Mom Asks For Help After Revealing Her 4-Year-Old Daughter 'Hates' Her And Prefers Her Stepmom

She was hurt by what her daughter said, but it probably doesn't mean what she thinks it does.

mom talking to crying little girl fizkes / Shutterstock

Relationships between parents and children are often complicated. However, many people expect this complicated stage to come later in life. It’s not quite so prevalent during the toddler years when kids are still cuddly and loving.

Unfortunately for one mom, her daughter has expressed some conflicting emotions about their relationship at just four years old.

A mom said her four-year-old daughter told her she ‘hates’ her and likes her stepmom more.

A mother posted to the Parenting subreddit to ask for advice after having a difficult conversation with her little girl.


The mom provided some background information so readers would understand her situation. “Her dad [and I] have been split up since she was 6 [months] old,” she explained. “Her dad is super great with her and has also been in a relationship with a woman who is also really great with her. I’m thankful for that. We have 50/50 [custody].”

RELATED: Mom Throws A First Birthday Party With No Food Or Games & Asks Guests To Donate $5 Each To Renovate Their Backyard In Lieu Of Gifts


The woman went on to explain that her daughter has a very different reaction when she is picked up by her father than when she picks her up.

“For the last year or so, though, she will cry inconsolably when I come to pick her up from her dad’s. She doesn’t do this when he picks her up. She’s always ready to leave with him,” she said. “Recently, she cried and threw a huge fit when I picked her up from preschool. It was super embarrassing, but I just picked her up, put her in the car, and went home.”



That’s when the truth came out.


“I then asked her what was going on, and she said she just missed her stepmom,” she said. “It really hurt my feelings. Later, she said she doesn’t like me, but she likes her dad, and that I make her sad. I’m so confused. I gave her a hug and told her I loved her, but I’m still super bothered by this.”

A child doesn’t necessarily mean it when they say they hate you.

While it can be incredibly upsetting and disheartening for your child to tell you they hate you or don’t like you, there’s a good chance they don’t actually feel that way. According to Very Well Family, this is actually just a way to express big emotions.

Dr. Siggie Cohen, a child development specialist, told the outlet, “‘I hate you’ has become one of the most obvious ways in which kids project strong, reactive, and painful emotions of anger, frustration, and disappointment, outwardly aiming to ‘hurt’ their parents with such bold statements in order to cause them that same ‘pain’ they are feeling inside.”



RELATED: Mom Explains Why She Sometimes Makes A Specific Meal For Dinner That No One Else In Her Family Likes


Psychological evidence suggests that kids who say they hate or dislike their parents don’t mean what they’re actually saying.

Rather, they are trying to find a way to express the pain and discomfort they are feeling themselves. And, since they are so young, it’s the only way they know how to do it.

Reddit commenters agreed that the child didn’t really mean what she said.

One fellow Reddit user backed up the medical evidence with her own experiences. “When my step-daughter was four, she used to always tell her dad that she didn’t love him and only loved mommy at pick up on transition day,” she said. “But five minutes into being at our house, she was normal and happy … Your daughter is so little. She has no concept of two different houses and what that all means.”



“Your little one doesn’t hate you!” added another mom. “She’s struggling with transitions and it’s completely normal with children in blended families.”


While this mom was certainly hurt by her daughter’s attitude and words, it’s likely that she didn’t mean anything serious by it.

As she grows and matures, she’ll learn more fitting ways to express her emotions.

RELATED: Stay-At-Home Mom Asks If She'd Be 'Selfish' To Hire A Nanny For Her 2-Year-Old So She Can Pursue Her Hobbies


Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.