“I Hate You, Mom! I Wish You Were Dead!” — When Kids Say Hurtful Things

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Very angry teen girl saying "I hate you mom"

There are few things in the world that hurt a parent more than hearing their child say “I hate you.” The words cut like a knife. The child you love so much and have sacrificed for in so many ways now hates you.

“I hate you, mom! I wish you were dead!”

“You are the worst mom ever!”

“I can’t wait to get the f— out of this house! I hate it here!”

These words leave parents feeling a combination of hurt, anger, and resentment. Parents will naturally think to themselves:

“Don’t you appreciate all that I have done for you? How dare you speak to me that way!”

It’s so easy to take this as a personal attack because when we give up so much for someone, we almost always expect good things from them in return. Doesn’t my child understand the sacrifices that I have made for her and that I love her?

Your child probably doesn’t feel like he owes you anything for all the great work you do as a parent—most kids don’t.

Here’s the truth: your child probably doesn’t feel like he owes you anything for all the great work you do as a parent. Most kids don’t, in part because they perceive the world very differently than we do.

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What Hurtful Words Really Mean

Let me be clear: it’s very important to understand that these hurtful words your child is using are not about you at all. When you take it personally, it often leads to a big emotional reaction from you which reinforces the bad behavior. This tells your child that he’s powerful—and has power over you—which helps the behavior continue in the future. After all, who doesn’t want to feel powerful at least once in a while?

Kids often spout off hurtful words like these when they have a problem they don’t know how to solve, whether they’re angry, stressed, or dealing with feelings about something bad that happened at school that day. Not being able to handle his problems leads your child to feelings of discomfort—and pushing your buttons and getting a strong emotional reaction from you helps to make up for those feelings of discomfort.

Don’t get me wrong, your child isn’t consciously aware of this in most cases. Nevertheless, causing you to be upset helps him to compensate for his inability to handle the problem he’s facing at the time. Some kids also say hurtful things as a means of trying to get what they want. If they can hurt you, you might feel bad or doubt yourself and then give in. So in some cases, it’s a way to achieve a more tangible goal.

I think it’s also worth noting that kids often have a lot of faulty thinking that they use to justify their behavior. In other words, they think that if they perceive someone as being mean or if they see something as being unfair, that makes it okay to be hurtful towards the offender.

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What Not to Do When Your Child Says Hurtful Things

First, the don’ts. Reacting to what your child says by being angry or upset is normal—after all, you’re only human. While an emotional reaction is a very natural thing, it often leads to ineffective choices. Here is a list of what not to do when your child says mean and hurtful things to you:

Don’t Say Hurtful Things Back

Your natural reaction might be to say something like:

“Well, I hate you too!”

Or,

“Well, I wish I never had you! What do you think about that?!”

But saying something hurtful in response sends your child the message that you are not in control. It also models ineffective problem solving for your child. In other words, it shows your child that the way to handle verbal attacks is to launch a verbal counterattack.

Leave the cursing and name–calling out, too. Two wrongs don’t make a right.

Don’t Scream or Yell

Screaming, yelling, or even raising your voice will lead to the same ineffective outcome as saying something hurtful. You will show your child that you are not in control emotionally, that you are his emotional peer. And again, you are modeling ineffective ways to solve problems or conflicts with others. Not to mention, you’re essentially giving up your power to the child. Do you really want to do that?

Related content: Tired of Yelling at Your Child? Stop Screaming and Start Parenting Effectively

Don’t Say “You can’t…”

A lot of parents respond to their children by saying something like, “You can’t talk to me that way!” Well, the truth is, they can. You can’t control what words come out of your child’s mouth—that’s something they have complete control over at all times.

When you say, “You can’t” to your child, it can incite a power struggle as your child might think, “Oh yeah? Try and stop me!” and on and on he goes. Try to choose other words instead. (I’ll give you some examples of more effective verbal responses in a moment.)

Don’t Try to Reason with Your Child in the Heat of the Moment

Oftentimes, parents will lecture or try to reason with their kids to try to get them to see things their way. Some parents might say, “Well, someday I will be dead, and then what will you do?”

