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Feeling like my kids hate me is something I have started to expect. This article will help you avoid mistakes when those painful words come out. Don’t push away, be the grown-up and still love them. It just happens… let’s talk about what to do when your kids say….
This post was originally written in 2016, but is just as true today.
I hate you mom!
Those four little words spark quite a lot of venom in a mom’s heart. It’s a hard time when you feel like there are nothing but negative feelings and hurtful words.
I mean, after all, you brought them into the world, you have fed and clothed them since day one. All they should have is love and gratitude in their hearts, right?
The thing is, there are times I’m not so fond of my kids either. I would daresay that hate may have crept into my heart with my 15-year-old lately. Teen years can be rough on a daily basis. Sometimes I feel like I’m giving a full-court defense as to why he needs to put his phone away (the horror). It can feel like a big deal, but the important thing is to remember you aren’t a bad parent and they aren’t a bad kid.
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BTW I have a whole podcast about what to do when you’re just mad at your kids — it obviously happens, what do we do about it?
My Kids Hate Me
My kids have gotten mad at me and may have spouted these four words since they were at a young age.
I’m the mom who has stood firm for hard things since they were small. It’s definitely a power struggle.
I’ve had to go to work when they wished I would stay home.
I’ve had to take away things that they weren’t being appropriate with them.
I’m not the funnest person to be your mom, sometimes.
And then, they often get tired, hungry, cold, hot, sad, feisty or mad. Because they are humans who wish the world bowed to their wishes at every turn.
And those things sometimes irk them to the point that they scream “ I HATE YOU MOM!” and run away.
And that, my friends, is fine. Because it is likely at that moment I’m not so fond of them either.
Yes, I do wish they’d say “Mom, I’m just not loving you right now, I’d like some alone time.”
Or, “Mom, I’m just really hot right now, I think I’ll get a cool glass of water and go take a time out.”
But frankly, I might as well be looking for the blue fairy if I’m hoping they’ll say stuff like like that.
I know, as well as you do, that sometimes screaming “I HATE YOU” just gets out those emotions in a way that just feels good. There are a lot of possible reasons they might say hurtful things, but there is a good chance they don’t mean it. They are still learning to handle their own emotions and communication skills. Kids have their own feelings and sometimes the only way they know how to deal with a difficult situation isn’t the kind of behavior you want from them.
Related Post: Preparing for a second baby
What them telling me they hate me really means?
As I said above –them hating me is truly them expressing discomfort with their current situation, and blaming me for that.
Once I, as the adult, realize this — it makes those words a lot more easy to take!
Why Toddlers hate you
These kids have VERY little language in those little tongues of theirs. This just happens to be one of the words they’ve mastered.
Beyond a lack of vocabulary, it can often be a parenting fail on your part of expecting too much.
It can also just be a life lesson that they are learning the hard way. That can be hard, and they are blaming you for that discomfort. We do this too — sometimes at husbands or God.
It’s natural, if not annoying.
Why Younger Children Hate You
Little kids are learning SO much about social situations, and slowly realizing that everyone else has better parents — or at least that every family has their own rules and routines.
Also, logical consequences happen. They are hard to take, and letting them sit in the discomfort…
They might have words for you. Sadly.
Why Tweens/Teens Hate You
What little kids are learning, teens/tweens have firmly in their eyesight.
The grass is always greener. The parents are always nicer at another house.
And that’s OK, because I am sure you’ve been the hero parent to some other kid some time. We all have different rules, routines, and ideas. And that. is. ok.
What to do when your kids say they hate you
Take the parenting fail
A lot of the time it comes after a long trip to the grocery store where I didn’t bring food or prepare enough for the trip. Just take the parenting fail, learn from it and move on. We have ALL been there.
Don’t say it back.
While it is fine to echo whatever their problem is, don’t say it back to them. You’re trying to mirror good behavior.
Now, with teenagers, this gets increasingly difficult because I have never wanted to hit a human any more than I wanted to hit a defiant teenager. But, be the adult, and model good behavior.
But, also be clear on boundaries, that is important for you and them.
Remember that hate means something different…
My kids hate broccoli, they hate certain TV shows I enjoy. Their life is very black and white. They don’t have the words to say “you’re just not my favorite” so they either love you or hate you.
I know, I said it before — my urge has been really strong to just SHAKE that teenager and remind them of EVERYTHING I HAVE DONE FOR HIM.
But physical aggression isn’t the solution. I also make sure to never spank or hit in aggression (which I share in my post on how to spank).
Don’t take it personally
This is NOT a jab at you. This isn’t saying that you’re not a loveable person (because the truth is that within a matter of seconds, minutes or hours — your child will be running to you for support). This is all a mirror of them, and how they are feeling at this point.
Taking it personally, and getting your feelings hurt is one of the WORST things you can do.
Head to your tribe
It is likely that YOU might have a lot of big emotions at the same time, and it can be SO hard to be the adult, so sometimes talking your tribe, or your support system can be a huge benefit at times like this.
Review it later
What I DO think is important, is to talk about those emotions. To do a mini M&M (we call I morbidity and morality at the hospital – It’s just a time to talk about what went wrong when there’s an unexpected outcome) together afterward.
I do think it’s important for me to take a little blame in the scenario as well. It’s likely my temper was a little high at the point they screamed that they hate me (although, not always) but they could also use talking out some emotions and then thinking about ways they could have handled it better in the future.
Frankly, I think that’s the best part. Both saying that you could’ve handled the situation differently and then me making sure that my child knows I love them to the moon and back.
We all make mistakes. I’m a door slammer, and it’s likely my kids got those genes too. Sometimes it just feels so good to get those emotions out.
And move on.
That’s the most important part, moving on.
