Thursday, August 7, 2014

{ I HATE you }

*slam goes the bedroom door*

Well my friends, it has finally arrived.

For the longest time, as a mother, I had heard my friends and other blog readers and people in general, talk about the dreaded "hate" word that would magically slip out of teenager's mouth.

Some would even say, you're not doing your job right until you hear that from your child.  I always tended to think "that won't happen, not from my sweet Jasmine." 

Last night it came out, in a flurry of hormonal charges, between screams of frustration and raised voices between daughter and father, and it culminated in the dreaded "I HATE you", followed by the slam of the bedroom door.

I was shocked, to tell you the truth.  It's like when you hear about bad things happening and always think that kind of stuff happens to other people, not in your family.

My husband's response was simple, in a strict tone "Good, hate me all you want, but you WILL do what I am telling you."

 What we end up with, is a power struggle.   She is not a little girl anymore, she is 15 and she is at that hard age where her hormones are going nuts, she doesn't quite know what to do with herself, she wants to assert her independence, and then we have the all too common "they know better than the parents" phase.

My husband on the other hand tends to be quite strict and hard on her at times.  He is a wonderful father, but he is a military man to the core, and sometimes it's almost like he is dealing with one of his airman.  He wants things done now, this very second, without giving her a chance to get to it, or even the benefit of the doubt.

I think this is where we differ in parenting styles.  My husband has this discipline instilled in him since an early age, and then 22 years in the military of being told to do things right now, no excuses, jump up and do it, has transferred into the way he deals with the kids.

I'm more of the relaxed parent, in the sense that I will ask them to do something, and then I will give them space and time to get it done, if they don't do it, then I bring it up again more sternly and letting them know "right, now you're going to do it NOW because you didn't listen the first time."  Funny enough, my children always tell everyone that they are more scared of me than dad.

I don't want them to be scared, I just want respect.  Usually all it takes from me is one look, and then scurry to do what they were told.

With my husband, they tend to push the limits and see how far they can take it, and I honestly believe this stems from the military world.  He was gone quite a lot, and so when he wasn't there, it was just me, and it's hard when the guys come back because they want to assert themselves as the parent and father figure again, but for the children it's confusing, it's almost like they feel "you haven't been here, I don't need to listen to you, I need to listen to mom."   It surely carries on through life.

To be honest, I think that if she had directed those words to me, I would have reacted very differently from my husband.

He managed to keep his calm, me on the other hand, I can take a lot, but disrespect is one thing that I can't stand and I may have over reacted if I were in his shoes.  With that thought though, I have decided that since we seem to have entered this difficult teenage phase, I should probably arm myself with some information to better handle it, in case it does ever come my way.

After doing some research last night, I came upon a lot of advice for dealing with this, and one site listed some points to consider.

Know that it's normal 
Yep, as I stated right in the beginning of this post, this is normal, I knew this was something that teenagers tend to do, nonetheless it is still a little unnerving when it finally knocks on your door.

Keep your cool
Which is exactly what my husband did.  I know it wasn't easy for him to hear those words from her, she means the world to him and she is and always will be his little girl.  It's not easy for fathers and daughters to maintain a good relationship throughout the teenage years.  Thing is, my daughter gets so caught up in the moment that she will say whatever it takes for my husband to get off her back, even if it means, and especially if it means something hurtful.

Be a parent, not a friend
I am a HUGE believer in this.  Matter of fact, I cringe when I hear teenage girls go on about how their moms are their best friends, and they do everything together, and go buy clothes and go out and whatever.  I don't care what other moms do, but for me, I am a MOTHER first and foremost.  I am my daughter's friend, but above all I am her mother.  Period!!!

She is not always going to like what I say, and that is fine with me. 

Set the terms of respect
Here is the thing, I wholeheartedly believe that to earn respect, you need to give it.  And I don't mean just with adults, I mean children and especially teenagers.  You can't expect to belittle, attack, insult someone without them reacting and in a way defending themselves.  One thing I will do today, is sit down with Jasmine and explain to her calmly that the words "I hate you" are not allowed in this house, and if she wants to be respected, she needs to give it.

Get to the root of the problem
In this case, I know exactly what the problem was.  To be honest my husband was being unfair.  I have told him many times to pick his battles, some things are really dumb to cause a huge fight and hurt feelings.  She felt attacked, she felt picked on, and in turn she reacted with a hot head and said things I KNOW she doesn't mean.

