Why Do My Parents Hate Me And What Can I Do?

Medically reviewed by Jerry Crimmins, PsyD, LP
Updated January 20, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Content Warning: The following article contains topics such as abuse, trauma, and child neglect, among other potentially triggering topics. Read with discretion.

As a teen, there may come an age where you feel a shift in the way your parents treat you. In adolescence, creating a certain amount of distance between you and your parents can be normal. 

There is often a natural separation between parents and children in late adolescence/early adulthood as growing children develop separate identities from their families. You may put away your childhood pastimes, learn about work, finish assignments, and apply for future scholarships. 

Growing up, your parents and other adults may have shaped how you saw the world. During the teenage years and beyond, however, you may start developing your own social circles, tastes in music, fashion sense, and opinions. It may help to know that this is often a standard part of adolescence. 

Teens or young adults may sometimes feel that their parents hate them or don't care for them anymore. Although something serious may be happening, these feelings often come with other life changes.

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Why Don't My Parents Understand Me? 

The world you enter as a teen can be different from the world your parents grew up in. It may seem they don't understand what you're going through or your generation's experiences. However, they were once your age, and there are some common threads in adolescence. 

They might not like all your favorite music, but there may still be ways to connect. For example, perhaps you're learning Irish in your history class. If you introduce some of these subjects to your parents, you may renew your bond by discovering Irish heritage or attending cultural events together (if you're Irish). 

This example is only one way you might try to connect differently with your parents. If you like online games or memes, consider telling them with your parents. Or ask your parent what their favorite board games, video games, or funny comics were when they were your age. 

Why Do My Parents Hate The Way I Dress?

Your haircut, clothing, and choice of body décor can make a statement. New styles may emerge, and your parents might not be familiar with your choice. If your style is countercultural, your parents may be as alarmed as their parents were in the 1950s when teens wore black leather jackets and rode motorcycles or bought a bikini to wear on the beach.  

Parents can get nervous when their children do not conform to societal norms. They may have forgotten their own rebellious days. If they used different styles as a teen, they might worry you'll make the same mistakes they made. Your parents may disagree with your style choices and still love you. 

Furthermore, what seems radical today may not seem that way tomorrow. Today, most people don't think twice about individuals on motorcycles or people wearing bikinis at the beach. Once viewed very conservatively, tattoos are often much more mainstream and acceptable. Colored hair is often fashionable, whereas it was once reserved for only punks. 

Young people grow up, and the things they do in their youth often become normalized. A night of home movies depicting their era's styles might help your parents remember that things that begin as fads or trends often become the norm as time passes.

Why Do My Parents Hate Me? They Punish Me for Everything

Parents are often taught to place boundaries on children by setting limits and expectations. They may try to take responsibility for your general development and social awareness. They could want you to understand the reason behind their rules. 

It can be normal to have consequences for not following understandable rules. Common consequences for rule-breaking are grounding, taking away favorite video games, or limiting cell phone privileges. Although not all parents utilize these techniques, you may be able to identify a time when you had a consequence. 

Some parents give their children extra chores, talk to them about their behavior, or reach out to a counselor for their child. These actions may feel difficult for both the child and the parent. These actions can be ways to ensure your mental and physical health, as well. Although it may feel like it is done out of hate, your parent may do it out of love. 

Parents often have different ways of disciplining children to teach responsibility and other life lessons. Your parents may not 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. Your parent may not want you to learn bad habits, surround yourself with harmful people, or neglect responsibilities.

When Discipline Becomes Abuse 

If your parent yells, physically harms you, leaves you for long periods with food or water, tells you they hate you, or touches you inappropriately, these are examples of abuse. In these cases, you are not experiencing normal consequences. Reach out to a school counselor or an adult you trust to report what is happening. 

If you are a child or teen under 18 experiencing abuse or neglect, contact Child Help by calling or texting (800) 422-4453. If you are in immediate physical danger, contact 911. 

If you are an adult facing or witnessing abuse of any kind, the National Domestic Violence Hotline is available 24/7 for support. Call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text "START" to 88788. You can also use the online chat.

Connecting With Your Parents As A Teen 

You and your parents may experience various emotions while your body undergoes chemical changes and your mind evolves in new ways. Feelings can seem confusing or intense while you're becoming an adult. Your parents may struggle to see you struggling. On top of this, you and your parents may miscommunicate or argue, so you may both feel misunderstood. 

If you see an opportunity to communicate with your parents, take advantage of it. If you talk to someone in their 20s, you may learn that their relationship with their parents has improved since they were teenagers. If you're experiencing some rockiness in your relationship with your parents, it might change one day. For now, try to remember how you and your parents connected when you were younger. 

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. Studies show that journaling can be beneficial to your mental health, so many teens keep a diary. Communicating with your parents when you're anxious or angry may not give you enough time to understand your thoughts or emotions. 

When you're feeling calm, talk to your parents openly and honestly about their expectations and yours. This communication may show maturity and willingness to meet them halfway. Your parents may want to understand what you're thinking or feeling so they can support you in the best way possible. If you let them know, they might thank you for it. 

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Counseling For Teens And Parents 

It may be beneficial to talk to people who understand. Reach out to friends or other trusted adults for support. If possible, ask your parents if you can try counseling. It may improve communication skills, which could help you and your parents relate. If you're under 18, counseling services online such as TeenCounseling, can be beneficial. Ensure you have parental consent to use the platform. 

An online counselor may also benefit parents looking for support with their teen's mental health. Online counseling can be done from any location with an internet connection and is often more affordable than traditional in-person counseling. Online therapy has also been proven just as effective as in-person therapy. If you're over 18, consider signing up for a platform like BetterHelp, which offers a growing database of counselors specializing in various areas, including parenting and child mental health.  

Takeaway

Even if it seems like your parents hate you, you may be experiencing other conflicts or struggles that make it feel that way. Consider telling your parent you love them and see their response. It could be that they feel you are also distant from them, and strengthening your love for each other may be valuable. 

If you continue to experience problems or find that your mental health is negatively impacted, ask your parent if you can reach out to a counselor at school, online, or in person.

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