is
1) Get to know their hobbies and what they do online
Firstly if they're playing a video game for example maybe try to learn a little about the game, learn the culture that comes with it. But don't be too pushy and disrupt your teenagers gameplay, you have to find the right moments to make comments or joke about something in the game.
2) If you're telling them off keep it short and sharp
I know when you're telling them off they might really REALLY get on your nerves, you just want to explode on them really but you just have to stay calm. Keep it short and sharp, try to empathize "Why did my teenager do that?" "Did my teenager do it for social standing?" But I really couldn't stress the importance of keeping it SHORT AND SHARP. Just think back to when your parents were telling you off. You'd just get ignore everything and get more angry the more they waffled on right? So keep it short and sharp. And don't insult them right? It honestly just. makes it worse, like their trying to keep a clam head and then you tell them how stupid and how much of an idiot they are it doesn't work at all.
3) Use your past experience as a teenager
When you were a teenager I'm sure you disliked your parents at least one stage. Think of your overall teenage experience, think of what your own parents did right or wrong and correct the mistakes BUT BE WARNED, a lot has changed in 20 years. Internet was made and teenage culture always evolves. So take your experience as a guide line but be ready to adapt. If you, however come from a 3rd world country and your child is growing up in a 1st world Western society your differences in young adulthood may be so different your experiences might not be relevant
4) Don't be a dictator, let them of some freedom
Now this tip is kind of like a double edged sword. You let your teenager grow themselves learning from their own mistakes while receiving some wisdom from you. They will find their own unique way of dealing with situations and answer the question "Who am I?" BUT this requires maturity from your teenager. If you're career is a teacher it maybe even harder to adapt to this. I've been in classrooms for long enough to know that to be successful as a teacher you need to be able to empathize with students as well as show clearly you are the leader, you are the boss. BUT being a parent is completely opposite of being the boss. Respect is voluntarily given not forcefully. You want to be there when your teenager is under hard times so they can tell you really intimate or embarrassing secrets. So that you can help them.
Goals are a good thing to have, that's a no brainer. But sometimes you need to set some for your child. Now not like "When you grow up you HAVE to be this or that" just small goals then work your way up and help them along the way like this "How about everyday we run 1.5km a day, you and me. It's not that much, we can do it!" You see how different the two are? One is being forceful and uses really harsh language then the other one is soft toned, and you help them to achieve it and pushes your child slightly with the "It's not much we can do it!" But when setting goals make sure that you aren't actually tapping into some social insecurity they have. And there's a difference from pushing them and friendly reminders to down right annoying and frequent every teenagers has different thresholds before they get annoyed learn to read their social body language etc.
6) Remember to take jokes as jokes
Currently in my country jokes in teenage culture are rarely about the news and real life events. It's about JOKINGLY insulting their friends, so just remember to take things not to seriously be ready to adapt. And MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE you aren't jokingly insulting one of their best friends or their own insecurities or else all hell breaks loose
7) Be adaptable,
If I haven't made it clear enough YOU MUST BE ADAPTABLE every teenager is different and changes over the course of Puberty you need to be ready to move with the river
So yea that's it hope you found some of these useful, once again you should be only taking these tips as GUIDELINES, this is because all teenagers are different, all country cultures are different. I've grown up in a different household to your teenager, so while I maybe 14 years old I can NEVER speak for them
Thank you for
reaching out for support. I can hear how concerned you are about your
daughter, and how much you want to help her. Something that can be
helpful is to pick one behavior or issue to focus on at a time, so you don’t
become overwhelmed when trying to address everything at once. You might
find our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/.
Please let us know if you have additional questions. Take care.
My 5 year old tells me he hates me and I'm the worst mummy in the world (normally at bedtime)
His father then almost shoes praise by allowing him to go back downstairs
And this evening he said it and his father took him downstairs to watch the football!
It hurts so badly and then to be undermined by my husband too makes me feel totally useless ;(
It can be
challenging when your child’s behavior starts changing in a more negative way,
and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support. It’s not uncommon for
kids your son’s age to start testing limits and pushing boundaries with regard
to respectful communication and how they treat others around them. In
addition, if becoming more aggressive with his words is providing some benefit
to him (such as increased attention, even if it is negative attention), then
that can strengthen this response and make it more likely to happen in the
future. James Lehman offers tips on how to address this pattern of
behavior in his article series, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/kids-who-are-verbally-abusive-part-1-the-creation-of-a-defiant-child/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-kids-get-ugly-how-to-stop-threats-and-verbal-abuse-part-2/. Thank
you for being a loyal reader of our site, and please be sure to let us know if
you have any additional questions. Take care.
