I’ll never forget the first time I heard my teenager say those words. He’s now 24 yrs old, but at the time he was around 15. I had just pulled up in our driveway after picking him up from school. My mind prevents me from remembering exactly what the subject of our
argument conversation was about, but apparently it wasn’t good because it ended with him getting out of the car and slamming the door, but not before yelling the words “I HATE YOU!”. That part of the conversation I remember very clearly.
Ouch. There they were. Those words. The words that I had always heard teenagers blurt out to parents during arguments or disagreements , but never thought I would hear out of the mouth of my teenager. Wrong. It couldn’t have hurt any worse if he had literally stabbed me in the heart with a knife.
So, what did I do? I cried. I cried like a baby. A big, ugly snotty cry. My child, that I would have laid down and died for, that my world revolved around, that I had busted my ass to raise, that I loved more than anything, hated me. I had failed.
Wrong again, Kimberly.
If I had known then what I know now, I would have just completely ignored it, thought of it as an accomplishment that I had joined the “hated parents” club (woohoo!), or maybe even high-fived him or something.
I had NOT failed.
One of the many things I’ve learned, raising 4 teenage boys, is that there is a whole lot that comes out of their mouths that just needs to be ignored, addressed later, and definitely not taken to heart. Let’s go over some of them.
1. I HATE YOU!
No. No. He does not hate you. He hates whatever is going on with himself. In most cases, that’s puberty. He has major increases of testosterone going on. He’s happy one minute and mad at the world the next. His body is going through major changes as well as his brain. He’s trying to make sense of it all. In the heat of the moment, like a disagreement, their way of thinking can be overcome with emotions. Making them say or do things they normally wouldn’t.
How should you react? Don’t. Those words are usually followed by a slamming door or he walks away. Let it be. Don’t cry. Don’t think about it until it makes you cry. Don’t get angry. Breathe. Just let it go. He does not hate you.
2. YOU NEVER LET ME DO ANYTHING!
This one always amazes me. Like, really? I never let you do anything?? Whatever it may be that you are not letting him do at that moment has suddenly caused amnesia toward the past things you have actually let him do. He’s hoping it causes the same amnesia for you and you give in.
3. BUT YOU SAID I COULD/YOU WOULD!
When did I say that?? Was I asleep? This one always makes me question myself. Did I really say he could go? Am I getting more forgetful? I remember when me and my sister were little we use to ask our mom, while she was asleep, for permission to do stuff. She would more than likely always say yes. I’m wondering if my boys have caught on to this or if it’s some brain trick they are using on me to make me think I’m losing my mind, which I question daily anyway. More than likely what I have said is “I will think about it” or something along those words. I’ve discovered anything other than a flat-out “no” turns into a “yes” in a teenagers brain. Explain to him what your exact words were (if you can remember them).
4. YOU DON’T LOVE ME!
Whaaaaat?! This is just a statement to try to get what he wants. He knows you love him. Don’t try to prove your love by reminding him of all the things that you’ve done for him. He’s not going to care anything about hearing it anyway. This is another time that amnesia takes over his brain. Just remind him that the issue isn’t about your love for him but about the problem that is upsetting him.
5. YOU’RE A BAD MOM!
Seriously though. Do not let your teenager convince you that you’re a bad mom. If setting limits and rules for him to follow and expecting him to follow them makes you a bad mom then, bad mom it is. This is just another saying in the play book to try to get mom to cave. Stand your ground.
Remember that your teenager is going through a lot of changes, mentally and physically. Do not let anything he says hurt you. Do not react
like I do with anger. It only makes it worse. You’re the adult (note to self) and you should just speak calmly and stand your ground. In 10 minutes he’s going to act like nothing ever happened anyway. He may even apologize. The chances are slim, but it can happen.
He doesn’t hate you.
He knows you love him.
He loves you.
You are a badass Mom.
You got this.
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