Others might point out all the things they do for their child to convince him he should be more grateful and respectful. That vast difference in perception between you and your child that I mentioned earlier means there’s a very good chance you won’t be able to get him to see eye–to–eye with you. You’re effectively asking him to get up to a level he just isn’t at right now.

As James Lehman says: “Don’t hold your breath… Don’t expect immediate compliance, appreciation, insight, acknowledgment or credit in response to your parenting efforts.” That will come later. Perhaps much later. And when a kid is that upset, he’s not going to be able to really hear what you’re saying, anyway. It’s wasted energy that’s best spent controlling your own emotions instead.

Don’t Punish or Give Big Consequences

It’s very easy for parents to go to that place of, “Fine, if you don’t appreciate anything I do for you or anything you have, then we’ll see how you do without it!” Taking away all of your child’s prized possessions, emptying out his room, or taking things away for weeks or months at a time will not be effective.

Over-the-top punishments will not teach your child the skills he needs to manage himself more effectively in the future. It won’t teach him to not say hurtful things to others. Harsh punishments will only teach him to “do time” and will breed resentment towards you. Consequences do not always speak for themselves. You have to step up to the plate and be your child’s coach.

Related content: Watch James Lehman Explain Effective Consequences

What You Can Do When Your Child Says Hurtful Things

Okay, we know what not to do and what to avoid when our kids say hurtful things. But is there anything we can do? Below are some do’s and effective responses when these situations inevitably arise:

Stay Calm

Take a deep breath and think about what you will say—and how you’ll say it—before you let the words out of your mouth.

Be Aware of Your Nonverbal Communication

Non–verbal cues such as tone, volume, facial expression, body positioning, and the pace of your words are extremely powerful in communication with others. Non–verbal communication or body language can have a huge impact on how your message is interpreted. Try to avoid crossing your arms, putting your hands on your hips, rolling your eyes, or talking at a fast pace, for example.

Keep your facial expressions as neutral as possible. It’s a good idea to do a mental check and ask yourself, “How am I coming across right now with my body language?” and make the appropriate adjustments.

Keep Your Verbal Response Direct and Brief

When your child hurls an insult at you, you can say:

“I’m sorry you feel that way, but you’re still responsible for taking out the garbage.”

“Talking to me that way isn’t going to get you out of doing your homework.”

One of my personal favorites is,

“Maybe you do hate living here, but you still have to be home on time.”

What you’re doing when you respond like this is effectively and gently challenging your child’s poor behavior and helping him see that it isn’t going to solve his problem, and then you’re redirecting him to the task at hand. The goal here is to be assertive, not aggressive.

If You’re Struggling to Stay Cool, Walk Away

When your emotions get the best of you, get yourself involved in another activity that will be calming for you. Walking away shows that you are in control and that you have the authority in the situation. If you’d like, you can come back and address the issue with your child at a later time when things have calmed down, which will be much more effective.

When Your Child Uses Hurtful Words to Get His Way

After your child has used words as a weapon against you, it’s important to try and follow the suggestions above as best you can. With most kids, staying calm, gently challenging them, and setting clear limits (walking away) is enough to gradually decrease the behavior over time.

We don’t recommend giving consequences for hurtful statements because when there are so many challenging things going on, it can become really overwhelming to consequence every little verbal outburst. Picking your battles will be very important, as will not giving in to your child and not giving him what he wants when he speaks to you this way.

If you feel you must do more to address this issue in your home, you can certainly add some problem–solving discussions once things cool off to help your child develop the skills to solve his problems in a more effective way.

Give It Time

Will following these suggestions be easy? No. Will it feel good? Probably not. Will it work? Yes, but it might take some time for both you and your child to make the necessary adjustments.

Also, I know that following these suggestions may make you feel that you are letting your child get away with disrespectful behavior. But these suggestions will help you stay in control, role model positive self–management skills, and set clear limits with your kids. Your actions will show that their behavior is not okay.

So try your best, stay consistent, and remind yourself that even though it doesn’t always feel good, you’re on the right track.

About

Sara Bean, M.Ed. is a certified school counselor and former Empowering Parents Parent Coach with over 10 years of experience working with children and families. She is also a proud mom.

