My 4 year old is very prideful and stubborn. He is in a Catholic pre-school and is taught about God there. Anyway, when I talk to him about God he tells me he hates God. The only thing in the world he will admit that he loves is his Mommy. I tell him that God gave him his Mommy and everything else that is good, but he still says he hates God. I do not think this is typical behavior. Should I be concerned or just right it off as his personality?
Have you asked him why he says this? Do you have an idea of why he says it?
Yes, I think you should be concerned. Talk to a professional in child counseling. This is not in the range of normal for a 4 year old.
Sure he does. Bet he hates at least one vegetable, too. Bet he’s not fond of bedtime.
At four, if ________ causes extra work, interference with what the child wants to do, or inconvenience to a particular child (not all- thank goodness), then he or she “hates” it.
Your son doesn’t have a grasp on the magnitude of the word “hate”. And he knows Mommy. He sees her, can touch her, can hear her voice. Mommy’s real. The concept of God can be hard for some children, because God is not all that tangible to a four year old.
My granddaughter developed hand and arm atrophy every time she had to write her name or print a word. She developed a weakened brain for memorization when it came to time to memorize or recite the Pledge of Alliegance or prayers. Mass involved getting dressed and staying clean for about an hour, until we got home and got Sunday Breakfast (as opposed to a drink of milk and little roll to sustain her before Mass). And these things were “hated”. I am sure she would have said she “hated” God, except she liked our priest, and was convinced that when he put on his “tablecloth” (casuble), he became God (which is as close to in persona christi as most 4 year olds will get).
You can try to reason with him, but you won’t get far. I am sure he has figured out that the “hate” God pushes your buttons.
In my opinion: Your best is to calmly and simply tell him that he may “hate” God, but God does not hate him, and you certainly don’t hate God. And no matter what God-activity is about to happen (grace, night prayers, Mass), he will be doing those things. Period. Nothing else will happen until they are accomplished. The food will not be passed to him, the story will not be read and tuck-ins happen, the fun of Sunday will not commence, until the God-activity is completed. He doesn’t have to be happy about it. He just has to do it. And as long as he doesn’t throw a temper (which should escalate you into a temper consequence of the highest mangitude), keep going on with the God-activity. When the God-activity is completed, go on with whatever is next.
He will probably outgrow it, too.
But see what Dr. Ray has to say if what I said doesn’t make sense.
At 4 years old, he doesn’t understand what he is saying. Just let it go and don’t make an issue of it. In a few months, if not weeks, he’ll have forgotten all about it.
The best way for a 4-year-old to learn to love God is by simple family routines: Sunday Mass, grace before meals, bedtime prayer, and basic instruction (God loves us, God made the flowers and Spot and Fluffy, etc.) Heavy discussions are not age-appropriate.
Yeah, I don’t think he really understands what he is saying. It is just that I do not even force God on him, my opinion is that that will often drive children away from God. I just want to teach them about God and be an example to them and encourage them to get to know him. I don’t make him come to Church with me or anything, although he does choose to come sometimes. I do not try to have heavy discussions with him, I just try to give him an idea of God. Actually it is prolly his general attitude(stubborn, prideful, defiant) that worries me more than him saying he hates God. He will actually tell me he hates me too, but occasionally he will admit he loves me but he tells me that it is a secret. He never says he hates Mommy, even if she is punishing him and he is mad at her. I wish I knew what was going on in his head.
My 4 year old says the exact same thing sometimes. He is going to a Catholic preschool too. I think he is just trying to see how I respond to what he says. I try not give him any positive or negative reinforcement, so I stay pretty calm and nonchalant about it. I just reassure him that God loves HIM. I also let him know all of the wonderful things that God has given to us. He actually does talk about God an awful lot these days, like he is really wanting to figure him out.
4 year olds discover buttons and how they work, and enjoy nothing so much as dropping words and comments that push those buttons. consider it a necessary state in their mental growth.
:yup: Very true!