Sometimes I Feel Like I Hate My Child: Am I A Bad Parent?

Updated October 6, 2022 by BetterHelp Editorial Team

If you're reading this article, then it is likely that you've been experiencing negative thoughts of hate towards your children when it comes to parenting and your family. Although most parents of children would be too afraid to admit it, many good parents have had a moment when the thought, 'I hate my kids,' has crossed their minds. It might have been in a quickly-passing moment, like when you were overwhelmed by your children, and your teenagers were disrespectful which created the feeling of hate as parents. Or for some, thinking "I hate my kids" or "I hate my life" may be a constant obsession that makes you feel like an unfit parent.

The thought "I hate my kids" or "I hate my life" alone is nothing to be ashamed of according to qualified mental health professionals who help parents. And it doesn't mean that you're a terrible parent. In some ways, it makes sense. We all love our children; however, at times, we can become overworked and overwhelmed, a situation where online therapy with informed professional advice can help. The New York Times wrote about how parenting could put you under pressure from your first child to your last, as described in Jennifer Senior's first book. This is to help you realize that apart from politics, society, and other life events overwhelming you, parenting could make you feel hatred for your children. These feelings can induce incredible shame, which is one of the most psychologically damaging things to experience.

Do You Ever Feel Like You're A Bad Parent When You Feel Like You Hate Your Kids?

This is especially true for parents when raising children where we spend days upon days, and years upon years taking care of children who are dependent on us but is also often demanding and challenging. Naturally, this could breed some negative feelings, such as hate or anger, toward kids. The key to overcome the thought is by first admitting that you feel "I hate my life" sometimes -- and then, figuring out why. Also, coming up with a solution to work with your kids for dealing with this negative thought of hate when it arises. If these feelings of hate persist toward your kids, there is informed professional advice from qualified mental health professionals available.

Admitting That There's A Problem In Your Relationship With Your Child

When our children are born, kids don't come with a manual on behavior, feelings, relationships, or anything else. Even Dr. Spock's famous child-rearing guides can't address all of the endless possibilities of things that parents will encounter as parents try to mold their children into healthy, confident, well-rounded adults later in life. When parents first hold their children, parents are on cloud nine and have so many hopes and dreams for their future for their children as a family beyond feelings of hate, distraught relationships, and the mismanaged behavior of kids.

But life rarely goes as planned with children, and that’s a normal part of parenting. Stressors come up, divorces happen as relationships fray, people get ill, and sometimes death occurs. Even day-to-day life events can become a source of fear, anxiety, and anger for you and your kids. When stressors like divorce happen, the thought, "I hate my kids" as horrible as it might sound, is likely a product of these emotions. If you look deeper, you'll probably find that you don't actually feel hate toward your children but instead dislike the child’s behavior or your current family situation. The important thing here is to figure out precisely what is creating the emotional disdain you feel at times when it comes to your child’s behavior and learn how to admit and cope with it. When a child acts inappropriately with you, other authority figures, or other children out of bad habits, parents may feel terrible, and feel as though they hate their kids because they feel guilty. It is important to recognize the normal part of these reactions, remain calm, and see the big picture of your life. This is the first step toward freedom. Parenting is difficult for almost all the time, and it is normal to be feeling upset out of anger due to the behavior of children. The first step is important to sense that something is wrong, reach out to a friend or family to talk to not avoid talking about emotions, and make sure to take care of yourself too.

Meeting Endless Needs Of Your Child

Caring for kids can become burdensome, and the feelings that come with that in both mothers and fathers can vary and normal. Children have needs and behaviors that they can't always fulfill on their own. Even the most independent children with proper behavior need your love, support, and assistance to develop into a healthy adult. You know this, so you put extreme pressure on yourself to meet all children’s needs perfectly. Helping them is essential, but constant perfection is unattainable and is a psychologically damaging thing to constantly work toward. This can lead to irritation directed at yourself and your child as well as feeling overwhelmed. It is normal to admit anger, but make sure to deal with these emotions, instead of trying to avoid talking about it until you burst.

One way to combat this kind of frustration over the behavior of and relationship with children is to make an effort to really get to know your child and his or her independent peculiar individual needs. This is where learning about the five love languages can help tremendously. Maybe your defiant child just needs more reassurance (words of affirmation) or hugs (physical touch). Could it be that your teenager doesn't appreciate your acts of service (cooking and cleaning) because they see and feel love differently? Getting a better understanding of what your child needs from you can ease conflict, make life easier on everyone in the home, increasing your moment-to-moment happiness and thereby, improving your family life and relationship.

Dealing With Demands From Your Child

When children want something, children can be very persistent in pushing you to give it to them. As the parent, you may feel like a failure if you see your kids as being deprived. Or, you may find their excessive demands extremely irritating. The truth is that, at some point, the demands of children could overwhelm your emotion and normal responses. The reason is that kids haven't developed mature judgment about what is important and what isn't, you can find yourself resenting their need of your time, energy, and finances on a constant basis. That resentment can build into a feeling of hate if it goes on long enough with you and your children without qualified mental health help.

This is where setting boundaries and expectations can go a long way. Take Mary, a single mother of three. Although she always had a close relationship with her middle child, Ava, feelings of resentment started to build when the eleven-year-old developed an ungrateful attitude toward her mom as a person. Once enjoyable shopping trips morphed into dreaded days out when the preteen started to regularly expect gifts/treats and pout when she was told no. It wasn't long before Mary had feelings of hate towards taking her daughter anywhere. Sometimes she had feelings like she hated her. But this wasn't true. Mary didn't really have feelings of hate toward Ava; she despised her child’s behavior and attitude. This is a normal response to any person, parent or not.

