"I HATE you!!!"
You hear it, your heart sinks and you find yourself on the verge of tears. Those three ugly words we as parents wholeheartedly expect to hear, yet silently pray they are never uttered.
I was prompted to write this by a girlfriend who posted today on FaceBook that her "tween" daughter screamed this at her for the first time today. Of course, all of her girlfriends came running to her virtual rescue giving hugs and saying "it's normal" and she must be doing something right to evoke such a response for her little darling. I on the other hand, take a different approach.
While it is normal for tweens/teens to "lash-out", what you as a parent do with it makes all the difference in the world. I will say this loud and clear... NIP IT IN THE BUD. As parents our primary function is to raise children into responsible productive adults, this cannot be achieved if your children think it is "OK" to speak this way to anyone, let alone an adult. Teach your children how to appropriately express themselves. "If you are upset with me, then say "Mom, _____ really upset me". Of course, in my not-so-humble opinion this conversation only addresses part of the problem, the second part is that the child is in most cases reacting to not getting what they want, something you need to stand firm on now so they learn the lesson that throughout their lives will resurface...You Can't Always Get What You Want. (Feel free to sing along).
Each family is different, and thus the way you handle it will be unique to your family. In our house, I introduce the "Week of NO". Mom can I have a...NO. Mom will you take me...NO. Mom can I go...NO. Mom will you buy me...NO. Explain this will last a week, then have a talk at the end explaining that you do all the little extra things you do for them because you love them. Talk about mutual respect, it's importance and how hurtful words can be. They will realize all that you do for them and how much they need and appreciate you.
Now, go take that bubblebath you so richly deserve.