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

Medically reviewed by Dr. Jerry Crimmins, PsyD, LP
Updated April 1, 2024by BetterHelp Editorial Team
Content Warning: Please be advised, that the article below might mention trauma-related topics that include abuse which could be triggering to the reader. If you or someone you love is experiencing abuse, contact the Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233). Support is available 24/7. Please also see our Get Help Now page for more immediate resources.

Growing up, your parents and other family members likely shaped how you saw the world. During the teenage years and beyond, however, you may start developing your own social circle, tastes in music, fashion sense, goals, and opinions. It may be helpful to know that this process of developing your own identity is generally a standard part of adolescence.

Teens or young adults in this period may sometimes feel that a parent hates them or doesn't understand them, resulting in potentially strained family dynamics. Although something more serious may be happening, in many cases, these feelings are a relatively common part of natural life changes. Seeking emotional support from a trusted adult, friend, or therapist may help you navigate these complex emotions and relationships.

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Reasons you may feel your parents hate you

Below are some common complaints that teenagers may have about their parents at this age, leading them to potentially believe that their parents hate them. Each one is accompanied by some things to keep in mind if you’re experiencing these thoughts.

“why don't my parents understand me?”

The world you enter as a teen is usually much different from the world your parents grew up in. It may seem that they don't understand what you're going through or the experiences of your generation. However, they were once your age, and there are some common threads in adolescence even across generations.

Spending time talking, trying to understand each other's point of view, and looking for common family interests or shared teenage experiences may help you bridge the gap and foster healthier relationships. If negative emotions persist and you feel there are deeper mental health concerns or issues with toxic parents, seeking professional help can be a viable option.

“why do my parents hate the way I dress?”

Your haircut, clothing, and style can make a statement. New styles may emerge, and your parents might not be familiar with your choices. Your parents could be as alarmed by what you’re wearing as parents were in the 1950s when teens wore black leather jackets or bought bikinis to wear to the beach.  

Parents can get nervous when their children do not conform to societal norms, whether because they have forgotten their own rebellious days or because they simply want to help their child avoid negative experiences. Note, however. that your parents may disagree with your style choices and still love you. 

“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 to help protect them and ensure their general development and social awareness. It’s not unusual for there to be consequences for not following understandable, explained rules, such as getting your phone temporarily taken away for staying out too late or having to miss a night out with friends after failing to pay attention to schoolwork. If the thought, "Why does my family hate me?" comes after receiving such consequences, it may be helpful to think about the positive motivations your parents may have for implementing them.

However, note that if your parent yells, physically harms you, leaves you for long periods without food or water, tells you they hate you, or touches you inappropriately, these are examples of emotional, sexual, and physical abuse, not normal, healthy, or acceptable consequences. It’s important that you reach out for help if you’re experiencing this type of treatment. You deserve respect and compassion, not abuse.

If you are a child or teen under 18 experiencing physical 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.

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Connecting with your parents as a teen 

You and your parents may both experience various emotions as your body undergoes the many chemical changes of adolescence and your mind evolves in new ways, which may seem confusing or intense. This can make it difficult to connect with each other.

If you talk to someone in their 20s, you may learn that their relationship with their parents has improved since they were teenagers, so keeping this potential future evolution in mind can be useful. In the meantime, working towards opening a line of honest, calm communication with your parents might be effective.

When things get tough, you might take a break and get some space. Going for a walk, spending some quiet time alone, talking to a friend, writing down your thoughts, or taking deep breaths could all be soothing. Research suggests that journaling about your feelings in particular could help decrease mental distress and soothe feelings of anxiety, so this may be a good activity to turn to when you’re feeling strong emotions.

Then, when you're feeling calmer and have been able to process what you’re experiencing, you might talk to your parents openly and directly about their expectations and yours. This could show maturity and a willingness to meet them halfway. Your parents likely want to understand what their child or children are thinking or feeling so they can support them in the best way possible, so learning to express these things could help your relationship. 

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Counseling for teens

If you and your parents are still having trouble relating to each other, it could be helpful to pursue therapy. A therapist can offer you a safe space where you can express your emotions openly and honestly and get to the root of what you’re feeling. They may also help you develop skills that may assist you in communicating these things to your parents and in finding ways to care for yourself as you go.

Going out to find a therapist and travel to regular, in-person therapy appointments may not be possible for many teens, which is where online therapy can represent a more convenient option. With a platform like TeenCounseling, designed to be used by people ages 13 to 19 with parental consent, you can get matched with a therapist who you can meet with via phone, video call, and/or in-app messaging from the comfort of home. 

Research suggests that online therapy can be effective and helpful for youth mental health challenges, so it might be worth exploring this method if you’re looking for a convenient way to get support regarding relationships with your family. In general, individual therapy, couples therapy, and teen therapy for mental health are all types of therapy that can be done online too, so people facing challenges in any of these areas may be able to explore virtual options for support.


Relationships between parents and teenagers can be difficult, as you’re both navigating a time of intense and significant change. Feeling like your parents hate you or having other signs of health issues in your relationship could be an indicator that you’re having trouble communicating or seeing each other’s point of view, so finding new ways to connect could be helpful. Meeting with a therapist to discuss your emotions and build relationship skills might also be useful in this scenario.
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