It can be really upsetting and hurtful for a parent to sense hate from their 4-year-old daughter. Sometimes 4-year-olds even express their feeling by saying, “I hate you” to one parent and loves to be with the other one. If you are experiencing such a situation at home, just remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Children of this age don’t know what hate feels like, and when they use such words, don’t take it on your heart as they do not really mean to hurt you. But, you must find out why your daughter says “I hate you” or shows disinterest in you over your spouse.
So Dear parents, when your 4-year-old daughter tells you or shows you that she hates you, don’t think you are a bad parent; instead, catch the signal that she is upset in any other way.
This blog has listed possible reasons why a 4-year-old girl would hate one parent and solutions to overcome such a phase.
Why would a 4-year-old girl hate one parent?
Find out the possible reasons why your 4-year-old daughter hates you (or she says that she hates you).
1- Daughters are usually attached to their fathers:
If your daughter is more attracted to her father, it is all natural to crave attraction from her dad. Daughters tend to be more emotionally attached to their dads.
Most dads have a soft corner for their princesses, and daughters find them more fun, easygoing, and loving to be around.
2- She is showing the reaction of a strong feeling:
4-year-olds sometimes do not know how to show their feelings, so instead of depicting genuine emotion, they just say things like “I hate you’ or “I don’t like you,” etc., but in reality, they don’t really mean to hurt you or hate you.
So when you sense hate or hear words like “I hate you,” it means the child is sending signals of any other emotion like sadness, embarrassment, madness, or maybe confusion.
3- One parent is not behaving well, and the other one is giving more love:
As a parent, we sometimes become irrational on some points and expect our kids to follow our rules no matter what.
To discipline the child, some parents adopt the “I said so” behavior, where they do not focus on what the child expects.
Due to such behavior and strictness, children think that the parent who does not listen to their needs isn’t good and automatically gets close to the other parent, who they find less strict.
4- Parents are passing the frustration to her:
Another reason for showing hate or saying hateful words from a 4-year-old daughter can be her parents themselves. Parents sometimes become frustrated with all the responsibilities and hard work, but we must remain composed and content in front of the kids.
Passing the frustration to the kids is absolute madness, as they do not want to come into our lives, but we want them to come into our lives. So be mindful before you bring kids into the world.
5- She has heard “I hate you” from someone:
Your daughter may have heard hateful words from someone around her. It could be her friends, cousins, or even you. Although sometimes kids just repeat what they hear very often, or even not very often, they must have sensed that such words can be used when frustrated, angry, or sad.
6- 4-year-olds love the fun-loving parent:
4-year-olds are inclined towards fun; they can play all day without boredom. So the parent who is more fun-loving would be their absolute favorite.
Your daughter might not like to be around you because she must have sensed that you do not play with her the way your better half does.
7- The parent is too busy with the job and own stuff:
Kids usually are more attached to the parent with whom they spend most of the day. As a result, the children get less time to interact with the other parent who works full time.
So sometimes the working parents feel that the children do not like to be with them, but the kids have become more comfortable with the stay-at-home parent.
8- The parents’ relationship is not good with each other:
When the Parents’ relationship with each other is bad, the child will hate the parent, who seems unfair in their eyes.
Unfortunately, 4-year-olds are very young to understand what is wrong and right and cannot even understand why their parents are fighting.
So they just made it up that they don’t like the unfair parent.
9- She is seeking validation of her feelings:
If your 4-year-old daughter does not like to be around you and continuously uses hateful words for you, it means she is seeking validation for her feelings. She wants to hear that it’s okay to feel that way, but also let her know that what she thinks about you is not hate but frustration, sadness, disappointment, or maybe anger.
10- The parent is more inclined towards the other sibling:
Sometimes sibling rivalry makes the elder child go anti the parent she sees more inclined towards the new baby or the other siblings. Also, some parents show favoritism to one child, that a 4-year-old could sense, which makes her disappointed by that parent.
Follow these tips to solve this problem.
1- Parents union is needed:
To avoid favoritism among parents, the parents should be on the same page when raising the kids. They should implement the same rules and opinions in the house. In this way, the child would not think that one is strict and the other is easygoing.
For the parents, if you find your spouse extra strict, mistreating the child, or not giving time to her, you can have a conversation with your partner so that they make some changes in the behavior.
2- The unliked parent should remain calm:
I know it would be very hurtful for you as a parent to her or feel hate from your daughter, but trust me, what she meant is not hate but the expression of any other feeling.
The parent can get sad, stressed, or angry upon such behavior by a child, but it would not bring any good,
So instead of stressing about it, try to dig into the root cause of such behavior and stay calm in front of the child. You can also tell the child repeatedly that what she is feeling is not hate, and she could calmly think about why she is feeling or saying hateful words to one parent.
3- Validate her feelings:
The most important thing to do is validate her feelings instead of making a fuss about them. For example, when your child says something like “ I hate you,” “ Go away from here,” “I do not want you at bedtime,” or similar things to avoid you, answer her with “ I still love you”.
In this way, the child will feel that the parents she does not want to be with stills love her and want to be with her and, most importantly, validate and accept her feelings.
4- Give her undisturbed attention:
Girls are naturally more sensitive towards the behavior of their parents. They need more attention and care, compared to boys.
Even if she is your only daughter or you have more kids, always give undisturbed attention to every child. Put down your phone, stop all your work, and spend time with the child. Talk to her, play with her, and give her unlimited hugs and kisses.
5- Engage yourself with her favorite activity:
Your 4-year-old daughter must have a favorite activity she wants to do daily. Ask her that you also want to do the activity with her. If she refuses to play with you, just go and sit beside her and say,” No one plays with me,” or “ Can I be your playing partner?” etc. things like this would melt her heart down for you.
6- Watch out for your behavior:
Sometimes we just observe others’ behavior rather than analyzing ourselves first. We as a parent does not generally like kids to answer rudely to their parents or say hurtful things, but we never observe how we talk to our kids.
Being extra strict, frustrated, angry, or stressed sends negative vibes to the child, and she becomes ruder, insensitive, and frustrated in return.
So be good, have good.
7- Mediate and give yourself time too:
You should meditate and give yourself time. Avoid passing the frustration to the child. Work on yourself before working on your child. A parent who is emotionally strong raises emotionally strong children.
8- Be with her at bedtime:
Bedtime is the most effective time to bond with the kids. They listen, think, and absorb more deeply compared to the other part of the day. So even if your daughter insists on calling your spouse, tell her they are busy or slept earlier.
Talk to her, read her stories, and most of all, give her all the love she deserves.
It is not very uncommon for a 4 year old to be inclined towards one parent, but saying “i hate you” to the other parent is heartbreaking. It is important to find out the root cause of this behavior instead of sitting and crying over it.
Validate your little one’s sensitive feelings and keep telling her that you love her.