Teaching a child to hate

A child in the midst of a brainwashing campaign is learning more than just to despise and think negatively of a parent. He or she is being taught how to hate in general.

If a child is taught to hate or have contempt for his or her own parent, they will start paying attention to the negative aspects rather than the positive. The child won’t notice the good traits or actions of the other parent, but focusses instead on anything that can be framed in a bad light. This is fueled and encouraged by the alienating parent because they do not want to hear the child talk about anything positive about the ex.

Teaching a child to hate is also teaching them how to be a negative person in general. And this takes years of therapy to eventually overcome, if it can be overcome at all.

If a child is taught to despise a parent over perceived personality or parenting “flaws” due to a hostile ex’s brainwashing, this outward hostility doesn’t just stop there. It also moves towards other people the brainwashing parent can’t stand (due mostly to jealousy or fear).

The best example is the targeted parent’s extended family. Not only is the targeted parent badmouthed and maligned, but in most cases so are his or her relatives (and thus the child’s, too). Enlisted in the demonization of the ex and the ex’s family also are any other children the brainwasher might have from another marriage or relationship. The lies never get hoisted only onto the ex’s child or children, they get spread like a manure spreader to every other member of the family tree.

But it doesn’t stop there.

Since most brainwashing parents are very insecure people, they dish out their feelings of disgust towards a lot of people in their lives. And who picks up on these feelings? The child who has to listen to it (the only children who can rise above the badmouthing are teenagers who who are harder to convince, especially over people they have known their entire life).

Over many months and years, a child can’t help but share the brainwashing parent’s beliefs and contempt. It’s hatred that’s been taught to the child, and instilled in their very core (and this isn’t severe child abuse?). You can think of this indoctrination as a hate bootcamp.

What happens next, over time, is these children see other people– not just the parent they’ve been taught is bad– through the abusive parent’s eyes. Labels are quickly thrown on people, and if the parent is a narcissist (view this post on narcissistic parents), watch out. Their kids will also absorb many of their toxic traits.

Don’t underestimate how closely our actions as parents are watched, and eventually mimicked, by our kids. If you tend to yell, they yell. If you beat them with a belt, they’ll lash out physically at others as well. If you lie a lot, don’t expect them to be amazing little truth tellers. So it doesn’t take much effort for a parent who’s hating an ex-wife or ex-husband to get his or her young child to join in fully on the hatred bandwagon.

Kids develop into adults through a combination of their own inherent nature (DNA) and nurture (parenting), but when they’ve been marinating in false feelings of hatred for a decade or more, it’s extremely difficult to reverse even for an experienced therapist. The damage to their psyche is tremendous, and the perpetrators of this abuse are committing an evil act.

Teaching a kid to hate is child abuse, and the only remedy for these young and innocent victims is to remove them from that abusive home. Unfortunately, this is a major uphill battle to undertake, as family courts, CPS, and child therapists today simply don’t understand this form of abuse.

Mental child abuse is the most common form of child abuse in America, and the most difficult to stop” – BrainwashingChildren.com


About John

John Thomas Steinbeck is a parental alienation consultant. He and his son's relationship was under attack in a deplorable campaign of parental alienation. In this blog, John shares his insights, techniques, and tools in combating emotional child abuse. He did it-- today his son's love has been restored-- and you can too!
  • Nicole

    My mother has done this… I know I am a negative person, but I do try to put on a happy face.
    She has stripped me of my emotions and any dignity I had. Basically I’m numb. I don’t often get excited, happy, sad or loving. I’m just a vegetable in emotions. And I hate how hard it is to try and love. My fiance has been putting back the pieces with me and I am starting to open up again. But it has been about 2 years. And I don’t really consider myself even 25% close. But I am getting there. I wish people would do something about the issue of what these parents are doing. How it affected me was pretty bad. But I can’t imagine someone worse. I know it’s out there. But I wish it wasn’t…

  • Faye

    This is happening to my 13 year old daughter. She has been turned against me by my ex and his girlfriend. I have not seen her in 5 months and have only talked to her on the phone once. We went to mediation and they said, “you can’t make a teen do what they don’t want to do”…. And my daughter told her school counselor that she would kill herself if she was made to come home with me. So they called her dad to go get her…. That’s the last I saw of her. I am completely heart broken and helpless….