Lighten Up
I remind myself constantly that I was a teenage girl once, that I know exactly what she's feeling and thinking and that it wasn't easy for me either.  Yes there were moments when my dad or stepmother would get on my case about something and I felt like I wanted to explode with rage, and the words "I hate you" played in my mind so many times, though I never actually threw them out.

I do believe that if we lighten up the moments when things are getting heated, that it helps a lot.  For me and my daughter, we tend to butt heads but always end up laughing about it, either she will pull a face, or say something that I find hilarious, or vice versa.  It does help to diffuse a quickly escalating moment.

One thing is for certain, I don't have it all figured out, I'm still learning things as a parent, and every day a situation will arise where I feel completely off kilter without really knowing what the best reaction or solution is.

It's a learning experience for all involved.

Jasmine has never been an easy child, I've always found her to be very assertive in her ways, very sure of what she wants and very independent.  Traits I find wonderful to have, but at the same time, traits that contribute to a lot of disagreements.

Whatever the case may be, she is my daughter and I adore her, and I can not imagine my life without her.  I know that the teenage years are filled with drama, and misunderstandings, fights and difficult moments as they try to toe the line between being a little kid and an adult.  It IS a scary phase.

My job as a mother will be to help her get through these years unscathed, or at least with as little scars as possible, right???

I would love to hear from you all who have teenage children, or who's children are already grown up.  How did you survive these years, how did you deal with the "I hate you"?


Breahn said...

Great post Sandra.... thank you so very much for posting this. My parents worked for a maximum security prison my whole childhood, and we dealt with a LOT of the same parenting issues. It was difficult for them to deal with hard core criminals all day, and then make the transition to parent at night. I wish I had understood that then, and not taken everything so personally. You are doing great, and I really appreciate your posts. BIG HUGS!!
Longview Texas.

Conny said...

You have a lot of insight in the relation between Curt's military background and his parenting. Our family is the same: not only was my husband in the Army (and ROTC, basically like a Basic Training - you obey on autopilot!), his dad was a state trooper who raised his kids to obey right away without questioning....
For me, in the young/toddler/preschool/elementary years, I do want my kids to obey right away without questions. THEN as they transition, I want to start teaching them the WHY behind what I am asking them to do.
Now, as teens, I still expect obedience but I also am more open to discussion. Something my husband struggles with ... he still sees our kids as kids. I see them as you do - wanting to become independent. And where is the SAFEST place for them to assert this a little more and more: AT HOME where Mom & Dad love them and will pick them up when the decisions they make are wrong or don't work out.
That said, like you, I ask for one thing foremost: RESPECT. Even when the older kids question me, I ask for respect (and try to respect them by letting them have their say); also, my rule is *I* always get the final word.
Anyway, good post ... relevant topic for me!! Thanks!

Liz said...

Well, I don't have a teenager, in fact I have 6 years before my oldest becomes one. I do however have a Sydney. She thinks she's a teenager. Just the word no causes door slams and "You are the worst mom ever!" I know it's probably different when coming from a teenager than a 4 year old but I always try to remember that words like that to them are only words. They will say whatever they can to make you hurt like they are, but the actual feelings like hate aren't really behind those words.

I'm so guilty of taking the bait though. It's one thing I'm working so hard on fixing. I'm a firm believer in lead by example and if I argue, then so will they, end of story. I've always been a hot head and I remember my dad was my best friend. We were so close. I could talk to him about anything and he even took me out to buy "supplies" when I got my first period. I remember him lightening the embarrassing situation by making jokes about pads flying away with wings. He was a cheese ball, but he was also the disciplinarian. I remember being afraid of spankings even as a teenager from him. Running my mouth off as I walked quickly backwards down the hallway so he couldn't swat my behind. I definitely got my temper and my arguing from him but there was one thing he did for a punishment, that I will never forget. One time, in a tantrum, I slammed the door, and I guess he'd had enough. He came right into my room about 30 seconds after the door slamming and took the door right off of the hinges. As a teenage girl, doors are important because of course you want your privacy, so once I earned that door back, you can bet I didn't slam it again.

I think with my dad, part of what made he and I so close was that we liked the same things, we enjoyed hanging out together working on school projects, going to the farmers market together, or even sporting events. He always taught me that I could do anything I wanted in life and that girls can do everything boys can. He made me feel strong and impowered in a world that doesn't always treat women that way. He would make light of embarrassing situations and always make me laugh. He coached my softball teams and all of my friends loved him as well. With discipline, I knew the rules, there was no gray area only black and white, so when I was in trouble, I knew it was coming. Being your kids' best friend doesn't necessarily mean only being the fun one or being a pushover, it means always being there when needed, and giving love and attention. Knowing how to laugh cry with them, discipline your children when they've done wrong, and helping them reach for the stars is what will make them your best friend in the long run.

