There are going to be times in every parent’s life when your teenager hates you. You can take it to the bank that this can and will happen, probably on a regular basis. How do I know this? I am the parent of a teenager and a pre-teenager that practice this skill with ease. It can be difficult to cope when your teenager hates you, but the following list of things to remember when you are in this situation should make it easier to deal with.
When your teenager hates you, it usually means you are doing your job right. Of course teenagers are going to baulk at rules and the structure you give them — they are teenagers, after all. But the point remains that they need rules and structure and it is our responsibility to give that to them. After all, they aren’t quite as ready to take on the world as they think they are. We have to protect them from themselves.
Your teenager doesn’t hate you, even when they claim very vehemently that they do. They are angry and expressing hatred is their chosen way to deliver this message to you. They do not have the maturity to have an adult conversation with you. And as much as you would like them to hear the wisdom you want to give them, it most likely isn’t going to happen. They have decided that for now, you are the enemy.
Rest assured that your children still do love you in the midst of the turbulent teenage years. They don’t mean to be unloving; they simply are too busy trying to deal with the crazy changes happening to them to show their emotions for you. Sometimes their love will show in a family crisis, showing you the true strength of character that lies beneath their teenage exterior. And on rare occasions, you may get a glimpse of their caring feelings in a hug goodbye or an "I love you" at the end of a text. Cherish those moments when they do happen.
Your teenager feels safe in hating you because they know you love them. They know your love is unconditional no matter what they say or do. This is actually a good thing although it doesn’t feel like it at the time. They are letting you know that you are their safe place. They are confident you can handle their very raw emotions.
It is important to remember that you need to keep the communication lines open with your teenager. They need to know that they can always come to you to talk over any situation and you will hear them. It is important to show them that you will not react with anger when they are honest with you. If you establish this connection with them early on, your teen knows they can always talk to you no matter how tense the situation they find themselves in becomes.
A lot of times our teenagers hate us because they can’t see what we are seeing. We are looking at situations with a mature and balanced view. Your teenager cannot see them this way. They are looking at the situation through a skewed lens that only emphasizes their desires regardless of the cost or risk. These times are times you simply have to hold firm because you do know what is best.
Your teenager will not hate you forever, although it sometimes feels as if they might. Someday they will outgrow this stage of their life where emotions and hormones are calling the shots and actually be able to see reason. Someday you will be able to have a conversation with them that doesn’t involve screaming and slammed doors. They may even, at some date far in the future, thank you for saving them from all of their immature and foolish antics. As hard as this is to believe, it actually does happen.
How do you handle the times when it seems your teenager hates you? Do you allow them their space to vent? Do you try to reason with them? What have you found to be the best solution when you are dealing with a teen?
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