It is not exactly a secret that being a parent is difficult. After all, parents are responsible for turning their children into responsible members of society, and there are infinite factors out there that can hinder those efforts.
And there are sometimes that even the best of parents think, “I hate my children.” That last sentence feels like a heavy one. And it certainly can be. But there is often a misconception about disliking your kids or feeling like you hate your children.
Here’s the thing: even if you have thought, “I feel like I hate my children,” it isn’t necessarily the truth. There is much more to these simple thoughts than meets the eye, and it takes a little bit of learning to understand those feelings truly.
Why These Thoughts Happen
While the reasons are undoubtedly unique to each family, there are common reasons why you may think, “I hate my kids.” One of the most common is that there is a feeling that they can’t be controlled. And to an extent, that is right.
One of the biggest challenges of parenthood is creating boundaries for our children. They need to know where they can tread and when to stop, and this can’t happen without boundaries. But what happens when they test and break those boundaries?
There are really only so many things that parents can do to keep their kids from doing something they don’t want them to do. Once the child reaches past those boundaries and determines the consequences aren’t enough to stop them, it can make parents feel helpless and begin to think, “I hate my kids.”
The thing is that you may not necessarily hate your kids. It is frustrating that you are doing what you think is right for them, and they are choosing to rebel against it. That frustration is natural and enough to make those thoughts of agitation come to fruition.
Another reason this happens is that we see ourselves in our kids. We may think, “I hate my children,” but there is some part of us that realizes the things we dislike in ourselves can be transferred to our children.
Even though you love your kids, it can be frustrating to see aspects of yourself coming out in them. Perhaps it is stubbornness or a mean attitude. Whatever it is, you begin to think, “I hate my children,” but really, you are upset with yourself.
It is also worth remembering that kids have not developed the necessary life skills yet. They may not get subtlety or the art of being polite. While there is no guarantee that they will, that is the part of parenting that has to be done. It is up to us to teach them when it is okay to say and do certain things and absolutely not okay.
How To Handle Those Feelings
Even if you think “I hate my life” or “I hate my children,” it isn’t the end of the world. Sure, those are not feelings we want to persist, but having them now and again is normal. It is human. Frustrations will happen, and our kids know how to push our buttons as few others can.
The first step is to admit that there’s a problem. Life doesn’t go as planned, even when we try our best to plan everything out. Stresses become a reality, divorces happen, people get sick, and several other situations make life difficult.
If you think “I hate my life” or “I hate my children,” it is hard to hide those emotions. Even pretending may not be enough to keep those feelings from reaching your kids. And that leads to even further issues when trying to interact with and raise them.
Figuring out those triggers can be important when it comes to handling them. Think about what it is that your kids do to make you think, “I hate my children,” and you can begin to find ways of dealing with those stresses. Instead of letting the stress build-up, you begin to take on the problem and improve the communication and interaction with your children.
You may think, “I hate my life,” and that is okay. Stress is difficult, and none of us is perfect when dealing with it. But looking to deal with those stresses is how we actually deal with them. Ignoring them or pushing them off only make those feelings build up until they finally blow.
It can also help to learn what your child’s individual needs are and how to meet them. There are techniques out there to help address the needs that your children have more effectively. When you do this, communication can improve and make it easier to handle the stresses children provide.
The job of parents is never-ending. There needs to be continuously met, which is one of the most significant contributing factors to parents' stresses. Instead of hoping that the children will change the way they respond, change how you handle them. Kids can see that change and will react to it, too.
Dealing With The Demands Of Children
As stated previously, those demands are consistent, and even though they can be met, they are met on a minute-to-minute, day-to-day basis. There is no solving the problem and expecting it never to come back again.
As parents, we all try to set boundaries for our children to teach them the importance of knowing when to stop. But we develop those boundaries to help ourselves as parents, too. When our kids follow those boundaries, it acts as a stopper for times when they are misbehaving.
The difficulty is in finding those boundaries. For some kids, it is more comfortable. For others, those boundaries are more difficult to place. That is the journey of being a parent: finding those boundaries that will make our children better people and provide us as parents the stopper that we need to keep things from spilling over.
Those boundaries can vary greatly, but they are the tools required to help a child develop going forward. Yes, it teaches right and wrong, but it also teaches them when to ask for things versus not asking, how to respond when they are angry, and so on.