Please help. Over the last two weeks my 7 year old daughter has started saying these phrases at every given opportunity, "I was going to say I wish grandad was dead but I don't, I was going to say you're fat but you're not, I was going to say I hate you but I don't, I was going to say dinners disgusting but it's not". This is all day, every day and I'm at my wits end. The last straw was last night when we were having dinner and she looked at me and said "I was going to say you're a pig but you're not". I've tried ignoring it, telling her that it's a shame she feels like like, but a couple of times ive exploded and sent her to her room or shouted at her. I feel like I'm being verbally tortured ?
My daughter has been stressed over the last month because I've been in hospital and since then I've been poorly. I think there is a connection with the negative comments. I'm a single parent and my daughter doesn't get much support from her father, even lately when I've been really unwell, so I'm sure this has an affect.
I feel like she hates me and is doing everything she can to hurt me but I also realise that she's trying desperately to get my attention. It's very sad for her and I don't know how to deal with it so I can help her.
It can be very
hurtful to hear these kinds of phrases from your child. As pointed out in
the article above, it is likely that your daughter is using these statements as
a way to figure out some kind of problem she doesn’t yet have the skills to
solve effectively. Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner outline some
suggestions to address this type of behavior, such as giving your daughter more
appropriate problem-solving skills and providing positive reinforcement when
she is behaving respectfully. You can find more tips in their article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-respond-to-disrespectful-children-and-teens/. Please be sure to
check back and let us know how things are going. Take care.
Thank you for the suggestions on how to deal with backtalk and attitude.
I'm confused on how to deal with it when he doesn't say anything, when he makes noises, mocks us, or makes faces.
What is the best way to react to my 8 year old step-son when he mocks me? He started mocking a couple months ago. He does it to me, my spouse, and his peers. It could be something I said, a sneeze, a laugh. He does it with a tone that suggests "you're stupid."
He also makes faces at me: weird contortions with his face. If he doesn't get his way, these faces can be aggressive.
Lately I have been leaving the room-- cutting the interaction short. Either by going without saying another word, or saying "bye" if I'm dropping him off somewhere.
Could I make a joke out of it? "If you keep making that face, it will freeze that way." or "You won't make any friends with a face like that." Those sound like cliches parents say.
His teacher said he his behavior is bordering on bullying at school. She wrote this to us yesterday: "Various children frequently report his words that hurt their feelings or are disrespectful. He daily has issues with his ability to keep his body to himself; grabbing, pushing, purposely blocking people, kicking, chest bumps, or jockeying for positions in line. He watches and sees what will annoy someone and then purposely bothers/pesters them--waiting for a reaction."
I quit smoking at the end of February, and I'm thinking the discomfort/agony/pain from quitting has caused me to have a lower threshold for things. And I think that may have impacted him. But he still had been bringing daily reports home from his teacher, so other than his "mean" behaviors, this has been going on since before I quit smoking.
We saw a counselor twice, but it wasn't the right fit, so we're looking for another one.
Any guidance you could offer would be gladly accepted.
You ask a great question. In many cases, the best response
may be no response at all. When a parent gives attention to behaviors like
rolling eyes, making faces or mocking, it gives those behaviors power. So,
whenever possible, try to ignore it when your son does those things. When
ignoring it isn’t possible, setting the limit and walking away is another
option. For example, you can say to your son something like “That behavior
isn’t going to make me change my mind” and then stop interacting with him. You
may find the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/ helpful for your situation as
well. I hope this helps to answer your question. Take care.
Please help!!!! My son thinks I abandoned him yrs ago...which he was told. Never judge a book by it's cover.
We began to have a very close relationship when I fought for custody, but when his Dad chose a women over him, and moved to Florida....I am paying the price after time goes on.
The promises his Dad has made, have fallen thru, and he is beginning to see for himself.