  • I totally agree I’m experiencing that now and all my visits have been cut off and my son is saying something totally different from before

  • Susan

    I went through total humiliation, lies, from family courts and lost custody of my daughter. I just continue to pray everyday for the oppressed to be restored back to their families. I blog to help encourage others who may be weak in their faith to beleive justice will be served. Keep crying out to God who hears our cries and answers our prayers.

  • Allison

    My ex husband (or soon to be) has been doing this on and off with my 5 year old son. He is the step father to my son but the only father that has consistantly been in his life. I am really starting to worry and figure out what I can do to stop this. I am so sad for my son. He loves his dad but when ever he comes home from visits he says and asks all kinds of inappropriate questions for a five year old. These are conversations his father should not be having with him or in front of him. I am heart broken and stressed out! I need to do something but don’t know what to do…

  • Mindy

    Soketimes this does happen in reverse, as Allison said, by the visiting parent. I stopped my sons from seeing Dad when he stopped paying support (it was never court ordered, I I figured he’d do the right thing) and then my 5yr old came home and called his step dad a d—head.


    that sounds like your fault there mindy, why would you cut your kid off for money? Dad’s relationships with the kids are purely financial now?

  • Pingback: Teaching a child to hate | Parents civil rights()

  • John Oral

    Some people deserve not to see their child or children Mr. Apte and I agree with you 100 percent. BUT NOT ME!!!! Look at the other side making these allegations and their motivation to make these allegations your honor. Give me back my only child. I promise you that is the right decision and I promise you that you will be appalled at the other side for taking my son away from me for this long. This story will go public I assure you that your honor because the system doesn’t work, it is flawed and it takes an innocent father away from his child. Anyone can get an injunction against anyone these days. The first judge made a huge mistake by taking my son away from me, please do not do the same here. My ex’s attorney knowingly lied to the court to get what he wants and this is being exposed right now as we speak with the Florida Bar. Trust me when I tell you I am all in, I AM ALL IN. I want justice and I want the truth to come out ASAP. THe more you wait and extend this injunction the more unjust this becomes. . You can take my life for all I care your honor , just as long as my son knows the truth.

