What If I Don’t Like My Child?
“But I don’t even LIKE THIS KID!!” Admitting to anyone, sometimes including ourselves, that we really don’t like our kids can be a scary thing to admit! After all, what kind of parent doesn’t like their “precious angel baby” child, right?
The truth is it happens to a lot of us. Even when things are good and kids aren’t acting out, they aren’t always going to like us, and we’re not always going to like them. Believe it or not, this is a normal part of all relationships. All relationships go through ebbs and flows and we all go through phases where we don’t really like the people we live with, even when we love them.
Feelings are what they are, too. They’re neither good or bad. Nor are they sinful. Nor do they define who you are. They are simply part of the human experience. Like many other things in life, they aren’t permanent. They come and they go, and they can change quite significantly over time…both for better and for worse.
Are you one of those parents who doesn’t like your child? If you are, it’s totally okay to feel the way you do! You’re not a bad person. You’re not a horrible mom, and you’re most certainly not a failure! It also isn’t something you need to feel guilty about or beat yourself up over. I promise, it’s not!
Parenting intense kids, especially those affected by trauma and/or prenatal alcohol or substance exposure, or who struggle with other mental or emotional conditions adds a whole different level of complexity to parenting. All the “normal” stuff is magnified by about a million. Plus, there’s the constant negative behavior, the broken windows, the holes in the walls, the screaming, the yelling, and all the other special stuff they throw at us…often, quite literally.
Reality is, our kids aren’t always loveable. They aren’t the most pleasant people on the planet and they stir up trouble everywhere they go. It’s also one thing to read about this stuff…and it’s quite another when YOU are the one being hit, kicked, bit, sworn at, spit on, and it’s your house and your family being destroyed in the process. I’d say not liking someone who does that lind of stuff is a normal reaction to a very abnormal situation!
But what if I’m stuck?
Though your feelings are likely quite justified, living with someone you genuinely do not like is not a very pleasant way to live. It’s stressful, discouraging, and staying in this place for too long can be toxic to both your physical and mental health. Furthermore, it can be disastrous for all your relationships. Most importantly, it is a big
Do you know why most people end up getting stuck in places like this? Yes, the details of every situation are different and the behaviors are intense, but that’s not it. Once we peel back all the layers, we usually find a lack of support, proper training, and tools needed to do the job we signed up to do. Once we get those things in place, things often start to work themselves out and relationships approve.
Did you notice those things don’t have a lot to do with your child? Your children are who they are, and it isn’t their fault they were hurt. They are doing the best they know how to do to survive in a world they don’t understand and doesn’t understand them. They are unique individuals with their own story, their own emotions, their own personality, their own challenges, and their own way of viewing the world. If you’re parenting a child who has been traumatized or otherwise struggles with emotional or behavioral challenges, all of those things are likely going to show up in direct contrast to your own personality, expectations, and viewpoints. That is inevitably going to cause some clashes, especially if you are exhausted and beaten down yourself.
I hate this… What can I do?
One of the most important things you can do is acknowledge and honor your own feelings. This is the first step in healing and in letting go of the guilt. Be honest with yourself. Be honest with others. Then be honest about what is going to happen if things don’t change.
No matter what your current situation is, you still have choices. Though it might feel like your kids are large and in charge and running the show, you’re still the adult. You are still the parent. You are still the one who gets to decide if this is what your future will be and if this how your story is going to end.
One increasingly popular option out there is counting down the days until they turn 18 and you can kick them out, drop them off at a homeless shelter, or enroll them in military school. Dreamy as that plan may sound at times, you may run into a few roadblocks along the way, especially if they are still in high school when they turn 18. More importantly, that plan is nothing but misery for everyone. It is almost guaranteed to keep everyone stuck in negative loops, to escalate almost all situations in the meantime, and to drive wedges even deeper in the relationship with your child. Don’t be surprised if it ends up polarizing many other relationships as well.
Another option is to freeze and do nothing. This, too, is a popular choice, especially when the options on either side feel helplessly overwhelming and lose/lose no matter what you do. Though it may feel safer
Option #3 is to take an active stand and make different choices that will result in a different outcome. Make intentional choices that will lead to you acquiring more proper support, training, tools, and skills than you currently have. Make it a top priority and do whatever is necessary to turn things around and create a different experience for yourself and your family. It’s not cheap. It’s not easy. It’s just worth it!
For many of us, this is the scariest of all the options. It’s the one with all unknowns and is full of all kinds of “what ifs”. It’s also the choice where healing happens!
Maybe you feel like you’re too far gone or things are too intense to ever change. I can assure you that as long as everyone is still breathing, it isn’t too late. With the right support, tools, training, and skills, things can still change and be so different than you can possibly imagine right now. But it doesn’t happen by chance. It doesn’t usually happen alone, and it doesn’t happen by wishing or whining. It happens by choice!
The Parent Transformation Academy is a great place to get started on that journey. I can help you gain the tools, skills, and training needed and support you through the journey! I can help you reverse burnout, turn things around, and yes, even love the people you live with again, warts and all.