However, I am not rich, I am trying my best...and I do mean best to show him what am amazing young man he is, and give him the unconditional love, inspiration, self-building skills, and teach him responsibilities, and to never let ANYONE tell him he CAN'T OR IS NOT WORTHY of doing something.
But now...he says...He hates me, doesn't want to live with me...and consistently defies me!!!!
I have Stage IV cancer...I gave up my treatments to get a job to provide for him, that's how much I want him to be happy!!!!!
However...we both have anger problems...and I am the parent...I need some advice....PLEASE HELP!!!!!!
It can be heartbreaking when a child that you love and
sacrifice for says such hurtful things. It’s understandable you would be upset.
It can be helpful to recognize that it’s not unusual for kids to say
disrespectful, hurtful things when they are faced with situations that cause
them anger or frustration. Many kids and teens lack effective coping skills and
will often lash out in attempt to manage the negative emotions they are
experiencing. Not personalizing the behavior is an important first step in managing
it. This will help to take some of the emotion out which will help you respond
in a way that doesn’t further escalate the situation. Carole Banks gives some
great tips for this in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/. You do have a lot on your
plate right now, raising your son and battling cancer. I encourage you to start
taking steps to take care of yourself. It can challenging to be an effective
parent when your in top health. It can be near impossible when your sick. I
hope you find this information useful for your situation. Be sure to check back
and let us know how things are going. Take care.
I'm Jonathan, a kid from the city. I usually cuss when I get mad and my mom hates her children cussing. I'm 14 and NO one has tried to help me with anything so most of the time I feel like a lost cause. She always compares me to my sister (16 and a lot better at everything.) I am never in a good mood at my house. Unless im with my dad, which he and I have a great relationship. Recently I thought my mom was out of the house and I just found out that I was banned from a game that cost a lot of money and I loved playing with my friends over Skype for fun. I was really mad because I just started getting good at it and now ill have to rebuy the game (because this is how the game is setup. you can't just make another account. Stupid right?) I don't want to buy the game again. Then at this time my mom starts spamming my phone with texts saying "what are you doing?" over and over and over again. And it's on my glass desk on vibrate which honestly gets really annoying. And she keeps on texting me so I get mad because im stressed that i have to buy the game again and now i have to deal with my mom. So I stupidly start spewing out words like "shut the f*** up you b****" Again. I take responsibility for what i said and i know it was wrong saying those words, but I said them and my mom was supposed to be at work this morning but instead she got called off and was laying in bed texting me, rather than getting up and just asking me. so she hears me talk all this trash and she comes in almost crying saying "wow. all those words were directed towards me? thats very hurtful son. very hurtful." and Yeah i get it. It wasn't my place to say that but again, I was pissed. I already apologized but she didn't accept it. What do I do? She hates me. Also everything from number 5 she does when shes mad, and controls what i do with guilt trips and uses her parental power that she has over me to clean up her mess and what shes too lazy to do. My dad and my mom are divorcing but i cant stay with my dad because he hardly makes enough to help pay rent, and he works from 3-2:30 monday-friday, making it impossible for me to live with him and go to school. Just to give you a little background on what is happening in my life so you can at least give me ideas on what to do.
Don’t punish or give big consequences. It’s very easy for parents to go to that place of, “Fine, if you don’t appreciate anything I do for you or anything you have, then we’ll see how you do without it!” Taking away all of your child’s prized possessions, emptying out his room, or taking things away for weeks or months at a time will not be effective. Why? Because these punishments will not teach your child the skills he needs to manage himself more effectively in the future to not say hurtful things to others. They will only teach him to “do time” and will breed resentment towards you. Consequences do not always speak for themselves. You have to step up to the plate and be your child’s coach."
I am so sorry you are facing these struggles with your
family. It can be upsetting when you don’t see eye to eye with your parent.
Since we are a website aimed at helping parents of acting out children, we are
limited in the coaching or advice we are able to offer. There is a website that
may be able to give you the advice and support you are looking for. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ is a website
aimed at helping teens and young adults deal with challenges they may be
facing. They offer help in various ways – through online support, e-mail, text,
and a call in service. I encourage you to check out the site to see what they
have to offer. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.