  • Joe Goldberg

    …Father’s Day, What Father’s Day ? ……..
    How Parental Alienation Effects Father’s Today
    ……………..By Joseph Goldberg, 2012…………………
    This is an important article for Grandfathers as
    well as for fathers.
    I am spoofing the title of this article from a good
    friend of mine, Chaim Steinberger. He wrote a very
    insightful and brilliant journal article on Parental
    Alienation that he called, “ Father, What Father ? “
    I decided to write about this holiday because many
    father’s will be hurting when it arrives. They won’t
    be getting to see their child or receive a call or any
    cards or any other acknowledgement because their
    children are alienated and that means come Sunday
    they’ll be rejected for very unjustified reasons.
    For some dad’s who will be waiting to see their kid
    because a court order forces them to go, don’t be
    surprised when they show up- only to tell you they
    don’t want to be with you or only to say,” I hate
    you “… don’t expect them to change,,, that’s why its
    called a parental alienation dynamic.
    I am writing my article just for fathers and for
    grandfathers, but the rest of you will hopefully
    also appreciate the message.
    You know the old saying, “ Silence is deafening. “
    Well it’s deafening for a reason, and as another old
    saying goes, “ Everything happens for a reason. “
    Even though you may not be getting their affection
    on Sunday, it doesn’t mean your child isn’t at least
    thinking of you, and because they are alienated and
    unable to express to you that you’re not forgotten …
    and that they do love you, let me be the first one to
    remind you of that fact. Your kids do love you, and
    you’re not forgotten because Sunday, is also a very
    painful holiday reminder for them.
    It’s painful to them to be without you because every-
    where they go and see a father with his son or, with
    his daughter; laughing, hugging, or kissing, smiling
    at each other, going out to lunch together, to dinners
    or a movie, driving together, talking on a cell phone,
    texting, meeting up somewhere, it reminds them
    that it’s also not them being with you.
    Every time they turn on their TV that day, flip open
    their computer, listen to the radio, they will hear
    that it’s Father’s Day, and every time they pass by
    a store there will be an item for sale saying it’s
    Father’s Day, and they didn’t get you your present.
    They didn’t get to say, “ you’re my dad “ and then
    the words, `” I love you. “ They’ll try and block it
    out but how do you block out the sky, the ground
    below…. how do you erase the touch on your skin
    or what you feel deep in your bones ? It’s a psycho-
    logical skeleton.
    Denial is a fixated condition for alienated
    children, so is breathing. Memories of love for
    father are never really erased they’re just
    buried below the surface and those memories
    will resurface on this Sunday, Father’s Day.
    Take comfort in the fact that your picture may
    not be in a frame next to their bed or on the wall
    in their mom’s house, but they are not deleted
    from their memory. It is also hard to ignore
    mother trying to pretend how much better off
    they are without you, while the look on her face
    also reminds them she can’t be the father they’re
    missing out on today.
    No matter what stepfather tries to take your
    place after you got replaced, displaced and
    erased, nothing is ever going to hold back their
    feelings of loss because they’re connected to
    their father when they see themselves in a
    mirror. Some likeness of you is something in
    their DNA that they can see in their own face.
    Not only are there painful memories there
    are probably more than a few good ones.
    Like the time you took them to a show, or
    watched them at a school performance,
    or played some game with them, played
    with your pet, took them to visit your
    parents, cooked a meal for them, these
    memories are also resurfacing around them.
    Imagine how it must feel for them to watch
    their friends getting together with their dads
    and how they have to explain or avoid talk-
    ing about you not being around on Father’s
    Day. Imagine anyone else trying to act as a
    substitute for the father they are missing in
    their lives and never saying,
    “ Why don’t you call your dad today ? “
    How is their behaviour going to be memorial-
    ized in the future ?
    Father’s Day, is something I feel long after my
    own father has passed away. You don’t have
    to actually be around to be remembered and
    to be loved. I don’t need to feel bad about the
    father’s day I am not spending with him this
    Sunday, I will be thinking about all the good
    times with my dad and I know that your child-
    ren might want you to believe that they don’t
    love you back, but that’s just denial talking.
    You’re as much a part of their life as you
    have ever been ( even more so ) and not
    because of being present, but because
    of being absent. Believe it because we
    know from all the social science research
    that this is truly how alienated children
    are feeling.
    I feel my father is with me now even though
    he passed more than 15 years ago. I was
    alienated from him by a mother that
    extinguished him from my life, but not
    forever. We made up for all the lost time
    and years of alienation that was stolen from
    us both.
    In the Jewish religion when a loved parent
    dies we say prayers, Kaddish, and we light a
    candle in memory of the parent. Perhaps as
    a way to remember that you are still a
    parent you should light a candle and keep
    it burning all day, on Father’s Day.
    Say a prayer of love, memorialize your
    feelings of loss and perhaps to help be
    forgiving so anger does not take over
    the better part of judgment in your life.
    As a targeted, rejected parent remember the
    good parts of the person you are and remain
    and strive to lift yourself up, don’t let any-
    thing change that belief in your-self because
    sometimes all we have is ourselves to believe
    in, and in truth that’s the one person whose
    opinion counts the most.
    For more educational information please visit

  • sailing saraha

    I am not or i don,t have any idea what you all are saying or doing , not that i am debulking your side but,,If you can get in touch with her i would , write her and be honest totally honest on your part but don,t say anything about whats wrong with her thats between adults , let her know that you and her father are not getting along ,but we want the best for you ,this is what you can do tell her you love her and ask her why she said what she said and tell her to be honest with others . Get her to talk to you what she thinks about all this. tell her that this talk will be bewteen me and you no one else.

  • Marit Richards

    This is true with my boyfriend of going on 7 years and his ex-wife. It is so bad that their eldest son will probably spend his entire life in and out of prison and their daughter is going to be lucky if she lives long enough to pull het head out of her behind and finish raising her children due to chronic meth addiction and domestic violence that the children are exposed to as though it is normal in all households. The mother is so obbessed with staying in my boyfriends life and so angry that all her attempts to break us up failed she began her campaigne turning them against us…especially attacking me. She is a master munipulator with her children and the children are very protective of her. That is often how it works. Unfortunately these children are adults now having children and are ubable to see how toxic the enviorment is for small children. They have learned to make excuses for her and treat het as if shr were the victim. It is sad and difficult to see these little kids with so much potential and sweet as they can be, being raised that way. If the parents don’t straighten up they could not only alienate those children from a healthy relationship with their grandfather but even risk losing them because of their own addictions. They can’t see what they are doing. They are both now in their twenties and are both parents now. The mother helps the son rob people and gives him drugs to sell to earn extra money and instructs him to lie about me when he gets arrested and tell athorities that it was me that turned him on tovdrugs. She and her daughter are so addicted to drugs they are more like buddies then parent and daughter. The daughter will defend her because she loves her mother. The mother can munipulate those closest to her pretty easy. She is ALWAYS a victim no matter what and her children believe it. It is a tuff situation to be in. My boyfriend has even been threatened by his children…being told he will not get to see his grandsons if he doesn’t meet hdaughters demands. It never seems to lighten up for long. The trouble always gets worse when hisvex-wife is between realtionships. That is often. She has been engagedcseveral times in 6 years and never gets married. I wish there was a form of counseling available close to us that could help all of us for our sake and for the sake of his grandchildren. They are both very smart and capable young adults with loads of potential and need help but how do you help them?

