I hate my Parents: Reasons Children Hate Parents and What to Do About it
Minor arguments between parents and children, can end up in all out war. If this continues, without a concerted effort to shift the interpersonal dynamics, when they become adults these children will still say “I hate my parents.” There is a shared responsibility here, which means no one is completely right or completely wrong, because there are different perspectives which are often contradictory.
Here are some of the common reasons children and teenagers say “I hate my parents” and some helpful advice:
They Invade My Privacy –
Expectations of privacy have a double-standard. For example, postings on Facebook are public unless made more private. However; teenagers mistakenly feel the postings are only for friends. Parents gain trust with children and teenagers by being respectful of privacy. A wonderful way to create this trust is to have a privacy promise. Parents need to talk with children about privacy. There is no expectation of privacy for things put in school lockers, or anything in the home. Except parents may agree to a privacy promise such as not walking into a bedroom without knocking, having a lock on the bathroom door, and agreeing not to read a personal diary or journal without permission. Surprisingly, a privacy promise builds trust and creates a more honest relationship which promotes open discussion.
They Tell Me What to Do –
There is a difference between talking with someone and talking at them. When children reach a certain age, it is a natural dynamic for a power struggle to occur. They go from following orders, to rebelling against them. Many times it is very difficult for the parents to make the transition and frustration levels run high. Stay calm, and talk with them.
They Make Me Clean My Room –
This is such a common problem, a response group exists on About.com called, Getting Your Kid or Teen to do Their Chores. It is helpful for parents to read about experiences of other parents facing the same challenges. The good habits of cleanliness and tidiness start early. Younger children respond well to collaborative reward systems and structure. The key to make this work is for parents to participate with their children in the cleaning up process. Two things which don’t work as well are: 1) telling children to clean up their room and leaving them on their own to achieve this, and 2) parents always cleaning up after their children without the children helping. A better approach is collaborative cleaning. This works best when the schedule is a regular one. For example, Saturday is “cleaning” day. Everyone who lives in the house cleans the house. The cleaning is done during the same time together. All the rooms in the house must be tidied up before the work finishes. There is no exception. Children become empowered by selecting which room they want to work on together with parents. Every room in the house is equally important. When the entire house is clean and tidy, it is time for a reward, so everyone goes out for a pizza or ice cream together. This simple approach of group collaborative efforts is amazingly effective because it is participatory and fair. Good patterns like this when established early, while children are young, are easier to continue when children become teenagers.
Everybody wants something for nothing. Unfortunately, the grown up world is not like this. As children get older, teaching responsibility is useful. The first step is showing them how to earn the money for the things they want. Some parents find using a “ticket” system helps where tickets are exchangeable for cash. Tickets are given as rewards for a job well done.
They Won’t Let Me Drive the Car –
Probably one of the greatest fears of parents is an auto accident harming their children. To build up confidence in a teenage person’s ability to drive, one recommendation is to nominate them as the family driver for all family outings, once they have reached a basic level of competence in driving which does not endanger others. This allows them to practice, while the other family members are in the car. It is a confidence builder on all sides.
They Won’t Allow Me to Watch TV or Play Video Games –
Watching TV is a habit and video games frequently become an addiction. In both cases, moderation is the key. If parents lie around the house and watch TV all day, they should not expect their children to be any different. Just like any other addiction there are withdrawals when not using and it is very difficult to stop once started. It becomes a problem when it interferes with other activities to have a negative impact. The only way to moderate this behavior is to put strict limits on it, such as no TV or video games before homework is done, or only allow the activities for a certain amount of time or on certain days of the week.
They Won’t Let Me Get a Tattoo/Piercing –
Many states require a person to be an adult (18 years-old) in order to be able to legally get a tattoo. Some states require parental consent if the person is still a minor. Many states do not allow parental consents for minors. Parents should calmly tell their children they will have the right to make a personal decision about a tattoo or body piercing when they turn eighteen. Combined exploration about the possibilities helps reduce the pressure to do this quickly. Investigating the type of tattoo or piercing together, to talk about it, reduces the conflicts about them. There is no reason to fight, only delay the decision until the appropriate time.
