I really don’t mind my kids telling me they hate me because it confirms I’m doing something right. Don’t get me wrong, I would be upset if they really meant what they were saying. If I were neglecting or disciplining them for no apparent reason they would have a right to hate me. Being the good parents we are, we go to soccer games, track meets, cheer competitions, school events, 4-H dog shows, etc. I can’t always say I want to be there, but my wife says I have to go. Sometimes it involves split parenting – I go one way with one daughter and my wife goes the other way with the other daughter. I try not tick off my wife too much or I will end up at a cheer competition and she will go to the soccer game.
We monitor what they do on the internet or cell phone, which our teenage daughter is not too thrilled about. I’m there for them if they need to talk and I give them the best advice I can possibly give, “Go ask your mom.”
While it may not be the most popular thing to tell your kids (especially the teenager), we always tell them we love them. Even our teenager will tell us she loves us, too (providing none of her friends are around). I’ve even tried to hold her hand walking around a store like we did when she was my baby girl, but she smacks my hand away and gives me a dirty look.
With my oldest daughter the phrase “I hate you,” usually comes after we have grounded her, told her she can’t do something she really wants to do or can’t have something she really wants. My youngest repeats the phrase for the reasons listed above and if she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. We are going to have to move her bed because she wakes up on the wrong side nearly every day.
We had one of those “wrong side of the bed” days the other day. Not only did she hate me, but I was told, “Don’t ever talk to me again.” I did my best to comply. I couldn’t let her forget her lunch or to brush her teeth so I made a couple of exceptions to her request. (On the bright side – she hated me for it.)
When I got home from work and throughout the evening I did my best to stick to her wishes of not talking to her. I was trying to make a point, but it made her madder. When it was time for bed she said, “I love you, dad.” I ignored her. She said it again. I continued to ignore her. After the third time of telling me she loves me I reminded her of her words earlier in the day that I was never to talk to her again. With a frustrated yell, she shouts to my wife, “DAD WON’T TELL ME HE LOVES ME!”
I did eventually kiss her goodnight and told her I loved her. I don’t know if the lesson will ever sink in, but I’m guessing somewhere from 21-25 years of age she might understand. Then again, her mom is still mouthy.