As adults we have managed to control our emotions and feelings so that most words spoken to us we allow to slide off. As the years pass the skin becomes tougher so words and proclamations rarely phase us but despite the hard demur that so many adults sport many parents are shocked at the hurt they feel when their beloved child first lashes out at them verbally.
Parents anxiously await their baby’s first words. As the child’s vocabulary grows by leaps and bounds we all wait for that very first, “I love you.”. Can any of us ever forget the day our child looked at us and spoke those three wonderful words? They were magic to our ears. Unfortunately, as quickly as your child learned to speak such a heart felt proclamation they also learn to yield words that hurt.
The first time your child looks at you and screams at the top of his lungs, “I hate you!” is devastating to a parent. Most of us rarely expect such an outburst from our angel. What do you do? How do you respond? The first step is to remain calm. Simply look at the child and say, “Well, I love you.” Allowing your toddler to know how much the words have effected or hurt you will only encourage the child to use them at critical moments to inflict unexpected pain. By taking the pain away from the words you allow them to no longer hold any power.
Remember that your child does not truly hate you. He or she is simply saying the words to inflict pain and shock. If you react to the words the child will use them more vehemently in the future.
Many of us also feel unloved when our child picks our spouse at the favorite. Is shocking when your child says, ” I love Daddy. I want to live with Daddy.” How do you react to those words? Normally, just responding with a an, “I love you.” will suffice to defuse the situation.
Toddlers and preschoolers rarely know how to control their roller coaster emotions. They respond to hurt or they respond simply as an outburst, a way to alleviate their feelings. As the adult you need to just try to understand that your little one truly does not mean the hurtful things he says.
Many children feel bad after an outburst and will come to give you a hug. The child will often express his sorrow for his outburst. If your child apologizes or shows sadness over his actions always forgive him. Never hold a grudge against your child for something he said or an angry outburst that he had. Bestow kiss and snuggles on your child with plenty of heartfelt, “I love yous.” Your child should know that no matter what he does you will always be there for him and you will also always love him. By providing a web of support and emotion for the child you will be setting up the groundwork for an emotionally secure adult who is confident in his feelings.