I Hate My Kids: The Struggles Of Parenting

Updated August 18, 2023by Regain Editorial Team

It is not exactly a secret that being a parent can be difficult. After all, parents are tasked with turning their children into responsible people in society, and there are infinite factors out there that can hinder those efforts.

And there are sometimes that even the best of parents thinks, “I hate my children.” That last sentence feels like a heavy and 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 truly understand those feelings.

Why Do I Have Thoughts About Hating My Children?

Parents Will Sometimes Feel Animosity Toward Their Children

While 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, you are 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 essential 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 accomplished over time. It is up to us to teach them when it is okay to say and do certain things and when it is absolutely not okay.

How To Handle Feelings Of Animosity Toward Your Children

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 is a problem. Life does not 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 can lead 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 coping with those stressors. Instead of letting the stress build-up, you can start 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 attempting to manage it. But looking to confront those stresses is how we actually resolve them. Ignoring them or pushing them off only make those feelings build up until they finally blow.

To avoid top parenting fails, you can learn what your child’s individual needs are so you can understand 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.

If you have read parenting quotes or books, you are likely aware that parenting is indeed a challenge. The job of parenting is never-ending. Your children’s needs must be continuously met, which is one of the most significant contributing factors to parents' stress. Instead of hoping that the children will change the way they respond, try changing how you respond. Kids can see that change and will hopefully respond to it, too.

Coping With The Demands Of Raising 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 resurface.

As parents, we all try to set boundaries for our children to teach them the importance of knowing when to stop a particular behavior. 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 is 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. 

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 continue working to develop our children. Not caring for ourselves means that the dam will likely burst at some point, which is rarely good for anyone.

Parents Will Sometimes Feel Animosity Toward Their Children

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.

Through Regain, you can schedule appointments at times convenient for your work and parenting schedule. You can even attend sessions from any location with a safe internet connection, which can be highly advantageous for parents constantly on the go. Maybe you just need a reassuring reminder in the heat of a tense moment – in such cases, you can text your therapist as a means to establish a gap between a stressful stimulus and your parental response. Even if your therapist doesn’t respond instantly, the act of pausing to use one of your resources can have positive consequences.

It's also true that online therapy has helped many parents improve their parenting skills, communication with their children, and boundary-setting capabilities. In one study, for example, researchers implemented a therapist-assisted online parenting strategies (TOPS) program for parents whose teenagers were living with anxiety or depression. Results demonstrated how this program was both needed and useful, providing parents with strategies to alleviate symptoms in their teenagers, assisting them with employing these strategies, supporting them in overcoming associated difficulties and working with them to develop a relapse prevention plan. 


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.

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. When you’re in need of support, know that you can reach out to a therapist at Regain to receive guidance for any issue you’re confronting.

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