Me: Good Morning, Love.
Teen: **Grunt** **Pouty Face**. I hate you.
Me: *Sit down for some breakfast
Teen: Why do you always do this to me? I hate you.
Me: Can you please wash & put away your breakfast plate?
Teen: Ugh … **eye roll** You are so mean. I hate you.
Me: Did you wash & put away your breakfast plate?
Teen: I hate you.
Every other sentence has a “I hate you” in it. Any boundaries or expectations has a “I hate you”.
A couple of years ago, I made a rule that they were allowed to use it only once a day and any more and they’d have serious consequence. If I followed up now, the whole day would be one big consequence. But then what do you do when the consequence becomes negligible? Or when the offense becomes second habit?
Some things I’ve tried –
“I’m sorry you are feeling that way. I love you. What can I do to help you not feel this way?”
“Hate is a very strong word. What other words can you use to express how you are feeling?”
Flat out ignore her.
Lose my temper and flare out (definitely not recommended)
Because quite frankly, I’m tired of the “I hate you”, “You are so mean”, “You are ruining my life”, “I’m always sad because of you”, … etc.
Especially hard is the fact that the Teen KNOWS that “I hate you” hurts me, and those are the buttons she pushes over and over. To the point that it has become a perpetual habit to say “I hate you”. When my parents were here (the first time for 4 months when she was 12 and another when she was almost 14), they warned me of the Teen’s use of “I hate you” and how it would eventually drain me. They believed that I should take the hard stance and nip it in the bud. I thought it was just a teenage phase and tried to tackle it with understanding and discussion.
But now, I’m lost and I feel the weight of those “I hate you” every single time I hear them.
I still have, on some/most days, a decent relationship with my teen. But it goes from this really back-and-forth, loving relationship to almost seeming like that person looks at you like you’re enemy No. 1.
ALL. THE. TIME. And that is absolutely draining.
I am not the perfect parent. I’ve made mistakes in the past, I make mistakes today and I know I will continue to make mistakes even as I try to learn not to. But surely, I’ve done SOMETHING right? Surely, every little thing that happens in the Teen’s world is not my fault.
Will she ever snap out of it?
Will she ever stop tossing it around so casually?
Will I ever learn coping skills to deal with it?