A Mother Far from Home

on becoming supermom

What to do when your children act like they don’t like you

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A Mother Far from Home

Because, 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 – this one little thing that is not even good for them but that they are too young to understand – 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. Whether for a few minutes, a few hours, or a day or more, the methods are much the same.

1) Be sure that you are 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 not special. Are you spending alone time with them, even as little as 15 minutes a day? Are you speaking to them with positive smiles, positive words and affection? If you are, and regularly, then carry on to the next step. 

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. They never wanted to go through the trash can and throw things on the floor and this week they do. Initially, they will 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 may not even be attempting to manipulate, but just passionately reacting. If they are acting out against you because they are unhappy with your direction or instruction and you know your way is best then don’t give in. Be consistent. Consistency is key if you ever want your children to respect your authority as mother. If one day you enforce a rule and the next you don’t, your children will hold out until the cows come home until you cave. They will, that is, until they realize you aren’t a caver. Once your kids know this, their attempts to evade your correction become half-hearted and they just get on with it. As always, be kind. One doesn’t need to be mean to get their point across.

3) Explain as best as you are able for their age group. Let them engage you in discussion. It is how you’ll both learn more about each other. If they are angry that you won’t allow them some freedom them just tell them your reasoning. It may be more complex than they are currently able to grasp fully but you can make it as simple as possible for them. Kids will feel reluctant to follow your lead if you never let them in on why you’re doing what you’re doing. Of course, just because you explain it to them doesn’t mean they’ll like it, but it does mean they will know that you aren’t simply acting on a whim. And, at the end of the day, kids want to be heard. Even if you discuss it when you know what you will say, you may learn something as you listen to their desires in that moment.

4) Don’t let them intimidate or manipulate you. You may have read when I wrote on Are you Afraid to make your Children Angry.  We must not be afraid to enforce a rule or consequence that is in the best interest of our children. Younger children aren’t usually being manipulative, they are just trying to figure out how to get what they want. Crying, screaming, throwing a hissy fit, running away, refusing to eat, etc are ways they are hoping to sway your opinion. Don’t let them outsmart you. If your decision is best for them, no matter how bad they hate it, do not fall prey to their endless and oh-so-imaginative tricks to get you to change their mind. Just be kind, firm and wise. The more you let them off the hook because they are swindlers the trickier they’ll get and soon, you’ll be way out of your league.

5) Admit when you are wrong. I am wrong often. More often than I’d like to admit since I’m a Type A neurotic and, by nature, we think we are always right even when we know that’s a joke. However, I have survived in life by being quick and happy to admit I’m wrong. It may take me a while to realize I am wrong, but when I do I will surely admit it. We will be wrong and make wrong decisions regarding our children, that is inevitable. If our children know and believe that we are willing to reverse a decision, apologize and ask for forgiveness when we have been wrong, they will be far more likely to trust us and submit to our authority in the home. Think about it, if you know your boss truly looks out for you and is a good man/woman and they make a mistake or two, are you not willing to forgive since you know their heart is for you? Same with our kids. Show them you are willing to reverse a decision that is wrong. Maybe two months grounding is a tad drastic for the offense, but you spoke in haste. No point sticking by an unfair punishment to prove a point. There are plenty of opportunities to stick by a punishment and prove a point when your ruling has been just.

As always, parenting is a balance and a juggling act. Kind, firm, patient, loving, consistent and wise are the names of the game. Children will act like they don’t like you momentarily but the deepest need of a child is to be loved. If you love them and show them this, along with times that you have to be more firm and disappoint them, then take absolute assurance that the “i don’t like you” phase will pass. It too shall pass. And, the better you handle each of these phases the less painful and less frequent they will become!

A Mother Far from Home

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Author: A Mother Far from Home

Around here we look at practical child-rearing and child-bearing issues. Look around and find down-to-earth parenting talk, tips, reviews, and some interesting lessons I've learned while navigating the waters of motherhood.

2 thoughts on “What to do when your children act like they don’t like you

  1. Any particular posts you’ve written on raising teenagers that you can direct me to? This is good stuff! Thank you! 🙂

    • 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 🙂

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