What do you do when your children act like they don’t like you? Does it affect your moods and decisions? Read on to get past this.
“I don’t like you, mommy. Bad choice!!!!!” my son said to me one day, very upset.
He’d done something against our dinner table rules enough times to warrant some steps to correct it. He responded in anger and it only got worse as he spent the next 15 minutes very upset.
Soon he calmed down and we talked. Afterwards, we hugged, cuddled, talked, and reconnected.
But it’s hard when our kids act angry with us.
And, let’s face it, they will.
They’ll give you a dirty look like you aren’t the one who incubated them, delivered them, fed them and changed their dirty diapers. They will act like This One Thing is enough to wipe out all those acts of love and service.
What do we do when our maternal heart crumbles (or gets angry) because our children act like they don’t like us? When we are tempted to make our parenting decisions based on our children’s emotions in the moment?
Whether for a few minutes, a few hours, or a day or more, the methods are much the same.
1. Be sure you’re paying them enough positive loving attention.
In order to effectively weather the storm of “my child hates me…what is the point of it all?” one must be sure their children are not acting out in anger because they feel left out, neglected or powerless.
Are you spending alone time with them, even just in the nooks and crannies of the day? Are you speaking to them with positive smiles, positive words, and affection?
If you’re consistently parenting with love as a foundation, they can weather some angry and disappointed spells without disconnecting from you.
If they don’t feel connected to you in the first place, an angry spell can last a good deal longer.
Read: The Dangers Of Present But Absent Parenting
Check off critical household, social, and hygiene skills for your child so they’re prepared (not petrified) of growing up!
2. Be consistent in your discipline, kind yet firm.
All children go through developmental phases of independence. When they were happy for you to help them yesterday, today they want you to leave them alone.
Initially, they do not take kindly to our discipline, correction and training. They’ll act hurt, disappointed, cry or throw a tantrum to get their way.
Depending on their age they’re probably not attempting to manipulate, just passionately reacting. If they are acting out against you because they are unhappy with your direction or instruction, just be sure to keep consistent.
You can keep a household rule or boundary while remaining kind and loving. You don’t need an angry face to bring the point home.
Read: Why It’s Hard To Enforce Rules – And What Makes It Easier
3. Explain as best as you are able for their age.
Ask them questions about how they’re feeling. Encourage them to tell you how they really feel. It is how you’ll both learn more about each other.
If they are angry you denied them something, briefly explain your reasoning. If you use a few words, even toddlers can understand.
Some personalities (Confident + Take Charge and Strong + Deliberate) desperately want to know why. Unless you don’t have a good reason in the first place, this shouldn’t be hard.
This doesn’t mean they like it, but it’s all part of the process. At the end of the day, kids want to be heard and understood.
Strong and happy families have carefully crafted Family Cultures. They don’t let guilt drive them, rather they spend their time and energy digging deep into a few key family areas that pay off in spades.Learn More
4. Don’t back down if it’s important.
We must not be afraid to enforce a rule or consequence that is in the best interest of our children. Younger children aren’t being manipulative, they’re just trying to figure out how to get what they want.
Good for them, this is problem-solving.
Crying, screaming, throwing a hissy fit, running away, refusing to eat, etc are ways they are hoping to sway your opinion.
Our role is to be the parent, not the friend. Friendship will come later after a lifetime of love and fair dealings.
Read: Make your walls walls and your doors doors
5. Humble yourself and admit when you’re wrong
I am wrong often.
More often than I’d like to admit since I’m a Type A, by nature, always think I’m right. However, I have survived in life by being able to admit I’m wrong.
It may take me a while to realize I am wrong, but when I do I try hard to make it right. This goes with my kids as well.
We will be wrong and make wrong decisions regarding our children, that is inevitable. Our children should know we are willing to reverse a decision, apologize and make things right when we’ve been wrong.
This will help them trust us…
Read: Time In Vs. Time Out … and is Time Out Damaging Kids?
6. Realize that many things that are good for kids, they won’t like
Just because your child acts unhappy with some of your decisions, doesn’t make those decisions wrong.
My kids would eat brownies all day, drop out of elementary school, and watch TV instead of sleep.
So… if I gave them what they want to avoid difficult-to-handle emotions… I would be acting outside of their best interest to pander to their moods.
You are the mom. You can act like it.
Even when they act like they don’t like us.
Pull out these fun connecting questions to share some laughs with your precious ones!
Use them at:
- meal times
- car rides
- as a “calm down” trick
- for dinner time conversation
- or any time the day is getting chaotic or
- you need a reset to connect.
Kindness, patience, love, and consistency and are names of the game. Children may act like they don’t like you momentarily, but the deepest need of a child is to be loved.
Even if they act differently, they want your love.
Even if they push you away, word hard to give them attention.
And even though you think it won’t pass, it will.