I hear you. It can be tough when it seems as though the
other adults in your child’s life aren’t offering you much support. As much as
that support might help, not having the support doesn’t have to affect how you
respond to your daughter. Truthfully, each of us is only really in control of
our own behavior and responses. By focusing on where you have the most control,
namely your own responses, you can still hold your daughter accountable for her
behavior and guide her towards better behavior in the future. We have several
articles that focus on how to parent effectively even when grandparents and
other family members may not be on the same page. Two in particular you may
find helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/grandparents-relatives-undermining-parents/. Best of luck moving forward.
I am so sorry you are having to deal with such abusive
behavior from your son. I can only imagine how upsetting this must be. No one
should live in fear of someone they love the way you do. It may be helpful to
talk with someone from your local crisis response. They would be able to help
you develop a safety plan you could implement when your son becomes violent and
abusive. The 211 Helpline would be able to give you information on crisis
resources in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling
1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org/.
You may also find it helpful to check out the http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ for
more information on mental health issues. It would still be of benefit to
contact your local police department when an unsafe situation arises. This
could help to establish a paper trail should it be necessary to involve the
courts at any time. Hopefully you and your son will be able to get the
help you need. Best of luck moving forward. Take care.
What a challenging situation. It can be tough not to
personalize the things our children do. I can hear how much you want to change
the way you are responding to your daughter’s behavior. It’s great that you’re
reaching out for help. I encourage you to look into what types of local
supports are available to help you and your family through these difficult
times. Many communities offer parent support groups, counseling, respite care,
and other resources to help parents develop more effective parenting techniques.
The 211 Helpline can give you information on these and other resources, such as
crisis response and parenting classes. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a
day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find them online at http://www.211.org/. It sounds like you recognize using
physical forms of punishment isn’t effective. The next time you start to feel
overwhelmed and about to strike out at your child, try to disconnect and walk
away. Go into another room or go outside and take a walk until you are able to calm yourself
down. For more suggestions on how to stay calm when your child is pushing your
buttons, you can check out this article by Debbie Pincus - https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-stop-letting-your-childs-behavior-make-you-crazy/. I hope you
will continue to check in and let us know how things are going. Take care.
This sounds like a challenging situation. It may help to
know that it’s not uncommon for young children to hit, bite, and kick when they
get upset or frustrated. At 4, he’s not going to have much tolerance for
frustration and will have limited skills for dealing with it effectively. You
may find the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/ helpful for your situation. Good
luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.
AnnGet Hi, AnnGet. I'm not the person who's reply you're really looking for, but I wanted to help out.
I'm an 18 year old girl in college, but a year ago when I was still living at home at 17 in high school, I had similar feelings about my mom. I felt like she was overpowering and wasn't letting me grow up and become the adult I was, and that I could do without her.
When I left for college, I realized just how big of an impact she had on my life. Not just when she grounded me, or we screamed at each other, but also when she was always right there to quietly support me. After moving out, our relationship has gotten a lot better.
Of course, when I came back for a long Christmas break, I was reminded why I was enjoying college so much.
We may not really be true adults yet, but we're at the point where we want to be treated like one, and that can be hard when still living at home under a parent's roof. My advice would be to just BE THERE for your son. He comes home late or high, just tell him that you love him and you want him to make good decisions, maybe a punishment if it's bad, but give him some of the respect he thinks he deserves as an "adult". In a year he'll be making a lot of more serious decisions on his own, and that will be scary, no matter how independent he thinks he is now. He does not hate you, he just hasn't had the time away from your support to really appreciate everything you've done for him. Stay by his side, even if he tries to push you away, and remember that he is growing up, which is confusing for everyone involved. College might be just the thing he needs to figure out his life. Don't hesitate to ask me any more questions, I'm happy to help :)
I enjoyed reading your response and have hope for my 18 year old daughter. She is enrolled to start college in August but a week after HS graduation and party she moved in with boyfriend and mom and siblings. I am so heartbroken because she has not made contact with me (3 wks since shes been gone), she has made contact with dad and brother but not me. I gave her EVERYTHING (I'm the only one working) she knows that but before she left she told me I don't like living here anymore. The bf mom came to pick her up and supports everything she is doing along with no rules at home everyone just has to work. My daughter is now working with her (first time she has ever worked). I miss her so bad but I did not throw her out of the house so I am NOT contacting her. My husband said he told her to call me and she responded "I don't want her to scream at me", she knows what she is doing is wrong! She has broken my heart, my life is not the same, I have a son but I am so depressed that my husband and son have been taking all of my attitudes, mood swings etc.... I am not motivated and want to know why she did this and what is she doing replacing me with people she has only known for less than 2 years?????
