Just because your teenager tells you he hates you doesn't mean he really does. The majority of teens who say something hateful to a parent in a moment of anger go on to have loving and happy relationships with their parents as adults. To get through this challenging time in your life as a parent, step back and view the relationship from the outside.
1. Stepping Back
You'd probably feel terrible even if a total stranger told you he hated you, but it feels much worse coming from the child you've loved and taken care of for so many years. It's not easy to hear hateful words from your child without being overwhelmed by negative emotions, but if you want to get through the storm with as little damage as possible, it's better to not react. An essential element of solving this problem is remaining calm and resisting the temptation to take his outbursts personally so that you can proceed objectively.
2. What He Really Means
When your teenager tells you he hates you, he probably doesn't mean it literally. The word "hate," to an adult, means an intense feeling of contempt and spite -- so intense that most adults hardly ever use the word about another human being. Your teenager is probably using the word to express frustration and anger, not genuine contempt. When your teen tells you he hates you, he probably means that he's extremely frustrated with you. People are frustrated when they don't get what they want, so the next question to ask yourself is what your teen really wants.
3. What He Really Wants
Your teen might have told you he hates you because you wouldn't let him use the car, but is the car what he really wants? According to the article "Adolescent Hate and Anger" on the website for the David O. McKay School of Education, teens who succeed in getting what they want from parents through anger or intimidation may actually be disappointed that their parents let them get away with that type of behavior. As the parent, you need to send a clear message about which kinds of behavior get good results in the adult world and which do not. Although your teen would have enjoyed having the use of the car, the request for the car was really about something bigger. Your teen wants to stop being seen as a child and be recognized as an adult, with the rights and responsibilities of an adult. He wants respect and autonomy.
4. Help Him Get What He Wants
If what your teen really wants is respect and autonomy, you can help him to earn these things rather than simply demanding them from you. Recognize that he is no longer a child and is going through the difficult process of becoming an adult. Start giving him more rights and more responsibilities by increments, adding more as he shows that he can handle them. Focus on maintaining a connection by having dinner as a family whenever possible, but give him the chance to go out and have fun with his friends too. Remember that you went through the same things when you were a teenager. You got through your teenage years and you still love your parents. Your teen will do the same.
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