Many more times than you’d like to count, you have heard your teen say how much he/she “hates you.” While most times this is just teen angst, sometimes it isn’t. Your teen, just like you, experiences the full spectrum of emotions and he/she may have negative feelings toward you. So, yes, it’s very likely your teen may actually dislike you. But why? This article will look at seven reasons why your teen may dislike you and what you can do to become a better parent.
#1 “Do As I Say, Not As I Do” Is A Response You Use
Even at young ages, kids are smart. They know when you’re calling bull, so try to avoid this. By saying one thing and doing another, you are erasing your credibility. If you find yourself saying this phrase all the time, change your habits by either practicing what you preach or admitting your actions and words don’t match. Don’t just stop there, work on the issue so your teen will know you aren’t complacent. This builds a lot more credibility and helps your teen see you as a flawed human rather than a hypocrite. When you are able to change this perception your bond with your teen can strengthen.
#2 Your Teen Is Your Confidant
Though you have a strong relationship with your teen, they are not supposed to be your confidant. This behavior can often occur in a marriage that has a lot of discontent and in a single-parent household. If you are about to discuss all the miseries of your significant other, finances, or difficulties with your job, remind yourself this is a teen and they are not the right person to discuss these adult issues with.
When you confide in your teen, you place him/her in the role of an adult and he/she may begin to feel responsible for solving these issues. This responsibility to “save the marriage” or “pay the bills” will cause your teen stress and anxiety that isn’t theirs to bear. Rather than placing your teen in this position, develop adult friendships you can use to vent about your no-good significant other and money woes. Your teen is a child and so should have the stresses of childhood like school, exams, and acne.
#3 Inconsistency Is Your Consistency
Mood changes are a natural part of our lives, but if your teen doesn’t know if they’re going to get cool dad or dad-bomb, there’s a problem. This lability of mood can create resentment and distrust in your relationship. Focus on underlying issues that may be bothering you and keep those away from your children. Journal about your feelings or join a support group to release these pent-up emotions that make you so mercurial.
#4 Your Teen Is Your Courier
When your marriage is on the rocks or your divorce is sitting in pieces at the bottom of the cliff, you may want to (or have to) stay in contact with your significant other. Your daughter’s visiting mom so she can send her a message, no big deal. Except it is. This breeds a lot of turmoil within your child as he/she is forced to be the bridge between his/her two warring parents. Your child may now have to either listen to your significant other talk bad about you or get in a fight defending you. Instead, speak with your significant other directly and leave your child out of it.
To strengthen your relationship, apologize to your teen and make sure they know you will handle the communication from now on. This will build their trust in you.
#5 You Hold Your Children From Their Other Parent
When the reasons you won’t let your children visit your significant other aren’t related to safety or practical issues, but your anger, this is a problem. Your teen loves both of you and it isn’t his/her fault you broke up, so please don’t punish your teen. Speak with your significant other, re-establish trust, and create a visiting schedule. Without these two things, the only person you’re hurting is your teen. After these issues are resolved, your child can take a break from missing his/her other parent and their feelings of resentment towards you.
#6 Conditional Love Is The Norm
If you have given your teen any idea they must behave well to get your love, this can breed resentment and anxiety. If they believe they will lose your love, they may be frightened to grow into themselves. You may have not intentionally placed this thought in your child, but you can rectify it by assuring your teen you love them regardless of what they do and how they express themselves. If they do behave badly, make sure you speak about their “bad behavior” and never say you don’t love them.
#7 You Hover Like A Low-hanging Fruit
Not giving your teen enough space to become themselves can also breed negative feelings. Your teen doesn’t want you looking over his/her shoulder all the time or telling them exactly what to do. They want to come to you when they have a question, get a quick answer, and then go about their day. No one likes to be micromanaged. Think of some of the things you say “no” to and write them down. Which of these can you say “yes” to and give your teen some more space? Lessening overprotectiveness isn’t practical in all cases, but in many, it is a great way to become closer to your teen.
The goal of this introspective look into your relationship with your teen is to become a better parent, not hold yourself to an unrealistic standard. Take it slow and implement any changes needed one at a time. Listen to your teen and try to see things from his/her point of view. You’ll find your teen may not hate you but is struggling with some of your behaviors.