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My 6-Year-Old Hates Me

by Erica Loop, studioD

While the typical 6-year-old has a new-found awareness of his own and others' emotions, it isn't rare for a parent to feel as though her child hates her. Kindergartners and early grade-schoolers might have a greater developed sense of self-control and emotional development than preschoolers, but that doesn't mean they are completely in control when it comes to self-expression. This often leads to angry outbursts and toddler-like tantrums.


A frequently angry young child can easily misinterpret her own negative emotions as hate. If your 6-year-old often finds her frustration with your expectations or rules a source of anger, chances are you've heard the words, "Mommy I hate you." While this doesn't mean your child hates you, it does mean you need to help her deal with her anger. Provided her anger issues aren't serious enough to warrant professional help -- if in doubt, always speak with her teacher or pediatrician -- you can teach her tactics to help ease her emotions. Connect with your child, letting her know that you understand her emotions and are there for her. Listen to what she is saying, discuss why she is angry and give her strategies such as counting to 10 or deep-breathing to help her out.

Sadness and Hate

In an effort to mask sadness -- meaning everyday sad emotions, and not clinical or severe depression -- some young children might put on a hateful show. When your 6-year-old is feeling blue or lonely, she might outwardly appear to hate you. If you notice she says hateful things during blue or moody times, make note of what the issue really is. Your 6-year-old isn't yet as adept at exploring her emotions as an older grade-schooler or teen. Instead of saying that it makes her sad when you pay attention to her baby brother, she might act out or say that she hates you. Talk to her on her level. Your child is aware that other people have feelings like she does, as well as ones that are different. Try explaining to her that you get sad too -- especially when she says that she hates you.

Activities and Bonding

Sometimes your child might act in a hateful way simply because she feels ignored or has a sense of disconnection from you. This is more pronounced during times of stress, when a new child enters the family and when you are overly busy because of work or other requirements. A 6-year-old might not yet have the ability to tell you that she feels neglected. Instead of guessing that she will eventually get over it and hope that she understands why you are so busy when she is older, take the time now to try some bonding activities together. Go to the zoo, take a trip to an art museum, make a meal or create a craft together as a team.

Turning Around Behavior

Whether your 6-year-old is angry, sad or has some other reason for acting out in hateful ways, ensure that you use positive techniques to turn her behavior around. Punishing her, yelling or shaming your child when she says something hurtful such as, "I hate you" will only spur on her current behaviors. Change her negatives to positives with praise and motivational words. For example, if you ask your child to put away her toys and she screams "No," tell her that you liked how well she listened to you yesterday when you asked her to clean up. Acknowledging her successes will show her how much you care and motivate her to turn around her actions.

About the Author

Based in Pittsburgh, Erica Loop has been writing education, child development and parenting articles since 2009. Her articles have appeared in "Pittsburgh Parent Magazine" and the website PBS Parents. She has a Master of Science in applied developmental psychology from the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images