  • Coleen McCarthy

    I went through a horrible experience yesterday. A childhood friend that I haven’t seen in 18 years but became friends with on facebook this past October all of a sudden lashed out on me and said I belittled her years ago. I never did that! She called me mental and her anger was bad. I was hurt and said if that is so why did you become my friend on facebook? Her mother years ago I was told by my own mother who was friends with her that this woman was a jealous mother. I believe that at age 6 and I was 13 at the time the mother talked behind my back and made her daughter hate me deep down. She kept saying I was so beautiful and never said that about the 6 year old. Also she had mixed race while everyone else was full white. Back then interacial babies were not accepted by full white blood relatives. So this cute little girl grew up to hate. On her facebook she keeps trying to prove that mixed race is good. This mother poisoned this daughter and like it says above you cannot cure these people. It is best to not associate with such toxic people. She has a Mariah Carey race story and she said I am white and that is why I will never understand her. I felt like crying. I now took her off my facebook. Her mother used a form of brainwashing back then. I never did anything to hurt this girl. In fact we put her on a pedestal then because she was so cute and sweet.

  • Coleen McCarthy

    I have seen this on Steve Wilkos. Some parents accuse the other spouse of molesting their child. Some are proven true while others are proven not true. When the lie detector test is done it proves the spouse didn’t do that. Meanwhile the child keeps saying they did. In that case the child was coaxed and brainwashed. I never thought this was possible until my experience yesterday. Then I realized this 6 year old was mentally abused by her mother. She is still friends with her mother today but there are underlying issues. It is something I never experienced before until yesterday. I have no children.

  • n cornel

    I agree with this article. Teaching a child to hate has lifelong ramifications. My daughter lived with her father from the age of 12 until she went to college. He moved her away and the court in California was no help to me so I did not have visitation. Instead of seeing me, my daughter wanted me to give her money or gifts and she learned (very effectively) to hate me. We spent very little time together. My exhusband was from a dysfunctional (drug addicted) family and he was in an orphanage when he was 12 years old so his mental health was compromised. My daughter is now 38 years old and an extremely unhappy person. She has few healthy relationships with anyone. She started speaking to me and even visiting me at about the age of 26 but she often would bring up money as she felt entitled that I give her money. I have tried all these years to have a relationship with her but nothing has really worked. She is very critical of me and does not notice my good traits. I have received emails from her which are hate-filled. I think this kind of damage to a child is life changing. I have moved on with my life and remarried and have another daughter who is older and who was not as damaged by the high conflict divorce because she was out of the house. My ex husband “won” but in return he has a 38 year old daughter who is depressed, angry, and extremely unhappy. She also has no relationships that work in her life. It is very, very sad. My ex husband has never admitted he did anything to cause the alienation. He is sort of a Donald Trump kind of person. Very, very sad.

  • Sally

    I know the feeling. My ex has completely lied to my daughter and turned her against me. Telling her how I cheated in our marriage. Meanwhile he is a two time convicted felon for grand larceny and just came out of the closets. People used to tell me they thought he was gay all the time but I couldn’t believe it .. I mean he was married and we had kids! He created a fake family but somehow he made her believe I’m the liar?? I am heartbroken as well and there is just no talking to her. She is just nasty to me.

  • This happens way too often. My ex-wife taught my three children to hate me. The things they would say and write about me made me look like a monster. None of them were true. Then a few years later, CPS took my daughter away from my ex-wife, and I fought to get her back. Now she lives with me, and the change in her is nothing short of miraculous. We have an amazing relationship. Unfortunately, my sons are still with my ex-wife, and they still hate me. I know it would be different if I could just spend some time with them. But it doesn’t look like that will ever happen. Aiden and Seth, I miss you so much.

