I’m Pretty Sure My Teen Hates Me – Expert Explains 9 Reasons Why It May Feel Like This

This may sound so cliché, but it seems that when raising children, just as you’re finally figuring out the ins and outs of a phase, a new one suddenly pops up and upends your life.

The teenage years are a perfect example of this. 

Many parents fear the teen years and rightfully so. I mean, we were all teenagers at one point and know there are many social, environmental, and biological factors that can affect and influence the teenage years.

This knowledge, however, doesn’t take away the fact that when you’re in the thick of it you may think, “I’m pretty sure my teen hates me.” This can be so disheartening as a parent but, trust us, it’s something every parent of teens (and tweens even) has thought at some stage.

Help! My teen hates me!

Thankfully, Chris Morgan of Roller Coaster Years and a father of two teenagers who has been teaching teens for over twenty years helps us understand why we may feel our teens hate us and what we can do to fix the issues.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Your teen doesn’t actually hate you. Even if they say “I hate you.” They just may act like this but deep down, they don’t. Have a read of this teenage letter which shares some beautiful insight into the teen mind. 

My Teen Hates Me - Tips on what to do
Source: Adobestock

Moving on, here are a few reasons Chris identifies as to why your teen may ACT like they hate you or why it may seem like they hate you.

1. They feel like they never win with you

We’re not talking about sports here. We’re talking about the power game between parent and child. While it is understandable we often say “no” to our children because we do not want to raise spoiled, entitled humans, giving them a win every now and then may not be a bad idea.

Saying no all of the time may lead to many unnecessary power struggles, resulting in a combative attitude.

“When they ask for something, let them win sometimes. Let them get extra screen time, stay out later or sleepover. I’m not saying give them whatever they want. I am saying let them win sometimes. It’s easy to hate someone that always wins. It’s hard to hate someone that shows flexibility,” Chris explains.

2. They think you talk too much

When it comes to conversations with your teen, listen twice as much as you speak. Don’t take over your teen’s conversations, especially on those rare occasions when they’re actually opening up.

 If they start out talking and then get real quiet, it’s probably because you’ve hijacked the conversation. Teens hate this. If you listen more, they will talk more,” Chris shares. 

3. They think you’re too critical of them 

It’s easy to walk into your teen’s room and start the criticism but it’s important to take a step back and not do it. Always put a compliment before criticism and pick your battles with your teens. Constant nagging can get really old really quickly, not only resulting in eye rolls, but insecurity, anger and spite. 

Teen Hates Me
Source: Adobestock

4. They think you expect too much of them 

It’s completely understandable that you want your child to succeed, to be the best. But this puts so much pressure on our teens and just sets them up to feel like they’ve disappointed you. And then this leads to resentment. 

 “Being middle-of-the-road should be expected. Why? Because they need to experiment with lots of different areas. This is how they get out of their comfort zone. This is how they create a passion. You get great at something by putting in countless hours. Nobody starts out great. Let your teenager be average in some areas of their life,” Chris says.

5. They feel restricted 

The role of a teen is a tricky one. They aren’t babies anymore who need help with everything or little kids who still need a lot of attention. But they also aren’t adult enough to do a lot of things. Our job is to get them to this next stage – to give them responsibility and to show them we trust them to take on a more independent role. 

Giving them responsibility prepares them for adulthood and shows them that you trust them enough to handle the situation. How about, “You’re in charge of dinner tonight. What groceries should I buy?” And don’t let them scam you buy saying, “Frozen pizza.”,” says Chris. 

6. They feel unimportant

Feeling unimportant goes right along with not listening enough to your teenager. While they may not admit it, they want you to listen, they want your time and attention.

“Put down the device, turn off the TV, or turn down the car radio. Look your teenager in the eye and say, “Okay, now I can give you my full attention. What’s going on?” That’s how you make your teen feel important.” 

7. They feel you don’t own up to your mistakes or apologise 

We expect them to own up when they do something wrong, so we need to do the same. 

“When a teen does not get a deserved apology, they get angry and bitter. We all make mistakes and an apology is the first step toward mending the relationship,” Chris shares.

8. They don’t hate you, they just don’t love themselves (yet) 

In most instances, when you think “my teen hates me”, it’s because they hate how they feel. It’s not really about you at all. 

“It’s very likely that they don’t hate you…they just hate how they feel most of the day. There are all sorts of things that they might hate about themselves. Once you find the root cause of that, the healing can begin and the hatred will melt away.” 

Another important thing to note here is that often a teen’s terrible attitude and behaviour towards us is part of the way they find themselves. As awful as that sounds, teens often need us to argue with and push back against them to know that we care and we are there. It’s a very confusing, frustrating and often heartbreaking stage. 

Remind yourself all that hate is not about you and a little friction between you is normal. They’re simply trying to love and figure themselves out as they grow. Keep Chris’ advice in mind, and give your teen some space and a listening ear when they need it.

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Gloria Ruby Ramirez is a writer, mother, and lover of coffee, twinkle lights, and rain who believes in the magical power of words. She is passionate about parenting, mental health, and the environment. She is a former agricultural microbiologist/plant pathologist with a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology from Arizona State University. Born in the desert of northern Mexico, she is mum to her beautifully energetic son and Shih Tzu, Gerty. When not writing, Gloria can be found spending time with her son and family, reading, or embroidering.

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