They Won’t Let Me Stay Out Late –
Asking teenagers and children to come home at a specific hour is reasonable; however it is not certain to prevent troubles. An Analysis of U.S. Curfew Laws found the evidence for the effectiveness of curfews is inconclusive. The National Center For Youth Law reports on studies which show an increase in youth crime in the afternoons when curfew laws are in place for nights. Nighttime restrictions shifted behavior to other times of day. Parents should also be aware, just because they get their children to come home, this does not mean the children will not sneak out again, unless there are physical barriers which prevent this.
They Think I’m Using Drugs –
Drug use is a complex issue. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has a very informative website for teens called NIDA for Teens. Almost all teenagers will experiment, and drug use amongst teenagers is still high mostly because of marijuana use. The good news is according to the NIDA DrugFacts use of some drugs by teenagers, such as cigarettes, alcohol, and crack cocaine has gone down. The best way for both parents and teenagers to deal with this complex issue is to have an open dialogue about it.
They Are Stupid –
In order for young people to find out who they are, they define themselves in opposition to their parents as a first step. Teens naturally think parents are embarrassing, stupid, and even will go so far as to tell their parents they hate them and wish they were dead. EmpoweringParents website gives some great advice on what to do, when kids say hurtful things. Their advice is to stay calm, don’t lash back, don’t yell, don’t start a power struggle with the phrase “you can’t talk to me in this way” and don’t give this outburst any more validation than the most minimal calm response. They suggest saying things like “I’m sorry you feel this way, but you still have to do your homework.” Be firm, calm, and do not give these foolish things said any extra power by having an emotional reaction.
They Yell All the Time –
One very common reason why children hate their parents is being yelled at all the time, or observing parents constantly fighting and yelling at each other. Yelling is useless. The louder someone yells, the less the other person hears. All the person being yells at is thinking about is getting even or lashing back. In order to teach children peacefulness and calmness, parents must set a good example by not yelling. Fights and disagreements are inevitable in any family, but yelling is never useful. Better to calm down first. The when calm, address the issues and express feeling in tones and a manner which allows the other person to listen and most importantly listen to the other person as well.
Open, compassionate, life-long love between parents and children is possible. Over time, love overcomes all the barriers. If at times, children hate their parents, this is a normal part of the growing up process. This too shall pass, just continue to love in spite of bad behavior.
I Hate My Parents: What to Do When Your Child Says “I Hate You”
Maybe you’ve been in this situation before. Your child suddenly screams, “I hate my parents!” and you wonder, what did I do? In many ways, this type of reaction by a child is normal. Children need to establish their independence from their parents and will sometimes over-react to even the simplest request. But how do you know when their reaction is normal and when it’s outside the ordinary boundary? Children often react strongly to the attempts by parents to control their behavior. Should you back off in your attempts? Of course not – it is the job of a parent to direct the child. While you may be upset that your child is acting out in such a manner, remember that what they’re feeling may not really have anything to do with you personally. Maybe you’re a strict parent in comparison to those of the child’s friends.
That doesn’t mean you have to change your style to match those of other parents. But if you react to their anger with your own anger, you empower them to behave this way. It is important to stay calm in the face of this storm. Though it may be difficult to stay calm when a child is screaming at you and being irrational, the very fact that your child is communicating with you may even be a good sign. At least they’re getting their feelings out in the open. The way you respond to such negative remarks can be crucial. If you take the situation personally and forget that your child is obviously in pain, you may do serious damage to your relationship. Remember, no child gets that upset without a reason.
Different Responses for Different Age Groups There may be a difference between the anger a child of five experiences and that of a 15-year-old teenager, even if they seem to be similar. The younger child may be reacting to the moment. You didn’t buy them the toy they wanted, or you didn’t let them watch the TV show they were looking forward to. A teenager may be having issues you are not even aware of. If the reason for the child’s anger is not immediately apparent, it’s important to find out what’s going on. However, you can’t always do this at the exact moment they’re angry. Sometimes a child throwing a tantrum in the store who screams “I hate you” because you won’t buy them a puzzle just needs a little time out to calm down. Sometimes trying to resolve a problem with an angry teenager just makes that problem worse. What are the underground reasons for this anger the child is showing? The way to explore this is to take your time and allow the child to calm down so that you can discuss the situation with them in a calm manner, even if that calmness is only on one side.
