Friday, November 19, 2010

What "hate" Means to a 9 Year Old

This morning, when I took my son's book away because he needed to eat breakfast instead of read, he threw a Royal Fit which consisted of him screaming and stomping and throwing a basketball at MB. Then, of course, he shouted at me, red in the face, "I hate you!"
Of course it made me angry, but what does the word "hate" really mean to a 9 year-old?
Let's consider some of its uses:

  • "I hate ______!" (insert name of vegetable): This means: I don't like it, I won't try it. You can't make me!
  • "I hate ______!" (insert school subject): This means: It's difficult, or they try to tell me what to do.
  • "I hate Justin Beiber!": This means, I hate Justin Beiber, and really, who can blame him?
  • "I hate cleaning my room!" : This is just an acknowledgement of a universal truth. Everyone hates cleaning. 
  • "I hate you!" : This means, as my mother, you are supposed to love me, even when I scream like this at you. You still love me, right? Wait, I'm going to throw something! Now do you still love me? Wait! I can scream louder! Louder still! I'm still screaming. I can do whatever I want and you still have to feed me breakfast! You can't deny me breakfast! It's illegal! Where's my breakfast? What do you mean I still have to go to school? I'm screaming! 
So, in this short post I have proven when a 9 year old yells, "I hate you!" at his mother, what he really means is "I need a hug." 


Lisa B. said...

If only Obama could do this, this incisive deconstruction, with his detractors. Except when they say, "I hate you Obama!" what they're really saying is "I really really need a beatdown."

lis said...

I'm pretty sure that a lot of what adults say really means "I need a hug!"

ErinAlice said...

Definitely agree with him on Justin Beiber and cleaning. Must be one of those lovely phases he's going through. But he did get mad because he couldn't read so there is that.

Nik said...

I like to imagine son saying these things in robot voice. "You must feed me breakfast. It is illegal not to feed me."
Hugs for everyone today.

Counterintuitive said...

I'm feeling much better about my 15 year old telling me to shut up though not quite sure how he would respond to a hug at that moment.

Meryl Jaffe said...

Wow - well said. I am an educational psychologist and this rings true professionally but mostly as a parent myself.We all hear those words and we all need to remember what you wrote! Thank you.

I hope you visit my parenting blog - I'd love your inupt! My latest blog is on constructive feedback. Hope wo see you there, but regardless, I will come to your blog for more.

Happy Holidays,
Meryl Jaffe PhD

Suzi Q said...

I personally have nothing against Justin Bieber (in fact I don't really think about him all that much), but I do HATE his hair. That hair do. Ack. Someone stop this silliness and get back to nice normal hairdos. (There, I am officially old).