One of the most difficult aspects of parenthood is having a suddenly independent child who wants to do everything but spend time with you. It can be frustrating, difficult, and tough on parents who often feel that their precious little ones suddenly hate them. Such strained relationships between parents and their children can begin at any point in a child’s developmental years. But it is a more frequent struggle with parents. Teenagers can be quite difficult to get along with. At that stage, it seems all your once sweet little one does is either talking back at you, being moody and cranky, or spending all of their time with friends or on social media.
Parents already have to take care of the unending bills, keep one or more jobs, and take care of their mental health. When their children suddenly develop “hatred” for them, things become almost unbearable. Some parents end up lashing out and causing greater damage. Some of these relationships remain broken for decades.
If you are at the stage where your child wants to do everything but spend time with you, you have to understand that you are not alone. Many parents have to deal with such alienation with one or all of their children, and it can be tasking, draining, and downright frustrating.
Do you feel your child or teenager is suddenly slipping into that stage where they no longer want to spend any time with you? Are you so frustrated because you are certain that they are difficult on purpose? Do you just want everything to end so you can have your sweet, easy-going child back? Well, you should know that the first step towards solving a problem is unraveling the cause of the problem. Understanding why your child, especially your teenager, suddenly doesn’t want to visit with you will save you a whole lot of trouble and help you solve the problem faster.
The Difficulties of Teenage Years
One thing some parents seem to forget is that they rebelled and sought independence when they were teenagers too. Is it true that teenagers can be belligerent, frustrating, and moody? Yes. Can they help it? No, at least not most of the time. Teenagers can be very difficult to deal with, especially for parents who still think of their teenagers as “little ones”. However, as a parent, you have to put yourself in their shoes. Teenagers are flooded with sudden and confusing emotions. They have to deal with issues like bullying, puberty, getting their independent streak, peer pressure, and many other emotional, social, and physical challenges.
These developmental problems are usually very intense and might inform the decision and behavior of teenagers. But there are some underlying factors most of which you can easily correct to make teenage years easier for your child and establish a better and stronger relationship with them. Here are some reasons why your teenager no longer wants to spend time with you.
Two factors can cause your child to be alienated from you. One is parental alienation, a form of a deliberate or indeliberate smear campaign that some parents use against their partners. Parental alienation occurs when a parent paints the other parent in a bad light to their children. The alienating parent tries to win the sympathy of the children by saying terrible things about the targeted parent or exaggerating their faults. This can be very difficult to defend, especially if the child spends more time with the alienating parent either as a result of divorce or the busy schedule of the targeted parent.
To know if your teenager’s behavior is a result of parental alienation, there are some behaviors you should look out for. Does your teenager feel guilty when they have fun with you? Do they plead with you to keep fun times from the other parent? Do they continuously criticize you while blindly defending the actions of the other parent? Do they suddenly get very angry about little things and continuously tell you how much they loathe you? If your answers to these questions are affirmative, you might be dealing with an alienated child.
Also, it is not all the time that an angry parent is responsible for alienating your child. Mal treating other people in the presence of your child, a drawn-out legal battle, abuse, and some other factors can also cause your child to feel alienated. Children in this category also exhibit strong emotions of rejection and hatred towards their parents.
Dealing with an alienated child might be very difficult, but whatever you do, you have to give them room to air their feelings even if that feeling upsets you or makes you feel betrayed. Speak with them and encourage them to let out the rage. When they finally realize that you are ready to repair the damage, they will come around.
Emotional, physical, and other forms of abuse will damage your relationship with your teenager. A child being subjugated to ill-treatment will lash out to everyone around them. You might not be hitting your child, but words hurt even more than blows. Constantly scolding a child for failing, demanding that they start behaving like other children, being too strict with punishments and restrictions, as well as failing to investigate or believe claims of abuse from other people could be the reason why your child hates spending time with you.
To draw a child suffering from abuse closer, parents must communicate the readiness to stop their abusive acts. If you have been chipping at your teenager’s self-esteem with your harsh words, you need to start praising their achievements more instead of dwelling on their mistakes. If your child reports emotional, physical, or sexual abuse to you, take them seriously and handle the issue appropriately. Do everything in your power to create a haven for your teenagers, so they don’t feel the need to grow up too fast.
Lack of Discipline
Teenagers that swear, disrespect you, especially when you have company, refuse responsibilities and obligations, maltreat their siblings and people of lower statuses, and show other troubling signs of indiscipline, will not think much about spending time with you. This will be especially worrisome if such a teenager is not experiencing abuse, parental alienation, or any other issue that might be causing indiscipline. You immediately have to stand your ground against such behavior to avoid bigger issues in the future.
Another reason your teenager hates spending time with you might be because they find your company boring. The reason for this is because when you spend time with them, you always pick the activity. Remember when you were younger, would you rather spend your day with friends in a mall or go fishing with your old man? If your company is boring, not a lot of people and certainly not a teenager on the path of self-discovery will want to spend time with you. Being impulsive once in a while and considering their desires will go a long way to stop the problem.
You should also learn to look beyond your problems when you are with your kids. Ask them about their day, smile, and play with them instead of going on and on about your problems.
As your children continue to grow, you have to come to terms with the undeniable fact that they are becoming their own people and need some amount of freedom and trust. Most people make a lot of irreversible bad decisions during their teenage years. However, you cannot completely insulate your child from harm. You might be setting too many restrictions against social activities with good intentions, but your teenager needs the freedom to make their own choices and live with the consequences. This does not mean you should completely ignore them. Instead, you should support and show them some love without making them feel stifled and bonded.
Ease off on the strict curfews and punishments, giving them responsibilities, and let them one you trust them to do the right thing. These simple acts might just save your relationship with them.
Children grow so fast. It seems like one minute they are learning their first words and dependent on you, and the very next minute, they are falling in love and getting heartbreaks. The invisible yet powerful connection between parents and their children makes it difficult for them to acknowledge their children’s need for privacy and freedom. Do not be that parent. Love, don’t stifle. Scold, don’t condemn. Support and cherish, never abuse or neglect. When you do these things, that brick wall coming up between you and your teenager will crumble.
3 Myths About Your Teen’s Bad Attitude (2017). Retrieved from TIME website: https://time.com/4987876/parenting-tips-difficult-teenagers/
5 Steps to Reversing Childhood Alienation (2019). Retrieved from Interact Support Incorporated Website: https://www.google.com/amp/s/interact.support/5-steps-to-reversing-child-alienation/%3famp
Help My Teen Doesn’t Want to Spend Time With the Family Anymore (2020). Retrieved from Aleteia Website: https://www.google.com/amp/s/aleteia.org/2020/03/02/help-my-teen-doesnt-want-to-spend-time-with-the-family-anymore/amp
Parenting Teens-Spending Quality Time Together (2021). Retrieved from KidsHealth website: https://www.kidshealth.org.nz/parenting-teens-spending-quality-time-together
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