How does it feel when your Child/Teen says they “Hate” something? 

Awful of course and it often touches a nerve deep down.

It’s a hard thing to hear when your child/teen says they “Hate” something. This is usually an outburst based on another behavioural trigger or situation, so they don’t really “hate” the thing, as such, although they can be very convincing.

They are usually expressing their feelings about a situation or emotion. For example; “I hate the way this situation feels.” or “I hate the feeling.” etc.

It’s just their way of expressing an unresolved feeling or emotion at the time. They are trying to get a reaction out of you or trigger something else.

What’s interesting also is that the concept and emotional meaning behind the word is not cognitively understood by the growing brain and probably a word they have parrot-phrased from elsewhere. Children like to learn from modelling others.

Here’s four things you can do:

— Don’t take it personally or get upset.

— Show Empathy: Say something like.. “I understand you are upset.” or “I can see that you are so angry at {insert object/person}. So I can understand more about how you are feeling about (X) can we talk again when you feel less stressed?”

Ask them to describe the feeling and how it came about? It’s important to understand the feeling and how it came about (internally manifested)? Giving the feeling a one-word name also helps to narrow it down and understand it’s mechanical structure. 

— Ask them to draw their feelings (the problem) and also draw a picture of how they’d like to feel (AKA the Solution)? By drawing it can have a calming and neutralising effect on the brain. It also gets them to focus on the possible solutions by changing their mental state and feelings. 

Ultimately kids (and adults) run pre-conditioned patters of thought and behaviour. Its natural, but not the only option they can make at the time? Usually the behavioural pattern with most conditioning and fastest route into conscious thought will be the one one that prevails.

Hate and love are both behavioural patterns of conditioning and expression.

As a parent you need to learn the triggers in your child and try to be one step ahead of the game.

Any questions or further input, please comment below.

Big smiles!  Annette x

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