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My Daughter Says ” I Hate You”, How to Respond?

30 October, 2021
Q My 5-year-old daughter tells me "I hate you "or "you are a bad person". I have already expressed to her that her words hurt my feelings and that they make me feel sad. She gets that but continues to say it if she doesn't get what she wants. How would I respond positively in this case? Thank you!

Answer

In this counseling answer:

•Your daughter is not using those words to hurt you sister, she loves you.  She is, however, using those words to get her own way or to “guilt” you into getting her own way.  As long as she thinks they affect you she will use them.

•You may wish to remind her (at a time this is not going on) that she is a big girl now and that she needs to talk nicely as she is now 5 years old.  Children often find pride in becoming “a big boy or girl” and gentle reminders of these milestones may help.

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•Don’t feed into her words, don’t give them power and soon insha’Allah as these words lose their desired affect, you may see  a more  sweeter, kinder child emerge.


As salamu alaykum dear sister,

Shokran for writing to us with your concerns.  A lot of parents become alarmed when their children learn and use the “hate” word.  It’s like hearing a swear word come out of your child’s mouth for the first time. 

Only in the case of “I hate you” it hurts even more as it appears to be directed at us -to hurt us. It is a powerful and reactionary word and kids get that.

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In fact, as in the case of your daughter as you can see, they learn of and then know the power of such words and then use them to their advantage. 

As your response was a well thought out heartfelt response, one would expect a 5-year-old to understand that these words are hurtful.

But children develop at different rates and possibly your daughter is still going through an obnoxious phase as described by The Center for Parenting which states that at 4.5 years of age children are “more persistent and demanding, less easy to distract. Behaviors may seem purposely obnoxious.”

My Daughter Says " I Hate You",  How to Respond? - About Islam

This sounds consistent with what you are describing as your daughter knows these words hurt/upset you and she becomes purposely obnoxious with these words, therefore they hold power for her. 

She has been enlightened to the fact that she may get a response or get her way if she uses these words. Insha’allah sister, when she uses these words, tell her “when you talk nicely, I’ll answer your question” and after that, don’t respond.


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If she gets her own way by using these words, she will keep using them.  If she doesn’t get her way she will eventually stop. 

But it will take some patience, persistence, and retraining on your part.  It may be a trying time filled with temper tantrums or whining however when those words lose power over you and your actions/responses, they should cease.

Your daughter is not using those words to hurt you sister, she loves you.  She is, however, using those words to get her own way or to “guilt” you into getting her own way.  As long as she thinks they affect you she will use them.  

You may wish to remind her (at a time this is not going on) that she is a big girl now and that she needs to talk nicely as she is now 5 years old.  Children often find pride in becoming “a big boy or girl” and gentle reminders of these milestones may help.

Insha’Allah sister, do not take your daughter’s words personally.  While yes it hurts, it’s not really directed at you but it’s a manipulative tactic child sometimes use to get there own way.  

So I kindly ask that you remain strong, don’t feed into her words, don’t give them power and soon insha’Allah as these words lose their desired affect, you may see a more sweeter, kinder child emerge.

You are in our prayers sister, we wish you the best.

Salam

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.

About Aisha Mohammad
Aisha has a PhD in psychology, an MS in public health and a PsyD. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years at Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York. She has worked with clients with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, panic disorder, trauma, and OCD. She also facilitated support groups and provided specialized services for victims of domestic violence, HIV positive individuals, as well youth/teen issues. Aisha is certified in Mindfulness, Trauma Informed Care, Behavioral Management, Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, Mediation, and Confidentiality & Security. Aisha is also a Certified Life Coach, and Relationship Workshop facilitator. Aisha has a part-time Life Coaching practice in which she integrates the educational concepts of stress reduction, mindfulness, introspection, empowerment, self love and acceptance and spirituality to create a holistic healing journey for clients. Aisha is also a part of several organizations that advocates for prisoner rights/reentry, social & food justice, as well as advocating for an end to oppression & racism. In her spare time, Aisha enjoys her family, photography, nature, martial arts classes, Islamic studies, volunteering/charity work, as well as working on her book and spoken word projects.