5 Reasons Your Child May Resent You
"I hate you!", "Why can't you be like other parents?"--sound familiar to you? Do your kids seem to hate and resent you? Find out the possible reasons why your kid may be feeling this way and learn how to counter that.
“You’re mean!” “I don’t like you anymore!” “You don’t love me!” And my personal favourite… “I’m going to run away so I can do whatever I want!” If you have a child over the age of five, you’ve probably had at least one of these announcements hurled at you from the angry lips of your child.
Fortunately they don’t really mean what they say. Your children are simply expressing their frustration and anger the only way they know how. Especially the ‘running away one’. Just offer to help them pack or to call a cab for them and watch them do an about-face. Yes, it is fortunate our children really don’t mean what they say…most of the time.
There are times, however, when our children really do mean what they say. There are times when your behaviour and your choices turn their little worlds upside down. As a parent it is your duty and responsibility to keep your children safe, secure, protected and feeling loved no matter what. When you fail to do that, resentment towards you can take root inside the hearts of your children. And if you don’t do whatever is necessary to put a stop to that resentment, you are both going to be miserable for a very long time…possibly for the rest of your lives.
Why children resent their parents
Children harbour varying degrees of resentment toward their parents when they divorce. Depending on the age of your child and the circumstances of the divorce, children will be resentful of:
- The parent who leaves–to your child, it is nothing but abandonment
- The parent who stays–children feel this parent chased or forced their mom or dad to leave
- A parent who chooses a new lover over the family
- A parent who leaves without saying goodbye and one who never follows through on promises to spend time with them
- A parent who remarries and ‘forces’ a new family upon them
- A parent who remarries and chooses his/her new family over them
Children who are physically, emotionally or mentally abused harbour deep resentment. Children who are victims of these unspeakable acts resent being born into this world as much as they resent the abuse. Children who are victims of abuse usually act out their resentment through violent and abusive actions toward themselves, their parents or possibly even others (usually their spouse and children).
Children who are uprooted and moved from the home, friends and school they know and love are often resentful of having to do so. They will act out in a number of ways (depending on their age and the level of their resentment) in an effort to get back at you. But by being sympathetic to their pain and working together to make the changes as pleasant as possible, the resentment that comes from relocation is one of the easiest to solve.
To betray a child’s trust and confidence in you is a death sentence to the relationship. This normally won’t occur until the tween and teen years, but these years also set the bar (in large part) for your relationship with your child into their adult years. You have no right to betray their confidence by sharing the not-so-admirable parts of their lives with grandparents, other family members or even your friends. You have no right to decide what is and isn’t a big deal. If your child tells you something in confidence that you feel isn’t as world-shattering as they do, you have no right to belittle their feelings by sharing the news. To put it into perspective, think about how you feel when someone betrays your trust
5. Times, they are changin’
Your children will possibly resent you for making changes in their lifestyle due to drastic changes in your income, or changes in how you respond to situations. For example, Joni and Chris had taken a very laid-back approach to parenting from the get-go. Their children were told ‘if you don’t stop…’ so many times it was a joke…to everyone…especially their children. Whatever they wanted they got. Whatever they did was fine. They seemed to think this was working pretty well until their oldest reached that wonderful destination called adolescence. They just didn’t understand what was happening!
Thankfully, though (for everyone), they didn’t like what they saw. So after reading a couple of excellent books on parenting and seeking the advice of trusted older parents who had been through the experience of raising teens, Joni and Chris made some changes. These changes weren’t too well received by the kids. But by sticking to their guns, the resentment eventually subsided and life was good.
Dealing with resentment
When your child feels resentment toward you for whatever reason, acknowledge their feelings and allow them to express themselves with respect to your position as their parent. Don’t deny your children the right to voice their feelings and opinions. But once that is done, you need to explain to them the reason for the source of their resentment and come to an understanding of how to deal with their feelings in a positive and healthy manner.