No matter how great your relationship is with your teenager, there will inevitably come a moment when she screams that she hates you at the top of her lungs. While these declarations of animosity will naturally leave you feeling hurt, angry and even like a bit of a failure as a parent, they can also be a sign that you’re doing something right. Involved, engaged parents are occasionally forced to make decisions that are in the best interest of their children that their teenagers hate. These are ten of the ways that you can be a mom your teenager hates, at least until she gets older and acquires a new perspective with age.
- Give Her a Curfew – One surefire way to make your teenager hate you for a few years is to set a reasonable curfew. Teens are itching to express their independence and explore the boundaries in their lives, and they’re eager to make their own rules. When you insist on their return home at a reasonable hour, you know that you’re keeping them safe and helping them to get the rest they need. Your teen just thinks that you’re out to spoil her fun, though, and she will hate you for it.
- Get to Know Her Friends – There’s nothing quite as embarrassing as your parents talking to your friends when you’re a teenager, which is why yours will not be your biggest fan when you get to know her friends. You’re a walking, talking and breathing embarrassment, and she’d probably rather her friends think that she sprung, fully formed, into existence. Don’t take it personally; she hates your presence on principal, but she doesn’t really hate you.
- Make Her Dates Come to the Door – Generations of parents have been hated by their teenagers when they refused to allow a date to pick their kids up by honking a horn in the driveway. When your daughter’s dates meet you at the front door, she’ll hate you for embarrassing her and making her seem childish. Later in life, she’ll realize that you were just keeping a healthy eye on who she was spending time with.
- Insist on Family Dinners – Kids from families that share meals on a regular basis, rather than eating on the go before heading out to yet another activity, tend to perform better on an academic level and are less likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol or experience a teen pregnancy. Your teenager may hate the fact that she’s forced to spend the evening with her lame family while her friends are having a great time without her, but those family meals will be treasured memories one day. They’ll also have a lasting impact on the person she becomes.
- Make Her Earn Her Own Money – Today’s teens are often accused of being filled with a false sense of entitlement, and of being materialistic or spoiled. Generalizations aren’t always accurate, but you can help to prevent entitlement issues in your teen by insisting that she earns her own money, especially for pricey, frivolous items. When her friends’ parents are lavishing them with gifts while she works for the things she wants, she’ll probably hate you a little bit. Later in life, when she’s able to manage a budget and appreciate the value of hard work, she’ll thank you.
- Give Her Chores – Kids that don’t have to do chores around the house get to have more fun with their friends, and enjoy their teenage years without many burdens. What they don’t do, though, is learn how to be an adult. Your teen will hate being forced to manage household chores, but she’ll be learning valuable lessons about how to care for herself when she’s no longer living at home.
- Assign Her Real Responsibilities – Your teen wants to be free of responsibilities because she wants to spend her days talking to her friends and exploring her identity as someone separate from her family. When you make her responsible for certain things and hold her accountable when she fails to meet those responsibilities, she’ll hate you. She’ll also, however, be figuring out the importance of taking care of things independently.
- Let Her Learn About Natural Consequences – Teenagers want complete independence from their parents, but they also want those same parents to shield them from the harsh realities of life by covering for them when they make a mistake. It’s never easy to let your child fail when she doesn’t do what she’s supposed to, but experience is the only way she’ll learn to modify reckless behavior.
- Enforce a Dress Code – Sweatpants aren’t appropriate for a family celebration, and party dresses aren’t ideal for a trip to the mall. Your teen is probably still learning about dressing appropriately, and will hate you for pointing out her missteps.
- Establish House Rules – Your teen wants absolute freedom, not rules. She’ll hate you for establishing and enforcing house rules, but she’ll appreciate the values you’re instilling later.
It’s important to realize that there’s a very real difference between being an authoritative parent that kids occasionally feel like they hate and being a harsh, authoritarian parent that teenagers genuinely dislike. Make sure that you’re making decisions with your kids’ best interest at heart, rather than trying to live through them vicariously or browbeat them into submission.
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