My toddler said, “I hate you!”
One of the most uncomfortable feelings in the world is feeling like your child hates you. Like there’s nothing you can ever do to make them understand how much you love them. It is also easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle of life, and not realize what might be causing their reactions.
The tips shared will help you to investigate the different reasons why your toddler might be hostile towards you.
Is it a phase?
All toddlers go through phases that make life uncomfortable for us! The mind of a toddler can never fully be understood. Understand because of your child’s age. It could be something related to the “terrible twos.” There are times that the “terrible twos” don’t show up till your child is about three. You almost have to think of it like toddler PMS.
I know that that probably doesn’t make it easier, but it could be a phase that your child is going through and it will pass.
Is your toddler being treated well outside of your home?
If you notice that your child’s behavior towards you has changed significantly, start your investigation. Especially if your toddler is around other children and other adults often.
You never know how your child is being treated when you are not present. Rarely, will anyone take better care of and love your child more than you.
So, with that in mind, you might want to double-check that your child is not being mistreated and then reflecting it on you.
Is your toddler picking up the behavior of other children?
Toddlers are sponges. They pick up on everything around them if there are toddlers in their influence, who model aggressive behavior towards their parents that could be part of the problem.
When you witness that with your child, make it a teachable moment. Teach your toddler that the “hateful” behavior of another child towards their parents is not acceptable to you.
Also, teach your toddler the “why” part; why it is important to you and the grand scheme of things, why he/she needs to respect you.
Is there enough affection coming from you?
It can be so easy to only get into the disciplinary mode with a toddler. If that’s the case, maybe your toddler is starting to get the idea that they are not loved. If discipline is not balanced with plenty of affection, your toddler can begin to carry that message.
Children have a way of associating adults with very black-and-white traits. If there is mostly discipline and not a lot of affection, they will attach negativity to you. From that negativity will come a dislike towards you.
Is there a lot of dislike in the home?
What is modeled in the home? Is there a lot of bickering in the home? Whatever your toddler is predominantly seeing, is what they will reflect. If there is a lot of dislike in the home towards one another, we can bet your toddler has also absorbed that example.
How are YOU being treated?
Are there people in your life that don’t treat you with kindness? Your toddler could be watching other people in your life treat you a certain way. It could be teaching him/her how to treat you!
If that’s the case, correct people and teach them how to treat you. In doing so, you are also teaching your toddler how to treat you.
On a separate note, you are teaching your child about self-respect.
Are you watching for the tender spots?
Watch for your toddler’s tender spots. We all have different ways that we respond to love. Even at toddler age, there’s a way that your kiddo responds to love.
It might take you some time to figure out what your baby’s love language is, but it will be worth it. Find the things that bring your toddler true joy, and then do it with him or her.
As you establish connection points of regular joy, include yourself in the process so that your child associates you with good feelings.
Can you balance discipline and love?
If your child has mostly associated you with discipline and not a whole lot of affection, you have to balance it. Discipline cannot be forsaken, but you have to incorporate the love immediately after.
When the discipline is incorporated and executed, you lovingly explain why. Then provide the love. Provide ongoing affirmation, even if the discipline still needs to happen. That way, your child doesn’t feel like you are always not pleased with him or her. It will start to be a natural connection(with your toddler) that you love your child and that discipline is not rejection.
Is someone planting ugly seeds?
In this era of time, our kids are shared in other environments and with bonus parents more than ever. If you share contention with other adults in your toddler’s life, make sure ugly seats aren’t being planted.
It is sad to say, but adults will have “no shame” about manipulating the thoughts of a child towards another adult. If you like where there are adults in your life that might do that, pay attention to how your child acts when they are around them. Especially, be mindful of how your toddler returns to you if they spend time with certain people.
Are you enlisting help?
If you have a supportive spouse or any other supportive adult around, enlist their help.
Sometimes your child might need accountability for how they are treating you, outside of yourself. Do you have another adult, helping to curb the issue can bring some much-needed help?
Toddlers are smart. If being held accountable to treat you nicer is enforced by multiple people, this could work in your favor.
Can you just let it ride?
In dealing with your toddler, you can do everything you know how to do. You can do everything others know how to do and hit a wall! Just know that everything has to change at some point!