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How to Get a Toddler to Stop Saying I Hate You

Updated on May 24, 2012

Parenting Tips for when kids say things we wish they wouldn't

My three year old says "I hate you." How can I get him to stop?

Kids will say all kinds of things you wish they wouldn't, especially todlers. At three, he's testing you. My advice is to stay on top of it. As soon as he says "I hate you," correct the behavior by saying, "We only say kind words to each other," and then take him to a quiet spot. Once he settles down, have him practice saying kind things. Every time he says something nice, praise him and let him know how good it feels when he says kind things. Then practice an apology by having him say something like "I'm sorry for being unkind. I'll only say kind things in the future." If the child refuses to apologize, have them stay in their room until they can come out and be kind. Then go back to what you were doing.

The key is to consistently correct the behavior as soon as it happens. Never let it slide.

If you have different suggestion on how to handle it, leave it in the comments, I'm sure this mother will appreciate it.

The way to correct a child's action

  • Never let the behavior we want to stop slide
  • When they make a mistake, have them practice the right thing to say or do
  • Do it with love and compassion

Should we spank kids for saying I hate you?

See results


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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      LOL U SAID IT AROUND HIM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! LOL!!!!!!!

    • Linc2010 profile image


      10 years ago from Whiting, IN USA

      Help them understand what they are saying and the concrete consquences of their actions by asking them questions that will help them determine if they really do hate her. Obviously, if this is done with love, lots of love, they will concretely determine they do not hate the person that takes care of them and loves them. They will be able to figure it out and feel better about themselves becuase you gave them a chance to figure out that that behavior is not kind. External forces make kids unkind. Kids are kids they have to be taught unkind, so they can be taught to compare the two as well. I hope this helps. It is easy to say this when it is not your child. Only you know what is right for your child for certain.

    • Paul Edmondson profile imageAUTHOR

      Paul Edmondson 

      10 years ago from Burlingame, CA

      Yes. Lots and lots of love.

    • Lela Davidson profile image

      Lela Davidson 

      10 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas

      Hate is one of our designated bad words. Along with stupid, shut-up, and now that they're getting older - the classics. I agree with Paul, constant, consistent correction. With love!

    • amulets profile image


      10 years ago from Singapore

      Yes. I do agree that this tactic works.


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