LizAlex Magg AnnGet
I'm not going to lie to you Liz, if I had received a similar offer that June after high school had ended, I might have taken it. My relationship with my mother had gotten to a bad place, and I really wanted nothing to do with her. I think it's a common thing to happen, because that is a point where the mother-daughter relationship changes into something completely different. She'll be going off to college on her own, and while you won't be able to make and enforce rules over her as you might do at home, she will also be deprived of your close contact and support that she might have had and not appreciated beforehand. For me, the change came with an appreciation of her after I'd been away for a while, and we can hang out and be together now after that hard summer.
However, I don't think I could live with her like I did as a kid. As I've grown up, we've grown together in some ways (I've become more of an adult with opinions and points of view we can share and discuss), and apart in others (my life is my own now, and she has to respect that while I might not always make the best decisions, they are my decisions to make).
A red flag for me in your reply is that she doesn't want you to scream at her. My question: will you? Because that isn't how adults speak to each other, and that needs to be a factor in your relationship now. She is, in the eyes of the government, an adult now, although you might not think of her as such yet. I'm heartened that she is working, and not lazing around and partying when she is away. That tells me that she at least knows how to be responsible, which will help in the future.
I think you need to try and seek her out in order to have an honest, calm conversation with her. Tell her that you miss her, and that you'd like to spend your last summer together. When she goes off to college, she'll be gone again. She'll have to learn how to support herself, and you'll have to learn how to live without her for longer periods of time. Taking out your feelings on your husband and son won't help, and could possibly drive them further away, although I know that's never your intention.
A few last points:
You said you gave her everything: every mother does that. Are you expecting her to pay you back? I once knew a mom who wanted her daughter to live with her forever and always do what the mom wanted, because "I gave her everything, now it's her turn". The daughter had her own life, and the mom couldn't understand that. Using that as leverage to bring your daughter home is an argument that won't endear you to her, and might be why she's cautious to call or contact you. Approach her as an equal, as an adult, and tell her your side, while also trying to understand hers. Compromise and understanding are the most important parts on any relationship.
Lastly: She can never replace you. You are her mother, and while you won't always be there to guide her and support her, and while she might be striking out on her own to start her own life, that will always be true. Don't forget that.
Hope this helps :)
I’m sorry to hear you are having such a struggle with your
son. It can feel awful when http://www.empoweringparents.com/Why-Does-Your-Child-or-Teen-Say-I-Hate-You.php and it can be difficult not to take it
personally. It is not uncommon for kids who struggle with appropriate
problem solving skills, to use anger and tantrums as a way to solve their
problems, especially if it has worked for them in the past. It will be
important to set clear limits around what type of behavior is acceptable in
your home, like no verbal abuse (cursing, name calling), and no physical abuse
or property destruction, and let him know there will be a http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Give-Kids-Consequences-That-Work.php
if he does those things. You can also be proactive by helping him with some
ideas of things he can do when he gets angry or annoyed, instead of being
verbally abusive or destructive. Kim Abraham and Marnie Studaker-Cordner,
authors of our https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-oppositional-defiant-disorder-lifeline/ program, talk more about how to address serious behaviors like you
describe, in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/no-such-thing-as-a-bad-apple-fix-the-behavior-not-the-kid.php. It is
good to hear that you are reaching out to local supports as well, even though
your son may not be interested in participating at this time. It is something
you can continue to offer to him, should he decide he needs someone to talk to.
Best of luck to you and your family as you continue to work on these behaviors
with your son.
It can be so hurtful when a child we love makes such cruel
statements. Truthfully, it isn’t something he means. Most likely he’s angry or
frustrated and doesn’t have the coping skills to deal with that effectively.
So, instead, he lashes out at the person closest to him: you. As much as
possible, try not to personalize his behavior. Carole Banks gives some tips for
how a parent can separate from such verbal abuse in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php. With that said, if you are
feeling distressed or are considering suicide, there is a great resource
available to help you deal with the pain you are feeling. The National Suicide
Lifeline is a 24 hour service that is staffed with people specially trained to
help those in distress. You can find them online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/
or talk to them directly by calling 1-800-273-8255. Another service you may
find helpful is the National Hopeline Network. There is a virtual, online
crisis center that can be accessed at https://www.imalive.org/.