Any particular posts you’ve written on raising teenagers that you can direct me to? This is good stuff! Thank you! :)
A Mother Far from Home says
Thanks for your kind words. Unfortunately I haven’t written any on teenagers since mine aren’t that age yet. I only write on something I’ve gone through or I wouldn’t be able to confidently say anything. I think a lot of it would carry over in principle, however, a mother would just need to be a little wiser in the application :)
Ramya Ravindra Barithaya says
My 2yo hasn’t wanted me at all since the start of the covid lockdown in March. She won’t let me change her nappy, if her dad goes to the bathroom she flips out. She has to go everywhere with him because she won’t stay at home with me. One time he went out to buy milk while she was asleep, and she woke up halfway through and screamed the house down. She even kept pointing to the door, wanting to go out and look for him.
I went from looking after her most of the time, reading her stories and everything, to nothing overnight. I don’t feel like I have a kid anymore since my partner started working from home. It’s causing so much stress it feels like everything is falling apart. I can’t work so I have nothing in my life, and there’s so much anger and stress lingering around that it’s triggering ptsd symptoms in me. I keep thinking that it would be better for everyone if I left/died.
I truly understand you. In fact I am reading this now because I have just gone through the tough time with my 5 year old daughter who thinks I am a rude mummy. She loves her daddy since day 1. I know how people say that daughters are always daddy’s but in my case she’s born solely for him. She’s madly in love with him but my husband thinks it’s very annoying as he literally doesn’t have a life. I gradually started envying them and as a result I started getting angry at them because I always thought I am alone. No body likes me not even my one and only daughter. I am actually scared to have another child and decided not to. But I am trying my best to show loving kindness to both my daughter and husband no matter what they do or say. That way I feel happy about myself. Maybe it’s our destiny and I think I should accept that. One day she’ll go away with someone she loves and all I do now will become a history. When she’s still little I can still love her and cuddle her and read books. She doesn’t listen to me when her daddy is around and it’s okay if that’s what she’s more comfortable with. I do my responsibility as a mum the best I can with less expectations and that way I feel happy. I am happy about myself . You should be proud of yourself too. Life’s short and be happy with what you have. That way you don’t lose anything…😊 all the best!
Thank you. I m in the same boat. I am struggling hard.
Neela U Patel says
I had and still have the same issue. Except I am now divorced and yep, my daughter only lives her father – I am a nobody but some annoying woman to her.
I feel for you. Have you discussed with your husband to let go and give you space to bond?
I would look at taking her on her own and do mum and daughter girlie things like getting nails done, shopping etc. That worked a treat although in the end I did leave – I had had enough of always being the bad cop and being abused and ignored. I came back years later after my daughter finally reached out to me hoping we would reunite however again she rejected me and only wanted me in the background. Now she and my son say they never want to see me again or live with me.
So I have no choice but to walk away and start a new life.
It is the worse thing I have ever had to live through – worse than divorce – but for my own sanity – I have no choice.
I am now hoping to meet a new person and start a new journey in my life leaving the past behind.
There is nothing more I can do.
My ten year old acts like I annoy him and that he doesn’t like me at all. When I try to talk to him he wants me to leave him alone. When I ask to do things with him he doesn’t want do to anything with me. I don’t know what to do.
Ben there says
Great article. Moms if you feel left out like I did, go to therapy with your husband. What I found out was that….parents should be a team, not one sided love from your kid. Your husband should also respect your thoughts about raising a daughter(or son)!!!!!! Therapy totally helped my husband see his actions, not only with our daughter, but towards me( a previous money maker, now stay at home) ….the only other thing I can say is that my second(a boy), wants nothing to do with his father at age 1-2 so far. Boys want mom, daughters want dad. Be there for your daughters when they need something, they will remember that! Love
It is comforting somehow, to find out I am not alone.. I feel that my 7 year-old daughter resents me, but I do believe it is entirely my fault. Since his father works on shifts, he is absent a lot of time, so it is just us. I’m a structured person, I need to keep control of things otherwise I collapse.. I always demanded too much from her (now I realized), I always treated her as an adult, not a child; at ballet lesson, swimming lessons, it was always a fight, I cannot even remember why, but we ended up fighting, me yelling at her, she crying… I see this is my fault, not to justify my behaviour, but I did not have a support group, not grandparents, not uncles, or closed friends to lean on, just the three of us, and then when dad goes to work, only the two of us.. and now, she acts distant from me, replying “OK” to every single thing I asked her to do, or even a comment, I get only “OK”.. one day she even said to both of us, “I do not want to spend time with you” I want to watch TV”.. that day I felt the worst… she acts like a 14 year old girl, and she is only 7! she is seeing a psychologist now, and myself, looking for therapy.. I’m afraid this cannot be reversed or solved. I’m really hopeless. I sincerely hope no one else is going through this. Thanks for let me sharing.