When Your Child Says Hurtful Things To You: 4 Methods To Handle

As a parent, we are all once – or even more – caught up in the moment when your child says hurtful things to you. Of course, dealing with it is never as easy as a piece of cake. Most parents would get the shock of their life that can confuse them for days of not knowing what to do, or how to make the situation better.

Keep failing to answer the question “why do my kids hate me”? Beat your brains out but still unable to find the ideal solution? Don’t worry. We are here to help you make a virtue of the situation and mend your fences with this child. 

mom and child arguing to each other

5 Common Things Children Say That Hurt Parents’ Feelings

1. “I Hate You”

Needless to say that this is among the most popular phrases used by an angry child to stick the knife in parents. They know what it means to mom and dad when those words come from the mouth of their own flesh and blood.

However, try not to take it too harsh. Usually, these mean things kids say is a momentary overreaction to something that happened just a moment ago. For instance, when they are having the best time of their life in a friend’s birthday party but then forced to go home and finish the homework, it is easy to predict what they’ll say next.

2. “I Wish I Had A Different Mom (or Dad)”

Not having permission to do their favorite things can easily trigger your child’s desire to “live with a better parent”, leading to the moment when your child says hurtful things to you. However, the child is just expressing how vulnerable he is at that moment. 

daughter and mom conflict

Kids often get too angry to come up with a mild response. In case they had got the chance to think twice, it would have been “Mom/Dad, I don’t feel like you understand me”. 

In your kid’s mind, the mom and dad who say “yes” to everything they ask for is the ideal one. Therefore, if you have exerted yourself to provide your children with all you have, you are no doubt the best parent. Sometimes, you don’t have to agree on the same thing as them, and that’s totally fine. 

3. “You’re a Bad Mom (or Dad)”

It is apparent that this phrase hurts like the previous one. Keep in mind that no matter how uneasy and tense the situation becomes, you are not that type of parent. Because it comes from an overwhelming state of agitation and anger, this phrase does not reflect the truth.

Kids tend to criticize mom and dad based on their own standards for ideal parents. Whenever your actions don’t match that role model, they assume that you are not qualified enough to be a good parent.  

child saying hurtful things to mom

This reaction can even stem from small conflicts, such as when parents do not allow them to do a desired thing, or they just don’t settle on the way you solve a mutual problem.

4. “You’re Ruining My Life”

Teenagers have more tendency to use this phrase than kids at smaller ages. They hate it when parents meddle with their personal stuff without asking for their opinion. Still, it’s another way of expressing disagreement to parents. 

You may think that reducing their phone usage by 45 minutes per night will do no harm. However, your teenage child is afraid that your action will result in an irreversible consequence. These can include being unable to join a group chat or missing an event update on Facebook. To them, these matters are sensitive and require no interference from parents.

daughter questioning mom about phone usage

5. “I Wish You Were Dead”

Ouch, hurt a lot, probably. You’ll be in for a shock, not knowing what to do when your teenage daughter hates you that much. You can’t imagine that the child who was once a sweet and angelic girl would say such things, leaving you in anguish. 

Of course, when your child doesn’t actually mean it when he says that he wishes you were dead. This is because most children are not aware of how much parents have sacrificed for them, regarding both physical and mental issues. 

In fact, your child is feeling so vulnerable and in need of parents’ empathy. If things don’t happen in their favor, the child will bring out their defensive side and try to get rid of your presence.

When Your Child Hurts Your Feelings: What Should Be Done?

1. Don’t Take It Personally

One common reason for kids having a sharp tongue is because they are prevented from something desired, or offended by what parents did. Your child never actually meant it. That’s the first thing you should learn before delving into how you respond when your child says hurtful things to you.

Apparently, every parent would feel hurt when your teenager says hurtful things. They may hurl insults based on how you fail things, what you cook, or even the way you parent them.

mom argues to son in a family

You don’t have to pretend to be OK. However, you need to know that young children often say things they don’t understand. As mentioned before, it is just their defensive side when it comes to family conflicts and arguments.

In other words, never should you focus on what your kids say, but walking away or calming them down. 

2. Don’t Talk Hurtful Things Back

Never should you turn the tide by reacting in the same aggressive manner to your children. In worst-case scenarios, you would feel eager to unleash a stream of invectives. Consequently, things immediately become out of control, bringing an emotional chaos and confusion to the family.

mom talking hurtful things back to child

Your child has emotions and feelings, too. They just haven’t learned the right way to express themselves yet. Hence, it is wrong on many levels to say mean things back to your children. 

3. Apologize For The Win

We know that it is a difficult task when your child says hurtful things to you. But trust us, saying sorry is sure to be easier than mending your fences when the conflicts already get worse.

Most arguments are not one-sided. Therefore, don’t let your pride hold your apology back. Admitting your mistake doesn’t make you more vulnerable. Instead, it shows that you are a responsible parent who is willing to discuss fairly and settle your dispute. 

mom and children love each other

When your kids know that you can be better at understanding each other, they will learn that it’s not always parent’s fault. No parents are perfect, and we are bound to make mistakes once in a while.

4. Explain a Better Way of Expression

That said, the ultimate goal is to explain to your children why they should learn to express frustration in a respectful manner. As a result, when they feel offended again, no more hurtful words should be hurled at their parents. 

One effective way to avoid your child’s aggression is to approach gently and sympathize with them. Don’t start the conversation by pointing out the wrong points, but reasoning with them to understand how those words affect others.

Next, show them how to reflect their anger in a constructive way. According to research results of anger management methods, there are 2 recommended options:

– Say “I’m angry” or “I don’t like it” right away.

– Escape from the conflict to calm down, then come back later when you’re ready to discuss.

mom and daughter resolved conflicts

By doing this, you – or your child – will find it easy to seek a practical solution for the conflict. Or else, just walk away till you are ready to come back and discuss further.

5. Do Your Parent Things

Supposing that you have managed to teach your child well about respectful manners and attitudes, now is the time to ease their mind. 

Your kid may think that you lost favor with them because of their actions. Therefore, make them feel your unconditional love. Knowing that you not only forgive but also reassure your love for them will make your children feel more sympathized than ever before.

This is exactly the ideal way to turn the tide when your child says hurtful things to you, just so you know.


Hearing the mean things kids say is a hard challenge for every parent to take. Fortunately, you have learned how to help yourself and your child manage emotions better when conflicts happen. Acknowledge each other’s viewpoints, explain how you feel, then come up with an ultimate solution for both. Keep these steps in mind and you’ll always know how to handle the situation when your child says hurtful things to you.

Before you go, don’t forget to check out some related parental knowledge and recommendations in the article of How to Deal With a Disrespectful Grown Child.

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