This Hate Thing

We’re still caught up in an epic battle with the hate word. We’ve tried a variety of different methods for dealing with it, including all the ways you guys suggested. And thank you, I was dying for advice and it was great to see so much support come in.

What seemed to work, for a short, short time, was taking it VERY seriously. Acting very hurt and angry. Making him sit in his room and think about it for a while. But, then he started acting out at school. Bigtime. So, lesson learned. Anger won’t get us anywhere.┬áBut neither does acting like our feelings are hurt. That only seems to fuel it, really.

When he started freaking out at school, we got called in to talk about it (THE HORROR) and their basic stance on it is, let the kid say it. It’s just a word, after all. One that’s hard to hear from our flesh and blood, but just a word nonetheless.

If they are able to freely say it at home, an environment where they feel safe in pushing their boundaries, then they’re less likely to start saying it outside of home, to friends, etc.

If they do what the preschool teacher called a “drive-by”, where they just walk by and insult you: “I hate you.” “You’re stupid.” “You’re ugly.” with no real provocation, then that you can be upset about. Tell them you’re hurt, and it’s not a good word to use. But, if it’s in the heat of a denied-a-second-dessert fueled tantrum, then let it go.

And this might all sound like we’re being a little soft, but really it has been working. Sort of. He still says it. And it slips out at school once in a while. But, it has ebbed a little bit. And sometimes when I act all hurt and sad, he will quickly add, “I love you.”

I talked to a lot of other parents at preschool, and it seems like all of the kids are going through or have gone through the exact same thing. Which oddly makes me feel a lot better. There is a light at the end of this hate tunnel.

Ok, I need a little advice.

Bowie picked up a new phrase at some point, and started using it quite a bit while we were on our trip.

“I hate you!”

As in, I hate you Mommy, for making my PB&J with different jelly than what we have at home. I hate you Daddy, for making me put on sunscreen before sitting out in the hot, Hawaiian sun. I hate you Grandma for making me listen to my mommy. I hate you Grandpa for telling me to listen to Grandma and Mommy and Daddy. I hate you random kid I don’t know for splashing me in the pool.

Hate hate hate. One of my least favorite words, over and over. And I have no idea what to do about it.

If I ignore it, he keeps repeating it, louder and louder, until the entire universe has decided that I’m a bad parent.

If I respond, in any way, he wins. He gets attention. Negative attention, but attention nonetheless. And I seriously don’t think he’s not getting enough attention otherwise, though who knows. Maybe some kids need more than others?

So, help me bloggy universe. I think that this is a relatively normal phase. But, I would still like to nip it in the bud. Believe it or not, I don’t enjoy hearing “I HATE YOU!” 300 million times a day.

What do the “experts” say? What have you tried? What works? What doesn’t? HELP ME.


I was born in Northern Illinois. By the fifth grade, I would also live in Green Bay, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Cincinnati and northwestern Wisconsin. (Yes, that’s a lot of moving. I swear I will blog about that one of these days like I keep promising.)

We moved to Cincinnati during my second grade year. One of my first assignments at my new school was to make a collage of magazine photos, newspaper clippings, what have you, for the letter “P”. I found a gigantic picture of a can of Coke, and slapped it on there. “P” for “pop”.

I proudly presented the assignment to my father, who told me sheepishly, and with a little sorrow in his voice, “They call it ‘soda’ here sweetie.”

I was dumbstruck. Different words for the same thing? This is madness.

After 3 years in Cincinnati, we moved back to the “pop” saying folk in Wisconsin. I had a southern accent to kick by then, but I got right back in the habit of saying “pop.”

Fast forward 15 years, and I move to California. It is SODA here, no acceptions. I let “pop” slip once, and the gal had zero idea what I was talking about. “I don’t think we serve that here.”

Now, when I am back in the Midwest and someone says “pop”, at first I don’t know what that is. And I laugh. I laugh, because my 2nd grade self wanted to cry. So funny how different we all are in these big, wide United States. Even with our words.

Pop. I mean soda. I mean...whatever.


Something, SOMETHING, drew me to look up the word “tantrum” in the dictionary one day. (Hint: I’m pretty sure it was one of the one thousand tantrums Bowie throws each hour that might have been my inspiration. WHO CAN SAY.)

I was hoping to find some kind of origin for the word, something that…oh, I have no idea, maybe I was hoping for a clue on how to handle one. Like, maybe the origin of the word was Latin for “give the child a sedative and tie them to a chair until it kicks in”.

Apparently, the origin of the word is unknown. But, what the entry did say was that the first known usage of the word dated back to 1714. Which means us mamas have been dealing with tantrums for A MIGHTY LONG TIME. It took them until the 18th century to come up with a term for it, but they’ve been happening all along, I’d venture a guess. I can just picture some cave woman, throwing her basket of gathered goods on the ground and saying to her child, “I’m DONE. Just DONE.”

So, the next time you are in the throes, try to remind yourself that you are approximately the 483,349,376,484,290,4848th mama to have dealt with tantrums. I don’t know why, but for some reason that makes it seem easier to tolerate. Eventually the tantrum will end. And eventually he will be old enough that he won’t have them anymore. Maybe.

I also liked that one if the synonyms was “scene”. Because yes, it does happen to cause a scene. Even when you are in a crowd of fellow parents, even fellow parents of toddlers, you seem to get that “Do you even KNOW what you’re DOING?” look from people as your child pulls your hair, bites you, throws themselves to the floor, kicks, screams, slaps and throws toys at other kids. No, that’s ok, Complete Stranger, don’t offer to help, don’t give me a half-smile-of-sympathy, no please, really, just JUDGE ME.

I just hope the Age of the Tantrum is almost over. Not sure how many more I can take. (And somehow I want to sign on to do this for another kiddo? What is wrong with me?)