No matter how "magical" your childhood was, there may come an age where you feel a shift in the way your parents treat you. As a teenager, it's normal to create a certain amount of distance between you and your parents. Sometimes people even question if their family likes them, and might even ask why does my mother hate me?
There is a natural separation that happens between parents and children in late adolescence/early adulthood as growing children develop separate identities from their families. You're slowly putting away your childhood pastimes and exchanging make-believe for reality. Growing up, your parents and other important adults may have shaped the way you saw the world. During the teenage years and beyond, however, you start developing your own social circles, your own tastes in music, your own fashion sense, your own favorite celebrities, and maybe even your own faiths or other opinions on important issues. Know that this is a rite of passage, and most, if not all, teens go through it.
This can be difficult transition for your parents because they have invested a lot of time and energy in raising you, and now they have to start the process of letting go. As they lose control over many aspects of your life, they may be anxious about you testing boundaries. They may wonder what kind of adult you'll become. In this article, we're going to talk about what this means for you and how you can deal with it.
The world you are entering is different from the world your parents grew up in. It may seem like they just don't get it, but remember that they were once your age and had many of the same emotions and experiences. It's okay if you and your parents share different interests and ideas, but try to talk to them openly, so you can learn to understand each other. That can make these transitions easier. No matter how far apart you may grow, you can still share a strong bond.
Try sharing parts of your life with them. They might not like all of your favorite music, but there may still be some common ground. One young man took an interest in Irish ballads and listened to them with his friends. When he introduced this music to his parents, they renewed their bond as they began exploring other aspects of their Irish heritage and attending cultural events.
Your haircut, your clothing, and your choice in body décor make a statement. You are telling the world what group you identify with. If that identity is countercultural, your parents may be every bit as alarmed as parents were in the 1950s when their sons wore black leather jackets and rode motorcycles or their daughters wore bikinis to the beach. Parents can get nervous when their children do not conform to societal norms. They've probably forgotten their own rebellious days, or if they remember, they're afraid rebellion will lead you to make some of the same mistakes they made. It is important to remember that your parents will not agree with all of your choices, and that's okay; they're still your choices to make.
Furthermore, what seems radical today may not seem that way tomorrow. Today, most people don't think twice about young men on motorcycles or bikini-clad girls at the beach. Tattoos, once viewed very conservatively, are now much more mainstream and acceptable. Neon-streaked hair is fashionable now, whereas it was once reserved for punk rockers. This is because young people grow up, and the things they did in their youth no longer seem bizarre. They've been normalized. A night of home movies that depict the radicalism of their own era might help your parents remember that things that begins as fads or trends often become the norm as time passes.
Parents are taught to place boundaries on children by setting reasonable limits and expectations. It's how they take responsibility for your general development and social awareness. They want you to understand that there are rules and that breaking them has consequences.
It is normal for parents to reprimand their children for not obeying rules meant to keep them safe or promote their social wellbeing. Common consequences for rule breaking are grounding, taking away favorite video games, or limiting cell phone privileges. Some parents give their children extra chores, corner them with an hour-long lecture, or send them to a relative or counselor for the "hard talk." These tactics are known as "tough love" because they're often hard on parents, too. Contrary to popular belief, they don't enjoy punishing you. They do what they must to ensure you grow up to be a healthy, happy, and stable law-abiding citizen.
Parents have different ways of disciplining children to teach responsibility and other life lessons. Your parents don't hate you if they stop you from staying out all night, skipping your homework, or hanging out with people who might be a bad influence. In fact, these are signs that your parents love you. They're not going to allow you to learn bad habits, surround yourself with harmful people, or become someone who neglects responsibilities.
You and your parents are going through an emotional battle while your body goes through chemical changes and your mind evolves in ways you may not understand. Feelings can seem confusing and even chaotic while you're becoming an adult. It is sometimes hard for your parents to watch these changes. On top of all of that, it's very common for parents and young people to miscommunicate and fight, so it can feel like a real power struggle. It might seem like you don't see eye-to-eye on much at all.
Anytime you see an opportunity to communicate, take advantage of it. Share some of what you're learning and the future you see in front of you. If you talk to someone in their late 20s, you'll probably learn that their relationship with their parents has improved since they were a teenager. You're in a naturally tumultuous time, even though it's also wonderful in many ways. If you're experiencing some rockiness in your relationship with your parents, it will likely change soon. One day, you will start to see each other as equal adults.
When things get tough, take a break. Get some space. Go for a walk, and spend some quiet time alone, writing down your thoughts or taking deep breaths. Nothing good ever comes when people meet in the midst of anger and anxiety.
When you're feeling calm, talk to your parents openly and honestly about their expectations and yours. This will show them your maturity and your willingness to meet them halfway. Your parents are probably confounded by your behavior and wonder what's going on inside your head. If you give them a backstage pass to your thoughts, they will thank you for it.
It can also be helpful to talk to people who understand. Reach out to friends or other trusted adults for support. Sometimes it helps to get another perspective and to be reminded that this too shall pass.
If your problems seem difficult, you might want to speak with a professional. Therapy is an anonymous and discreet way to talk about your thoughts and feelings. BetterHelp has licensed counselors who can help you, and many of them specialize in working with teens, young adults, and families. Check out some reviews of our counselors from people experiencing similar issues.
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Even if it seems like your parents hate you, deep down you know they're hard on you and have high expectations because they love you. They want you to grow up with the right lessons and morals. You might think they hate you because they grounded you, but when they punish you, they're trying to teach you responsibility. It doesn't make it easier, but it will allow you to take the steps you need to become your own fulfilled, independent person. Take the first step.