January 23, 2018

“Whatever” and “I Hate You” – Dealing with Child Attitude

You have heard it, right? The child attitude – you have just finished a well thought out, and even if you must say so, great parenting talk and bam the “whatever” is dropped. Or seemingly worse, they use the mother of all insults, “I hate you”. Now what do you do with this child attitude?

Don’t lose hope. If you get these responses, you have made your point. That’s right. They know they have lost the argument and as a last ditch effort, they look to push your button. This is their way of getting back at you in some way for standing for something your child doesn’t like. It is the teenage way of saving face.

What do you do then?

This is the easy answer. For the ‘whatever’ statement, do nothing. Just turn and walk away smiling. If you challenge it, you give up your position and enter into an argument. You will lose the ground you have gained. Turning around and walking away is the only solution for you to stay in control. Trust me to enter in, whether you discipline for the sass or ask what do they mean, you have given them the upper hand. Plus the argument will be a useless waste of time for you. Move on and they will be fine in a surprisingly short amount of time. Remember they secretly desire for you to be consistent. It makes them feel safe.

For the ‘I hate you’, which admittedly can be a hard one to hear and has been known to bring parents to tears, they hope this will upset you enough to give into what they want. An effective parenting response could be, “Maybe sometimes you do hate me. But I’m still not letting you go out tonight.” If you feel yourself becoming angry, instead of upset, take a few minutes to gather yourself before you respond. They are hoping to upset you and get you off balance. You don’t have to answer this smart remark either, just don’t say ‘sometimes I hate you too’. Then you both are playing in the same sandbox. That makes for ineffective parenting!

The best thing to do when you get child attitude is to remind yourself, obviously I have done my job and made my point.  The objective is not to have the last word but to have the lasting word.

For many more tips and techniques to deal with child attitude, check out The Total Transformation. It’s one of the best child behavior programs I’ve ever seen – it worked for our family, I’m sure it can work for yours!

About the author: By

Julie is an awesome parent (along with her husband Matt) to five adopted kiddos and the owner of the Parenting Allies website.

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Disclaimer: We are not psychologists, counselors, or therapists. We are parents of children with special challenges, and the techniques, tools, and programs we recommend on this website have worked for us on our parenting journey.

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