The bottom line is to remember that family members relationships and the parent-child relationship is not easy. There is no such thing as a perfect parent, and even close relationships change through the teenage years into them becoming young adults. The good thing is, your adult children usually have better ways of communicating during tough times instead of throwing a temper tantrum.
If you like real-life parenting posts like this, check out my practical parenting series, and my other parenting posts below that!
Stephanie, One Caring Mom says
Yes!!! I love this article. The first time I heard those words I was beyond upset but I know that my own anger triggered them. I hear them on occasion and -thankfully- find it easier to move on each time.
Hilary Erickson says
Great way to look at it. 🙂
Jess Q. says
I’m a mother of 5; my daughter is going to be 25 this year, then my three boys which are on their way soon to 24, 21 and 15. And then there’s the oops, I thought I took my pill baby, now 7, who happens to be the princess of our castle and purely from head to toe, Daddy’s girl.
My oldest daughter at the age of 15, and I’m sure many can relate had done something related to breaking the rules. I cannot remember exactly what it was but I know it was a Doosey because her consequence was taking her phone away. HER PHONE! HER OXYGEN! HER LIFELINE!! HER REASON FOR GETTING UP IN THE MORNING!! IN FACT HER ONLY MEANS OF SURVIVAL!!!! I asked her for her phone and it was a bit of a disagreement and a few no’s thrown in there until I approached her and looked down at her, when I was able to because now she is taller than me but that’s really not say much when your 5’1. I finally was able to get her phone, refusing to struggle but waiting for her to hand it over. And just as she did and turned away she spat out those three words, ones I had never EVER heard any of my children tell me, the ones I honestly believe were not listed in the child to parent manual. I never thought I would ever here my babies tell me those words. But the minute I did I felt my heart sink to the floor as it skipped a beat, my eyes began to swell up with tears, and for the first time in my life I was utterly soeachless and dumbfounded. I couldn’t find the words to reiterate back much less lift my feet from what seemed to have become super glue under my shoes. I watched her walk down the street in the need to blow off steam and then my husband, being 6’3 and 100% USDA muscle, scooped me up as though I was a feather and just held me without a word. He knew the devastating I was going to feel.
We went inside and sat where my mom was visiting at the time and through the tears and the 2 yr old stuttering from crying so hard I told her what had just happened. She began to smile. And I became angry. I asked what she was smiling about because this was not one of those moments as a mother I want to cherish in my soul and remember always. She grabbed my hand and told me to just breathe, catch my breathe, wipe my tears away because there is no reason to cry. No reason to cry? My beautiful -5 yr old just told me, ME! that she hated me!!! There is absolutely nothing to smile or be happy about. I was a failure as a mother. I have made my daughter hate me. My life was ruined! It would never be the same ever again!! So my mom then proceeded to ask me that during my teenage years, was there ever a time that I hated her or I wanted to run away or maybe thought being on the streets was better than being around her. I sat there and thought about it for a bit. And I recollected my junior senior prom, how I was the ONLY GIRL IN THE ENTIRE SCHOOL! that had to be home by 10pm. Grant it, it wasn’t my senior prom, it was my dates prom who was a senior. Everyone at the prom kept poking and prodding at me because my mommy said o had to be home at 10. Half the seniors don’t even show up to the prom till 10!!!! Then there’s always the after party where everybody that is anybody would be attending. I was a cheerleader at that time and expected to be there with my squad because almost all of them were seniors and this was our last one we would all be together at a party. None of that mad a difference to my mom. She was extremely, over the top, strict to the point of embarrassment. And when the priest of our parish at our high school calls my mom himself and asks her to come in for council in regards to this matter, my mom didn’t respectfully decline. She told our priest “HELL NO FATHER”. I am not changing my moral compass because it is a different decade and life gas modernized with time. I was so embarrassed. And I remembered during that couple weeks period, how much I despised her. I was humiliated, embarrased, belittled, treated like a toddler. I was an honor roll student! I felt I earned it! But nope!!! There was no budging her. And I’m sure, under my breathe, never ever to her face, I might of reiterates those same words my daughter said to me, only I didn’t dare tell my mother that. I was deathly afraid of her. And for a woman shorter than me, boy she was swift with her tongue and grease lightning with her hands.
Back to the present, she told me that there is a time in almost every child’s life where they hate one of or even both their parents. They may not say it but they feel it like a fire brewing in your gut, growing and growing and growing until some of us explode like volcanos. I was to afraid of the repercussions of my words to do so myself. As I’m sharing all of this with her she chimes in and says to me one of the most profound , one of I believe the biggest if not the biggest stepping stone a parent can stand on. She tells me, “ if there comes a time when your child or children tell you that they hate you, well all that means is your doing a damn good job st being a parent. You cannot do your job correctly without at some point just pushing your kids off, creating a rage inside them, making them feel some sort of regret for being stuck with you. Of course they do not mean it. Kids at that age love for the moment, they are just iearning that there are consequences to their actions. And even though you never told me you hated me,I was at times able to feel the heat inside you broiling and getting ready to explode. And at that very moment, I knew, without hearing the words, that as a mother I was doing my job. We are not perfect and at times we make mistakes in judgement ourselves which comes across as though we don’t trust our children. We do trust them, but we do not trust the rest of the world with them, not just yet. So ,when you feel that heat booming inside them, the hate in their eyes, with or without hearing the words , be proud and give yourself a pat on the back. Because unless your kids find a moment in time where they hate you, well then you just not doing your job right.
I still struggle with her idea behind her method of thinking. I’m just so grateful I’ve never had to face that situation again. Knock on wood, I still have two more to get through those horrible teen tears. Uuugggg. It’s gonna be a ride! .
Hilary Erickson says
Haha, it can be SUPER emotional for them to be so mean!