To fix the problem, Mary set boundaries as a mom to work on her feelings. Ava isn't allowed to ask for anything at the store anymore. There are still times when Mary gets her daughter a treat, but it isn't expected and is definitely more appreciated. Because both mother and daughter know what to expect, the dread around shopping has dissipated, and trips are enjoyable again. Again, setting boundaries and expectations will do much good for you and your child when dealing with the never-ending demands.

Do You Ever Feel Like You're A Bad Parent When You Feel Like You Hate Your Kids?

Balancing Responsibility Of Having A Child With Your Own Needs

The weight of responsibility as a parent of kids can seem unbearable at times. When your child is hurt or upset, you help them feel better. You keep them as safe and as they need to be.

Because we put our children first, we often put off something you would like to do or give up on your most cherished dreams, at least until your children are grown. It isn't unusual to have feelings of hate your children when you have to set aside your own desires and aspirations to put them first. This can subconsciously lead to bitterness toward your kids. You may not be able to tell when subtle bitterness creeps in, and you begin to show it. To fight resentful feelings, try to balance your family's needs and wants with your own. It may seem hard at first because balancing things in life is not always easy, especially when it comes to behavior changes, bad habits, and controlling feelings. However, the long-term benefit will help your parenting and lifestyle adjust and move smoother and experience fewer bumps along the way.

Have you always wanted to go back to school, but don't think you can afford it or find the time? Maybe you could take one class a semester from an online university. Make time for hobbies you enjoyed before having children like bowling or Pilates, or even just getting drinks or a nice meal out with old friends. Find a way to work activities you love back into your schedule. Finding 'me' time can be difficult, but it is absolutely crucial to your mental health. Say ‘no’ to depression and anxiety by finding the balance, and ask for professional advice if necessary.

Look At It As Learning

Children are young, and they have so much to learn! When they arrive in the world, everything is new to them. Sometimes, it brings you joy to see them happily discovering the world around them. Their inexperience can feel like a burden when you have to tell or show them something over and over. You may be well aware that it isn't their fault that they have so much to learn. At the same time, you have to deal with all the mistakes that are a part of learning.

This was definitely the case with Ava, who had to learn the importance of a grateful heart. Thinking of every challenge as a learning experience for you both can change a negative outlook to a more positive one. This leads to a final way to combat negative thoughts like 'I feel like I hate my kids': positive affirmations. Every good parenting blog will most likely this with you along with experiences with other children.

Positive Affirmations For Parent And Kid

Instead of focusing on the parent that you are, focus on the parent you want to be. Focus on the type of good parents you want your children to have with immediate help. It is a powerful life hack for dealing with wrong thoughts. Dwelling on the past will get you nowhere, but setting intent for the future is a step in the right direction. This is where positive affirmations can come into play. The options are endless and personal, but the following top categories are a great place to start.

  • I am confident and growing in my role as a parent.
  • I act in a way that shows respect for my children.
  • I love being a parent and how much joy the role gives me.
  • I have excellent communication skills, and I am a good listener.
  • I take the time I need to care for my own needs so that I can be a great parent.
  • My children's health is a priority for me.
  • Our home is a place of peace and patience.
  • We are making fond memories of the activities we enjoy in our home.
  • All of my children feel safe and honored by me.
  • I am the mom/dad my children will always be grateful for.

It's time to turn away from this point of negative and normal thoughts and possible hurts from parenting. When you begin to say these words of affirmation to yourself daily, your mind will begin to realign, and you will find peace and regain moment to moment happiness.

Moving Forward With Your Child

Feeling hatred toward your children can set many parents on edge and in need of immediate help, making them feel as though they have somehow failed or are unfit to the job of parenting. Frustration is a normal emotion. Shiny social media photos of other parents and other kids with a cluttered inbox sign, photos on several magazines' cover story and the plethora of parenting books on the top categories market urging sanguine parenting about quality time and life can compound these normal feelings. You might feel as though you are the only person on the planet who struggles with parenting. Fortunately-and, sometimes, unfortunately-that is certainly not the case. Virtually every set of good parents struggle with the ups and downs of day-to-day and sweet spot of parenting. Most people can acknowledge, with time and trust, that being a parent is an enormous responsibility that can occasionally prompt normal feelings of resentment, despair, and even hatred. Sometimes, you might not feel that parent-child love. Despite all the wonderful, fulfilling things parenthood brings us, sometimes, we just need to vent. And during these moments, you may find that venting to a friend or family doesn't quite cut it. For when this happens, BetterHelp is there with licensed professionals. While this less previous article went through the basics, there is more to learn than from categories of related articles like this less previous article. That’s with working with a therapist to discuss the normal part of your emotions and your child’s behavior and bad habits comes in. All parents need support from time to time with their kids and life, and maybe a therapist is right for you to talk about being a parent. This can be a normal part of life. A completely anonymous platform, BetterHelp allows you to connect with a network of licensed professionals with years of supporting parents be the best parents they can be (both for their own sakes, and for their kids). Read below for some more frequently asked questions and reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing a range of parenting issues.

Other Commonly Asked Questions

What do you do when you dislike your child?

Is it normal to not like your own child?

Why would a mother hate her child?

Can you love your child but not like them?

What is the most annoying age?

Whats the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child?

Why do I resent my child?

Is it normal to hate being a mom?

Can I put my child up for adoption?

What is malicious parent syndrome?

For Additional Help & Support With Your Concerns

Speak with a Licensed Therapist
The information on this page is not intended to be a substitution for diagnosis, treatment, or informed professional advice. You should not take any action or avoid taking any action without consulting with a qualified mental health professional. For more information, please read our terms of use.