The first time your kid tells you that she hates you can be traumatic. My wife will never forget when our oldest told her that she hated her. Not reacting is one of my strengths so, when it was my turn, my daughter’s hate flowed through me. As a father, I want to help my daughter accept her emotions and let them go.
Quite often, people that are good with love (mothers, wives, daughter), close themselves to negative emotions, such as hate. That closure, between mothers and daughters especially, can lead to strange dynamics, especially when an unexpected trigger results in an outpouring of hate.
I have an ability to react slowly. Being slow to react makes me appear cold but has helped me deal with some very abrasive people (and challenging preschoolers).
A couple weeks after my non-reaction to my daughter’s hate, the conversation when like this:
Daddy, I love you
Daddy, I hate you
But, I love you more
There is a tension between the love and hate in our little girl. By acknowledging, and not suppressing, the hate, we helped her avoid making the hate her focus.
The other morning, we were walking into school and she saw a little buddy entering the classroom with his mom.
Lex beamed and told me, “Daddy, that’s my friend.”
The little guy immediately screamed, “I am NOT your friend!” Causing his mother to stop cold with a universal look of maternal horror.
Lex shrugged and said, “it’s OK Dad, he’ll be my friend this afternoon.”
A home environment where we let go of hate is wonderful gift to pass to our children.