Answer by Thomas Zerbarini:
First of all, you should never tell a child you hate them–ever! That kind of comment has a crushing blow to a child who unconditionally loves their parents. Children will typically direct that comment inward and think that there is something wrong with them. It's just not good parenting.
We all get angry and frustrated in our lives as parents and we may "snap" sometimes and overreact. The important thing to remember is that our children are watching us and learning from us all the time. How we deal with our feelings is an important lesson to teach our children.
It's okay to show anger, and if you have to, remove yourself from the room and calm down away from your kids. If you do overreact and/or snap, it is important not to lash out at your kids or tear them down emotionally. You can still teach them an important lesson on how to handle "losing control" of your feelings by talking with them after you calm down.
When you do calm down, talk with your children and tell them that you were wrong and that you overreacted. (children need to hear that parents can be wrong too.) Apologize for saying any mean things and that you did not mean it and that it was wrong for you to do that. Explain how you felt and that you could have handled it a better way by not overreacting. Be sure to give them a hug and tell them that you love them.
I have overreacted with my son once and I felt terrible just moments after. About 10 minutes later I went to my son and my other children that witnessed my anger and gave them a big hug. I apologized to my son for overreacting and hollering at him. I explained that his behavior made me very upset and that other things during my day made me very upset too and I just got overwhelmed with anger at that moment. I told him that I loved him very much and that I would do my best to be aware of my frustrations building inside me and remove myself to calm down if I had to.
We did talk about his bad behavior as well. He may not have completely understood everything; but, he did understand that adults get angry too, that I will always love him and that his feelings are safe to express.
I hope that helps for you. It works well for me and my children and I really notice that they can express themselves and that they know they will be held accountable for their tantrums, or "snaps."