They also have a call in crisis line at 1-800-442-4673. I encourage you to
reach out whenever you are feeling hopeless. I know being a parent is tough
sometimes. Hang in there.
My condolences for your husband’s passing. I can only
imagine how difficult his death has been for you and your children. Loss of a
parent/loved one is never easy and it can have a long lasting impact on the
surviving relatives. It can be helpful to remember that grief is a process that
each individual needs to go through at his/her own pace. Working with a grief
counselor or seeking the support of others who have gone through similar loss
may offer you the help you are seeking. Having someone you can talk to about
the struggles you are facing may help you and your children . The http://www.211.org/ would be able to give you
information on grief counselors and survivor support groups in your area. You
can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-276-6222. I would like
to point out that the behavior you describe is normal for pre-teens and
adolescents. You can take steps as described in the article above to address
those behaviors. Another article you may find helpful is Disrespectful Child Behavior?
Don't Take It Personallyhttp://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php.
Hang in there. As tough as things may be right now, it’s not always going to be
like this. Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.
Idk what I was expecting when I wrote that...I was so upset and lost and just needed to write about my feelings. I was I guess expecting some other parent to give me advice on what to do but I could not have been more touched to have had your response. Your probably my daughter's age or around that and I'm touched that you can feel how badly it hurts us mom's. Hug your mom and tell her you love her and do your best to be all you can be and be happy because that is all your mom wants for you! I so happy that you saw yourself through my words.
And btw...my daughter and I spent hours talking and laughing and healing. We r gonna go to therapy next week. Thanks for your response...much appreciated!
It can be incredibly difficult to know how to respond
effectively when your child is saying such mean, hurtful statements to
you. Many parents struggle with this, so you are not alone.
Something to keep in mind is that while these kinds of statements can
definitely hurt and feel like personal attacks, we encourage parents to do
their best http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php. This is because it is likely
that your daughter behaving this way is less about how she actually feels about
you, and more about her http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php. For example, if she realizes she
can push your buttons and get an emotional response from you when she curses or
calls you names, that can have the effect of making her feel very powerful and
reinforcing these actions. Therefore, we recommend focusing more on
helping her to build these skills during a calm time, and providing praise and
positive reinforcement when she is behaving appropriately. It’s also
going to be important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself during
this time. Self-care is an essential, yet often overlooked, part of being
an effective parent. When this aspect is ignored, it can have an impact
on how well you are able to set and enforce your boundaries. I realize
how challenging this situation is for you and your family, and I wish you all
the best moving forward. Please write back and let us know how things are
going. Take care.
It is understandable you are concerned about the choices your daughter
is making online. The internet is a necessary and useful tool, but can also be
a dangerous place for children to engage. It makes sense that you would want to
limit your daughter’s activity online if you have found that she has been
engaging in risky behavior. However, it is not going to be possible or
advisable to completely keep her away from the internet, so coming up with a
plan to have rules in place and how she will follow them will be most
effective. Sara Bean talks about effective ways to navigate internet usage in
her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/keeping-kids-safe-from-predators-online-and-offline.php. She discusses ways to set
clear limits and monitor your daughters time effectively, while teaching your
daughter to make safe choices. Approaching it this way will also alleviate the
anger your daughter is having towards you for taking it away completely. I hope
this helps to answer your question. Let us know if we can be of any further
help. Take care
I am sorry you are facing such difficulties. Many parents of
young children feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Parenting is hard and many
parents feel like giving up from time to time. I am concerned about you. I
would encourage you to reach out to someone in your area to speak with about
the thoughts you are having around hurting yourself. You may find it helpful to
speak to someone from the http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ at 1-800-273-8255. Another resource that offers
support during difficult times is the National Hopeline Network. They
offer a virtual crisis center at http://www.imalive.org/
as well as call in support at 1-800-442-4673. No one should have to suffer
through challenges alone. There are people out there who are willing to listen
and help you through any challenges you may be facing. Please reach out to them
for support. I hope this information is useful for you. Be sure to check back
and let us know how things are going. Take care.
