How to Handle it When Your Teen Hates You

Teens are at an awkward age where their daily actions are governed by adults, despite a near-constant fight for freedom and autonomy. When your teen feels out of control, he'll often try and retaliate with the one thing he has -- his feelings for you as his parent. If you've had one too many "I hate you!" fights with slammed doors, you can feel discouraged about your parenting skills. But rest assured that it's a common phase. With the right approach, you can get back to a healthy relationship.

Keep calm and avoid joining the foray with your own declarations of hate. If your teen yells, "I hate you," it can be tempting to reciprocate the same words and actions. But your teen is testing her boundaries and needs to continue to be loved. If you feel your anger getting the best of you, walk away and take a time-out until you can calm down and talk reasonably.

Ignore your teen's outbursts and refuse to talk to him if he's yelling or acting inappropriately. Acting hateful toward you probably has more to do with testing boundaries and pushing your limits than it does his actual feelings toward you. When he realizes that his outbursts have little to no effect on your decisions or communication, he'll probably switch to a more effective tactic.

Stay consistent with your decision making and actions, even if your teen is being hard to deal with. If your teen knows that a certain amount of yelling or mean behavior usually causes you to give in, he'll use the tactic again and again. Instead, set clear rules and consequences for your child so there are no surprises and no way that you'll budge on important issues.

Give your teen choices whenever possible. He is on the cusp of adulthood, when he'll be making the decisions for himself. Taking away choices and making all the decisions for him can make him feel as though you're not respecting him as a young adult. Instead, offer choices within the limitations you've set. For instance, he has homework for the weekend: he can either stay in on Friday night and get it done or stay in during the day on Saturday to finish up -- his choice. This can reduce outbursts because your teen is focusing on choices, rather than a lack thereof.

View things from your teen's perspective. See if you can decipher what she really means when she says she hates you 1. Perhaps she hates that you don't communicate enough or that you're not listening to her point of view. Trying to see things from your teen's point of view doesn't only help solve conflict, but can help soothe your own feelings after a fight.


Remember that this is a phase many teens go through. Unless you have severe relationship issues, the phase will subside over time. Even at its peak, your teen doesn't hate you, but probably hates situations, a lack of choices or a conflict. Try not to take the comment personally -- your teen needs you during this time more than ever.