By the time children hit the school age, they probably have a better handle on anger and should be acting out less than they did as a preschooler. Even so, they are still likely to lash out verbally now and then — especially about perceived injustices (“Why do I have to go to bed when Adam gets to stay up until nine? I hate you!”).
When that happens, they need their father’s help deciphering their feelings — and dealing with them. When your youngsters blurt, “I hate you!” resist the urge to tell them that they don’t mean it, which belittles their very real feelings. And though you may be tempted to respond with, “Well, I love you,” this will only shame them. Instead, label their emotions without judging them: “You seem angry. You really want to stay up longer.”