What should a parent do when a young child says, "I hate you." I'm Dr. James Dobson with Focus on the Family.

Some givers of parental advice recommend that parents ignore a child's violent outbursts and expressions of hostility for his mother or father. I disagree. Even though it's true that most youngsters do have these feelings, and it's not unusual for them to verbalize their anger.

Still, we need to teach children how to handle their emotions more appropriately. If a child screamed his hatred at me for the first time, I would wait until his passions had cooled and then convey a message that would go something like this: "I know you were very upset earlier today and I think we should talk about what you were feeling.

All children get angry at their parents now and then, especially when they think they've been treated unfairly. But, that doesn't excuse you from saying, 'I hate you.' When people love each other as you and I do, they shouldn't want to hurt one another. What you said hurt me; just as you would be hurt if I said something like that. Now you can tell me what angers you and I'll listen carefully. And if I'm wrong, I'll do my best to change the things you dislike. But, I cannot permit you to call me names or speak disrespectfully to me in that manner. Now is there anything you need to say to me? If not, then put your arms around my neck because I love you."

Once this understanding has been established, I would then expect the child to live within it. This is Dr. James Dobson for Focus on the Family.

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