  • Diane Smith

    What do you do when the father thinks he needs to be a friend and not a parent? But criticizes everything you do as a mom.

  • Diane Smith

    I am going through this right now. My ex husband is constantly getting onto me when I say some thing to our son. Saying things like I am wrong I shouldn’t try to teach my 12 year old son to have responsibilities or to clean his room or pick up his own dirty clothes when he pulls them off in the front room and leaves them. He just states mom will get them and when I don’t then I am in the wrong.

  • ABE F

    Hi Walter , thanks for sharing your story . glad you got your princess back and i pray your 2 other kids would be in a safer place . could you please elaborate on why CPS took the daughter away from the mother and when they did , the mother was obviously either unfit or abusive towards the daughter …so why the other two children were allowed to be with her ..a bit confusing

  • Hi Abe, I would be happy to. My ex was homeschooling all three children for the last few years. When I say homeschooling, I really mean “she left them at home alone to do their schooling via computer”. For some reason she decided to send my daughter to public school that year. Less than three weeks into the year, my daughter showed up with bruises on her face. CPS was called, and it was discovered that my daughter and ex-wife had gotten into a tussle.

    My ex had a habit of antagonizing someone until they lost their temper, and then playing the victim. She’d start doing it verbally, and if that didn’t work, she’d move on to pinching, hair-pulling, or arm-squeezing. Not enough to cause injury, but enough to push someone over the edge. Then, when that person lost them temper, she would be “forced to restrain them”. This time my daughter got bruised up during the restraining process.

    Georgia DFCS decided this constituted abuse. But apparently since the abuse did not involve my sons, they were not part of the investigation. They claimed that their hands were tied. I have fought and fought to get them to do something, but since there is no serious overt abuse or neglect, they will do nothing. It’s frustrating.

    On a side note, my daughter has been with me over a year now. I have never needed to restrain her, or lay my hands on her in any way. Neither one of us has lost our temper with the other.

  • There is no reason why a 5 year old should know anything about child support. That is an adult issue.

  • Hi ABE F, thank you for commenting. It’s good to know that there are people that care. I
    will try to answer your question as best as I can.

    The reason I don’t have my sons is as much a mystery to me as it is
    to you. After the arson, my wife moved to north Georgia. She had all
    three children with her at the time, and she used my daughter’s mental
    health as a pretext for moving. The judge gave her temporary permission
    to relocate, and she immediately bought a home there. Florida chose
    not to pursue arson charges, so the case was never prosecuted.

    While in Georgia, the turmoil between my daughter and Jennifer
    increased, with Jennifer increasing her abuse and Haley increasingly
    fighting back. Finally Jennifer decided to send Haley to public school.
    That was where the abuse was discovered. Georgia DFCS removed Haley
    from Jennifer’s home, but did not remove the two boys. Once in DFCS
    custody, Haley requested contact with me. Since I had been awarded
    visitation in Florida, I was granted visitation to see Haley in Georgia.
    At first, Jennifer began working with DFCS to get Haley back, but when
    she found out that Haley was to have contact with me, she stopped all
    contact with Haley, and stopped cooperating with DFCS in any way. I
    continued to work with DFCS and eventually was awarded custody.

    Unfortunately Jennifer was never prosecuted for abusing Haley (I have an entire blog entry detailing that here: https://walter-singleton.com/2016/10/26/naming-the-failures-lt-steve-blevins/),
    and DFCS did not want to follow up with my sons, because in their
    words, “they had no jurisdiction over the boys”. After much hassling
    they did agree to continue to provide services, but would not give me
    any information about it. And that’s where the situation dead-ends.

  • Draco Welcovich

    Hi. I’m going through a divorce right now. My wife currently has custody of the children because of a false accusation of abuse. She is practicing severe parental alienation on my two young daughters. In fact she has been doing it for years right under my nose. She wouldn’t let them spend any time with me even before I left. She has even gone so far as to demonize my family to include my 6 year old niece. My daughters went from sweet little girls that told me they loved me to disrespectful children filled with hatred toward me and everyone in my family. To make things worse they are homeschooled and have absolutely no friends. Mommy keeps them in her sight at all times. They never are around anyone except their mommy and her bipolar, substance abusing mother. I fear I have lost my children forever.

  • Sorry man, that’s hard. I hope things turn around for you. I know how much it hurts to see your children warped and abused by someone who uses them to hurt you.