Something really useful a Parenting Reset couple did lately was bring in a bullet pointed list of things their child says in a conflict situation.
Like most households they had one trigger-happy child quick to whip out the dreaded ‘I hate you’
Like most parents, hearing that was getting their parenting knickers in quite the knot.
Obviously it is never as easy as knowing some fancy words to respond with.
Heck – my hourly rate would be so much higher if it were that simple.
As with any parenting challenge, it is best worked through by focusing on two things at once:
1) Fostering the child’s sense that we are a safe and secure base for them in general
2) Having a plan for in the moment that that particular challenge plays out (in which we stay that safe and secure base while we coach them and hold a limit)
This wording is for in the “I hate you” moment.
Tweak it to be able to say it in your own style, and let me know what you notice when you start using it.
Them: “I hate you”
(they don’t hate you – they are trying to tell you they NEED you but are having trouble reaching you)
You: “Those strong words, and how your body looks, tell me you’re feeling really upset with me”
(you just gave them an alternative word for how they are feeling which is ‘upset’ that as they get older they will pick up…and made the connection between how they are feeling and what their body is doing – that’s very useful for them to get more in tune with over the years because those bodily sensations are the early clues we want them to learn how to feel and act on BEFORE they blow.)
You: It’s ok to be mad at me
(This is you helping them to reframe it into what they were trying to tell you. It also sets you up as a safe person to express their feelings to)
You: Do you want to share what is making you feel upset?
(This shows them they can depend on you not to abandon, shame, or get angry back at them – and that you are there for them while they learn how to emotionally regulate. It also moves the two of you towards being able to curiously problemsolve and for a limit that gets held to actually be able to be heard by them.)
Think of these moments as your chance to coach them through while modeling respect.
Now…that is all very easy to sit here on my lounge and write, MUCH harder to do in the moment. There is so much that gets in the way of us managing to emotionally regulate alongside our children in the same way we manage to with our co-workers or friends. 100 percent of parents that get in touch with Love Parenting do so saying they want to respond to their kids differently than they have been.
Chances are that’s you too. There is one June Tuesday left if you would like to come in for a Parenting Reset, or most Tuesdays in July are available.
Let me know how you go with tweaking the way you respond in an ‘I hate you’ moment using this reframe. I’d love to hear.
It’s easily one of the most confronting things that comes out of our kids mouths. Makes absolute sense that it puts a bushfire through our central nervous system and we kneejerk into fear-based responses.
All the best out there this week!