I also have an adult son, 26 now, who verbally (well, thru emails and texts) abused us 2 years ago when we told him he couldn't move home after he lost a job because he was stealing tips. He has stole from us in the past. He hasn't spoken to us yet. And out of his 5 siblings, he still only has minimal contact with one if them.
I don't know if, like the lost sheep, we should go look for him (he's in FL and we're in NY) or if we should totally leave him alone. It's so heartbreaking. I wish we knew how to help him.
Many parents are perplexed when their child takes the victim
stance, so, you’re not alone. The natural response when you see your child
suffering is to want to step in and take care of him. This is true when the
pain is physical or emotional. In the situation such as you describe, your son
may actually feel as if you think poorly of him. Or, he may be trying to
manipulate the situation in his favor. It may be helpful to sit down with your
son and ask him about the note. Try to avoid “why” questions, and instead, ask
“what” questions, like “what were you thinking when you wrote this note?” or “what
were you thinking would happen when I read this note?” This can help you get to
the http://www.empoweringparents.com/Im-a-Victim-So-the-Rules-Dont-Apply-to-Me-How-to-Stop-Victim-Thinking-in-Kids.php he may have been having when he wrote it. You could also problem
solve with your son ways he might be able to handle similar situations
differently in the future. For more information on problem solving, you can
check out these articles: The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior & The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.
I hope this answers your question. Be sure to check back if you have any
further concerns. Take care.
I have a 10-yesr old step son who is very selfish and dependent on others. He refuses to do homework, chores, etc. However he is a very smart kid and we know he can do it! Because he does not get his way he fights, argues, says mean and hurtfulMore things mostly to me but to his dad to. For some reason negative attention is still attention and he has to be the center of it all the time. I love the kid to pieces but he is making it very hard to be excited for him in anything and I am so tired of being hurt. How can I change my attitude and not feel like giving up?
It can be
incredibly frustrating when you have a child who is choosing to fight and say
hurtful things rather than doing chores, homework or other tasks. It can
be even more irritating when you know that he is capable of meeting these
responsibilities, and he is simply choosing not to. It can beMore helpful to
keep in mind that people generally engage in behavior because it works on some
level. From what you have described, it sounds like your stepson is
benefiting from arguing by getting out of his chores, receiving lots of
attention, as well as knowing that he has the power to push your buttons with
his words. Something you can do to influence your stepson’s behavior is
to change your responses so that the behavior no longer works for him.
What this might look like is to set a limit with him (for example, “It’s time
to do homework now.”), and then walk away if he starts to argue or say mean
things. You can find more tips in our article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Manipulative-Chil.... I also encourage
you to make sure that you are finding ways of taking care of yourself.
Self-care is an often overlooked part of being an effective parent, and can
help you to see a child’s behavior in a more objective, http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personaliz..., light. Your self-care plan can be anything you wish,
from calling a supportive friend or family member when you are feeling stressed
or hurt, engaging in an activity you enjoy, to using more formal supports such
as a support group or counselor. For assistance locating supports in your
community, try calling the http://www.211.org/ at
1-800-273-6222. I understand how difficult this situation is. I
hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going. Take
It’s a pretty normal response for a parent to want to protect
their child from having to experience difficult or upsetting situations.
Unfortunately, protecting your child does little to help her develop the skills
to deal with these situations appropriately. At this point, you’re not going to be able to control theMore choices her father makes. It’s going to be
important not to lay blame for the situation, even though Parenting After Divorce: 9 Ways to Parent on Your Own Terms may be trying to do just that. It can also be helpful to recognize that it’s not unusual for kids to say things like “I
hate you” or claim to want to live with the other parent when they get upset or
frustrated. While it can be hurtful to hear these things, removing the emotions
will help you address the behavior more effectively. You may find this article
by Sara Bean helpful when thinking about how you can best address that behavior:
“I Hate You, Mom! I Wish You Were Dead!” — When Kids Say Hurtful Things. You can help your daughter deal with the absence of her
father if he does move to another country by talking with her about what she is
experiencing. It also may be of benefit to enlist the aid of a child counselor
or therapist, especially one who works with children of divorce. If you think
this could be beneficial, you could contact the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222 for information on these and
other support services in your area. I appreciate you writing in and sharing
your story with the Empowering Parents community. Good luck to you and your
family moving forward. Take care.