Why Are They Angry? Think about the possible reasons for their anger. Are you stricter than other parents in the same neighborhood or school? Have you been pushing them to study more or concentrate better in school, when they are obviously having difficulty with this? Are expectations that seem reasonable to you too difficult for your children to live up to? This does not mean that you should change your parenting style. Sometimes kids just need to get their feelings out in the open. Just because you tell your child to come in at 10 o’clock when everyone else they know has little or no curfew doesn’t mean you should change your method of parenting. Children frequently tell their parents that they are the only ones who have such expectations, when in truth all their friends have the same curfews. Maybe you could communicate with other parents to find out what their expectations are. Are you restricting their activities because they are doing poorly in school?
Could there be a problem with school that you’re not aware of. Is your child having difficulty completing schoolwork? Maybe they’re overextended. Many children these days have so many activities that they can’t keep up with all the things they want to do. Or perhaps they are being bullied and you don’t know about it. After they have calmed down, talk to your child and see if you can find a reason for their anger. It may have nothing to do with you, but you are the closest person, so they end up taking it out on you. If your child is having trouble in school to the point where you’re fighting over it on a regular basis, it may be time to have them tested to see if there’s some way to improve their learning skills. The National Center for Learning Disabilities has a comprehensive list of the types of tests used to detect disabilities on their website . Once your child begins to receive assistance for their disability, they may find ways of coping that help their school situation. You may find that as their school environment improves, your relationship will improve as well.
Are Your Expectations Too High? We all want the best for our children and we know that it is crucial to have high expectations. But sometimes even the best of parents expect too much from their children. They may phrase requests for chores or schoolwork in ways that are difficult for the children to bear. Perhaps your child thinks you won’t love them anymore unless they do well in school or unless they clean their rooms. If this is so, they may feel oppressed and sad in your presence. On the website Web M.D., there is a helpful article on how to evaluate your parenting style to see whether you are too strict . Again, it’s not necessary for you to be your child’s best friend. You must never forget you’re the parent. But it might be helpful to reevaluate or rephrase the way you tell them what you want them to do.
How should you react? So how do you react when your child screams, “I hate my parents?” First of all, don’t get angry yourself. Your anger will only increase their insecurity or make them even more frustrated. Give them time to calm down. Your job is to show them how to respond to a temper tantrum without escalating the situation. As the adult, you must model the behavior you want the child to display. Demonstrate that you understand their anger but don’t give in to it.
Reflect back what they have said about why they’re angry. For instance, “You say I’m more strict than your friends’ parents, but you do know that’s only because I care for you so much, don’t you?” Don’t back down in this confrontation. If you tell your child they need to come in at 10 o’clock and they convince you to let them stay out till midnight, you will have convinced them that their inappropriate behavior worked and they’ll do it again. Children often overreact to situations because they haven’t learned to control their emotions. This ability comes with age and is an important part of growing up. So it’s normal when a child is overextended, frustrated or angry about something for them to take it out on the ones closest to them. But when does the situation becomes so serious that you must address it somehow? If your child reacts with violence – for instance, throwing things at you, hitting you, or tearing things up, their reactions may be over the top and may need more response than you can provide through words alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, half of all mental illnesses appears by age 14 . If you feel like your child is out of control, talk to their doctor or healthcare provider. Get some assistance from the school guidance counselor. This type of serious problem can be dealt with but you must address it early. But again, in most cases you will find that your child is reacting in a perfectly normal way by saying they hate their parents. Ask yourself:
- Are you too strict?
- Are there things going on in school you don’t know about?
- Are your expectations unreasonable?
- Is their behavior beyond normal anger? Do you need assistance dealing with the problem?
In general, that old phrase has never been truer, “pick your battles.” Don’t be the kind of parent who wants to “win.” Your child’s anger is not something they can control, but you can control your response and make them feel better. Be the adult in the situation, even though you may feel like you want to scream in response. Remember that demonstrating to your child how they should act in the face of anger will eventually pay off. They will understand the way they’re supposed to behave and with any luck mirror your calmness someday.