Sorry, lots of rambling from someone with not a lot of experience as the parent in the situation but loads upon loads of the experience as the hot headed teenager.

Hang in there, it will pass.

Barb said...

Hi Sandra!

Great post! My kids are way past teenage years, in fact, my oldest grandson is 15, almost 16, and my oldest child is 40. I am going to call my daughter and have her read your post, it's perfect, and something she should read!

I raised three children, and it is so true, you need to respect them in order for them to respect you. They all have such different personalities, and need to be dealt with in different ways, especially when it comes to discipline.

I think it's funny that,for some reason, children usually are more afraid of moms, than dads! I think it is because mom is usually the nice, gentle person who nurtures them, and so when she gets upset, and mad, it scares them! Dads are usually a little more neutral, and less scary!

Our youth are growing up in a very difficult era, and they need direction and discipline, it's so important! If they are not taught how to follow rules, and take direction from their parents, they will have a difficult time learning self-discipline, or be able to take direction in life, and we all know that there are lots of rules out there that we must follow! Parents seem to be afraid of their children. They are afraid that if they tell them no, they won't like them. When I was growing up, in the 70's, another very difficult era, my mother would tell me, no, and then cave in under MY pressure. I truly believe that I would have been saved from lots of grief if she would have just said, "no", and stuck to it! Sometimes, no, is the kindest answer.

It sounds like you and your husband are doing a wonderful job raising your children! Stick to your guns!

Great post!


Heart2Heart said...


Are you sure you don't have my daughter, because you are describing her to a tee! I think you hit the nail on the head in a lot of areas and when running two parents managing a teen, you are bound to get a different method each time. Which one is right? Hard to say, because sometimes one will work and the other won't. The next time it happens we try to use those again and the exact opposite happens.

Lord, knows the teen years are difficult because they are literally being flooded with so many things and with technology keeping them running constantly and at such an exponential rate, it's a wonder how they function at all.

Take deep breathes, a lot, and remind yourself that parenting isn't perfection it is helping them to build relationships and learning how to be an adult while they are in that transition stage, no longer a child, but not an adult, so they are struggling with finding a place to fit in. At school, at home, at church, and just love her as much as you can, role modeling the example you want her to follow.

Finally, pray, a lot for God's help and for the Holy Spirit to fill her heart and mind during these difficult stages in her next three years and more to follow.

Love and Hugs ~ Kat

Sweet Tea said...

God bless you, Sandra. You're such a good Mom. Teenagers are difficult. I've raised four and it never got any easier. Sounds like you're doing everything right. Mister and I have been married for 44 yrs and the single thing that we have disagreed on mostly through the years is child-rearing. Men see things differently than women do and sometimes that makes for angst. And, girls are far more difficult to raise than boys. *smile

Our neck of the woods said...

We are in the trenches with you. The dynamics between Dads and teenage daughters are so complex. I could fill up this comment post very quickly! Just hang on Sandra. Just like the toddler years this will go back so fast.
Our strong willed,independent oldest is in college now, she still calls her Daddy whenever she has difficult life choices to make. Its so worth the difficult stages.
God has blessed me with another strong independent daughter. We hanging on for the ride.Thank God we have a boy!

Michelle-ozark crafter said...

I never gt to be a parent but I imagine this time in their life can be hard on everyone.

Carrie B. said...


This really hit home for me as I have a teenage son. We are definitely going through some of the same power struggles and I think your points of dealing with these moments were spot on!

I also think it's good for them to have accountability and know consequences for their actions. Not in a negative way, but in a matter-of-fact way. If you do or say "A" then "B" will happen (ie. loss of xbox, grounded from friends etc). I think they want and need those boundaries.

Thanks so much for sharing and know you're not alone little Mama!

Mamaswan said...

You're so far ahead of the learning curve I had as a mother of teens. The best advice I can remember was to "just get them through it" and "don't react" because so much of what they do and say at this age is for shock value.

I really like the things you listed. Hang in there. You seem to have such a better understanding of the whole process than I did.

Kristina said...

I went through that with my oldest daughter, but now she's a soldier, and very grown up. I am however, going through it with the next kiddos. By now though, I am broken in so to speak, and things are much easier to handle.

~Carla~ said...

Day by day, prayer by prayer my friend!! ((Hugs))