Intro by Erica Rood, M.A. Ed.
Tantrums are a bit different during the teen years. Instead of throwing herself on the floor, kicking and screaming, your disgruntled teen is more likely to slam her bedroom door while shouting, “I hate you!” As a parent, it can be hard to keep your cool when your teen uses cutting words. It can be even harder to pause and recognize what is behind your teen’s harsh comments.
In this week’s blog, I am pleased to share the wisdom of parent coach Ashley Ladouceur. Ashley specializes in coaching parents of children between the ages of one and ten, but in her article “What to Do with I Hate You” she outlines specific strategies which are just as helpful for parents of teens. I hope you enjoy!
What to Do With “I hate you!”
By Ashely Ladouceur, Parent Coach
Remember parenting in the middle of toddlerhood and feeling like the tantrums were so overwhelming you just couldn’t wait until your child was able to tell you how they feel? For some of you, that stage might be today, or you may have moved on to the next stage. The stage where the tantrums look less like flailing to the ground and crying but instead lashing out by cutting you right to your core. Nothing prepares you for the first time your child says “I hate you!”
Let’s take a breath outside the moment and think about what is really going on here.
Does your child really hate you? Likely not.
Are you a bad parent because your child is showing aggression towards you? No.
Are you the only one? Absolutely not!
What is more likely going on for your child is that they are having big feelings around something in their lives and are unsure how to express it. Feeling so badly in that moment that they feel the only way for you to truly understand is to feel the same way. So they lash out. They scream hurtful things to the ones they feel the safest with.
So what do you do when they lash out and it hurts.
- First, understand that you are allowed to have your own feelings. The small being you love most in this world just said “I hate you”.
- Try not to hear these words as they are but instead hear “I want you to understand how I feel!” Now you can take a step back, take a long, deep breath and show up for your child with empathy instead of hurt.
- Identify how your child might be feeling at that moment. It is okay to get it wrong, let them correct you and keep trying. “Wow, you are very angry with me right now! I am here.”
- Restate the conflict to your child. “Wow, you are so very angry with me! I am here. You wanted to go to the park and I said no. That is so hard.”
Remember your child is just having a hard time expressing their feelings at this moment and needs your support. By helping them understand what they may be feeling and repeating it back to them, you let them know you hear them and want to understand their feelings.
If you are noticing that the tantrums are more explosive and lasting longer, download my FREE guide to de-escalating the Tantrums below, where I use the G.R.E.A.T. Parenting Journey to work through larger outbursts!
You got this!
Ashley is the founder of G.R.E.A.T. Parenting and a parent coach. She supports parents of children age one to teen create firm boundaries even when they are feeling lost and overwhelmed. With 13 years of experience working with children and families and becoming a mom of two busy little people, she is able to bring different perspectives while helping parents tackle their biggest parenting concerns while becoming the confident parent they have always envisioned. You can learn more about Ashley by visiting www.greatparenting.ca