My Toddler Said, “I Don’t Love You!”

My toddler said he doesn’t love me!

Kids have emotions just like us and sometimes do not know how to show these emotions in a way that we can understand as adults. Sometimes these emotions get the best of them and cause tantrums and other situations that may cause trouble around the house. Here are some ways and tips that research has found helpful to solve toddlers saying hurtful things.

Talk to your toddler about your hurt.

Sometimes people forget that kids have emotions too. As parents, we can find ourselves overwhelmed with work, interpersonal relationships, and parenting itself. When this happens, we can come off as angry, irritated, and standoffish. A lot of people do not realize this, but kids feed off of our emotions.

When a child feels like they are a nuisance in the household, they may use phrases like “I do not love you” to get your attention. It doesn’t mean they truly do not love you, but they may be projecting that they feel as though you do not love them. This is a great time to remind your child that you do love them, and you just had a hard day.

Kids can understand a lot, and it is important to communicate with your child when you are in a bad mood, or something bad has caused you to be upset because this will take the guilt off of them.

Are you using this type of language yourself?

Kids are truly sponges. They retain everything they hear and see. When they see positive things in the house, they will copy the positive things they see and do them too. That is always a great thing to happen. However, when they see the bad, they also copy that too. Even when you do not think your kids are paying attention, they are.

The way you talk to your spouse, your friends, your family, and even yourself. They take it all in and learn how to socialize this way. Say a funny saying in the house for a week, and you will notice your kid say it as well. If your child is saying, “I do not love you,” ask yourself if you had said this recently when you were upset. If you have, sit them down and explain to them why this is very hurtful to say to someone.

Also, explain to them why you said it when they heard it and offer an explanation that they can understand.

Stopping Tantrums

When babies become toddlers, they start to realize the world doesn’t necessarily revolve around them. This can be extremely difficult for them to understand. Most of the time, they do not even know why they are so upset, so they throw tantrums. Tantrums can come in many forms.

Tantrums can be breaking stuff around the house, screaming and hitting themselves on the floor, excessive whining and crying, name-calling, and threats. Phrases like “I do not love you” can be a way they are trying to express that they are mad at you for whatever reason.

Did you take something they were playing with away? Tell them it is time to leave the park? Tell them that they need to clean up after themselves? All of these things can result in a tantrum. The good news is, they do love you. They are just upset and do not know how to express that feeling.

The bad news is that tantrums are completely natural for toddlers, at least for a little bit, and it is a phase that all kids go through.

Let’s talk about apologizing.

This is something that a lot of parents believe is ridiculous but offers extremely beneficial results in a child’s development. If your child says, “I don’t love you,” ask yourself why. Were you snappy because you had a bad meeting today at work? Were you ignoring them why they were showing you something they were excited about?

These are all things that take small jabs at a Childs mental health and can make them feel lonely. The best way to fix the situation is to sit your child down and ask them what made them say that to you. If they say you hurt their feelings, this is a great way to teach empathy to your child. You can start by apologizing to them and showing them that their feelings are validated.

Validating someone’s feelings, even as a child, shows them their feelings matter and are heard. In the future, they will be able to show this same empathy to someone else. This is a great teaching moment and should be used if you messed up and owe your child an apology for the way you responded.

Should you take your toddler to see a psychologist?

This tip is only necessary if you have exhausted all other reasons as to why your child may be saying, “I don’t love you.” There may be something else going on, or possibly somewhere else they may have learned this phrase from.

If you are concerned about what your child is telling you, and it seems to be quite often, take them into a psychologist and get a better understanding of why they keep telling you that they do not love you. There is nothing wrong with seeing a psychologist for you or your child.

Often people are too afraid to see one due to the large stigma surrounding mental health. Most people, after their first visit, realize it is no different than seeing your regular primary doctor. This would be a step to take after all other steps have been exhausted.

Remember, parenting is hard, but so is growing up. When children are growing, so are their feelings. Learning how to process all new types of emotions can be overwhelming to them and sometimes result in them saying hurtful things to you. It is important to use these situations as teaching moments and be patient with them.