These boundaries are the building blocks between a parent and their child. They are essential, but they are difficult to build. Feeling like you may hate your children is the frustration of trying to establish those building blocks. The important thing to do as a parent is to continue to work towards their development even when it may be frustrating.
Thinking You Hate Your Kids Is Okay To A Degree
Here’s the thing that you might not believe: hating your kids can be okay to a degree. We are all human beings and have human emotions and frustrations. And while it isn’t okay to tell your kids that you hate them – they are developing minds that may not understand that you don’t really, truly hate them – it is okay to share those feelings with a friend or loved one.
Simply sharing those feelings acts as a release valve, a way to vent our frustrations safely and responsibly instead of taking those feelings out on our children. Doing this allows parents to maintain the patience that they need when developing those boundaries instead of slipping into a state of mental warfare with their children.
As parents, there is a feeling that we cannot attend to our own needs, especially when our children have so many. It is important to care for ourselves as parents. Time and money can realistically be restraints, but they should not be an excuse.
Finding time to care for ourselves helps recharge the batteries, maintain that patience, and allow us to continue working to develop our children. Not caring for ourselves means that the dam will burst at some point, which is rarely good for anyone.
Caring for our kids is a never-ending job, one more difficult than is given credit for. It is okay to feel human, feel frustrated, and experience the emotions that are so prominent in our lives. Finding reasonable outlets for those is how good parents stay good parents and continue to care for their kids after feeling like they can’t take it anymore.
If you have ever thought, “I hate my children,” it isn’t the end of the world. Finding a way to vent those frustrations and get back on track can help you become a better parent and better manage your kids' never-ending needs. The licensed professionals at ReGain could be the perfect way to let out those frustrations and receive parenting guidance.
So long as you are not telling the kids that you hate them, thinking it is totally normal and will likely pop into your head from time to time. Finding a way to manage those feelings is the real key to success.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What do you do when you hate your child?
It’s normal to hate your kids from time to time as a parent. Child-rearing is hard and can cause us to feel frustrated, anger and resentment towards our children from time to time. When you are feeling negative thoughts towards your children, here is what you should do:
Is it normal not to like your child?
Being a parent and raising children is both beautiful and challenging at the same time. There are going to be moments wherein the heat of the moment you think to yourself, “I hate my kids,” and feel that you hate being a mom or dad, which is entirely normal.
The first thing that you should admit is that there may be a problem causing you to feel this way. Child-rearing is not something we are born with but rather a trial and error process until we understand what works and what doesn’t work. When you think deeper into why you might be thinking, “I hate my kids,” you’ll notice that you don’t feel hatred towards them but rather dislike your child’s behavior. Perhaps, your child’s behavior could be related to a specific family situation that is going on, such as a divorce, moving schools, or stressors that are going on in their life. Getting to the bottom of why your child is acting a certain way is the first step into figuring out why you feel negatively towards them.
Additionally, child care is overwhelming and demanding, especially when your children are young. Therefore, you may be finding it challenging to balance your emotions and responsibilities as a parent. When you feel overwhelmed, it can cause you to think of thoughts of not liking your children at the moment. The best way to combat these feelings is to take time for yourself.
Is it normal to regret having a child?
People who do not have children do not understand how demanding and challenging parenting can be. Therefore, it is only natural that there come points in your life when you begin to regret having children. No one prepares you for becoming a parent. No one ever admits to you how financially, emotionally, and physically draining it can be at times. When you become a parent, you are giving up putting yourself first to put someone else first. Therefore there will be times that you regret having kids when you are overtired, overwhelmed, and feel like you are not appreciated. However, these feelings come and go and are not permanent. The best thing you can do is acknowledge your feelings rather than feeling guilty about them.
Is it normal to resent your child?
Parenting is hard and can sometimes cause you to feel irritated, angry, and resentful towards your children. This is a normal part of being a parent, especially when you feel unappreciated and overworked. You may even think, “I hate my kids” from time to time, and that is okay. Here is what to do when you are feeling resentment towards your child:
What is the most psychologically damaging thing you can say to a child?
Parenting is hard. Even though we love our children, sometimes our child’s behavior can cause us to feel negative emotions that cause us to say unkind things to our children out of anger. Here are some phrases that you should never say to your children even in moments when your anger and frustration are controlling how you feel towards them as it can cause psychological damage to them and put a strain on your parent-child relationship: