The Bond: What to Do When Your Teen Resents You for Being a Parent
In some family systems, teen resentment is present in the child/parent dynamic. As a parent, you are often not only an authority figure, you are the authority figure. As such, you are the one who has to say “no” a great deal, the one who issues discipline, the one who doles out the chores and responsibilities. That is you doing your job as a parent — and sometimes chafing at those restrictions is just your teen being herself, demonstrating that she is not super-happy about your role in her maturation process.
It is not easy to be resented for being a parent — the job is hard enough without the attitude and sometimes frank dislike that can come your way. Learning to deal properly with the pushback will help both your performance as a parent and your sanity.
Faith and more faith
This interaction can be fairly typical. Your teen is not going to like you all the time; your teen may choose to rebel; your teen is likely going to push back against you in some fashion. This reaction can be expected.
Trust the process. Be patient and take the long view. No matter how turbulent the dynamic is right now, know that it will not last forever (even if it feels like forever). In the trying moments, remind yourself that much of this is supposed to feel like this — in other words, it is not supposed to be easy. Remember too that you are the adult and the voice of experience; you know that life is not always filled with instant gratification or immediate rewards for doing the right thing, but your child may not have had a lot of those lessons yet.
Have a little empathy
Just as you are trying to do your job, in a sense so is your teen – having restrictions put on her behavior, being told no, not allowed to make all her own decisions, having life lessons forced on her when she is sure she knows best. Frankly, who would like all that stuff?
You were a teenager yourself at one time. Times are very different now and teens are faced with different challenges than most parents faced years ago. However, there were still struggles and honestly, we did not always like our parents and often grumbled at their authority. If we can put ourselves in a teenager’s place, it may not change our decisions as parents, but it will at least allow us to come from a place of empathy and help to tamp down the hurt or resentment we might be feeling.
Patience pays off
Try really hard not to be baited. That trap can result in a quick dive into an argument where you may lose your temper. Your child may act irrational or immature, however, as an adult, it is best when you can model a different type of behavior. Ranting, snapping, or sulking should not be in your databank of reactions. Easier said than done, but try and stay above the fray. Whatever the point of contention, you have made your decision and while it is good to listen to your child’s viewpoint, avoid being swayed. Stay strong and do it from a place of love and respect.