Comments (91)
  • frustrated mom
    I feel bad because my teen son is so rude. I have struggled so hard to get him the help he needs for his emotional and behavioral problems. Today it is very cold, snow, sleet, and wind. I just told him to please take his new gloves and stocking capMore to school and then got ready to drive him to school. But he again had to chew me out and screamed at me and said he did not plan to take his winter stuff with him. Earlier in the school year, he also did not dress warm and got very sick. He ended up missing over 2 weeks of school and is struggling to get caught up. He was recently told that if he misses anymore school, he will fail and have to repeat his school year over. So I have his best interests at heart. But he doesnt care. He acts like I should be ashamed of myself just because I care about him, his health and his school future. He pretty much told me he does not care about me and he resents the fact that I love him in the first place. I am so heartbroken and feel like throwing in the towel. I fought back Stage 4 cancer a few years ago, just to be around to see him grow up. Now he tells me that he resents me and the fact that I love him in the first place. He thinks I am a disgusting human being and hates everything I do for him. I am crying because many kids feel bad when their parents can not provide for them, yet my kid hates me for it. what should I do with such an evil, hurtful young man?
  • Momma S

    What if your child says cruel things even when they are not mad or trying to get you to do something? What if you're having a nice time somewhere then they just say things to make you feel like crap about yourself out of no where?

    I'm having a difficult time knowing what to say in response, he apologized in the past , but now considering this is like the 5th or 6th time saying the same things he know will hurt me, it is harder to forgive. It feels like being in an abusive relationship, but instead of a spouse bullying me and putting me down about myself, my kid does it. I told him it is going to take more than 'I'm sorry' this time and have been just in my room cleaning and working on stuff (sort of having space to myself, because I don't know how to handle it) so that's how I ended up on google and found this article. Anyway, normally my son is not like this--- is this just teenage hormones? I don't remember ever talking to anyone like this, bullying this way, in my life not even as a teenager! He doesn't even get me birthday, Christmas or mother's day gifts- not even a card, unless I complain and make a big deal about how it hurt my feelings then maybe (not always) he will put in an effort. It just feels like crap to feel like my kid doesn't care at all. I'm a single mom, I work hard and my whole schedule revolves around him. I am home when he is home, but he ignores me and I sit wondering why I don't I just work evening shifts since we aren't really spending time together anyway, but I don't. I tried getting him into counseling but he won't open up and talk to anyone, so we are on his 3rd or 4th one now hoping this time he will talk. =/ I can't even talk about this with any of my friends, because I am embarrassed and don't want them to know what kinds of things he says to me and what's going on.

    • Dawn
      Momma S. I could’ve written your response!! I am going through the SAME thing right now. I wish I had answers, but I’m just as lost as you are. I do know that my son does have built up anger and resentment after the divorce. That’s where his stems from.
  • Simone
    What should you do when your child (I'm a stepmom to 7 year old stepdaughter, I'm married to her mum and we have her every other week) negotiates EVERYTHING? you ask her to do something and she'll say "How about we do this?" or "I'll only do that, if IMore can do this" it's so exhausting
  • I used to be a single mom I have 20 years old daughter and 15 years old son. I sacrifice a lot in order to support them. I worked abroad at their young age but I was given the opportunity to bring them here in Canada and live with me. Their father have his own family now and I have husband now too . My husband is Is taking care of me and my kids even they are not his own. My big problem is my son he is addicted so much in playing games online , I spoke to him many times that he should limit his playing time when me and my husband is at home because that time should be our family to watch tv at least , not watching him while playing . He kept on playing and not respecting everything I’m saying , he don’t even have effort in throwing our garbage even his own garbage from his bedroom. Very little favor I’m asking not to play a lot specially when I’m busy in our kitchen so that I cant see him playing cause he don’t even bother helping me taking the groceries if I don’t ask . When he asked something that I can’t afford I’m bad mother on his eyes. I saw him messaging his friends saying My mother is going mental and she’s getting crazy , I want to punch her badly in the face. I was hurt and asked him did he understand the meaning what he said , and he said yes . I felt very unrespected mother . Until one day I told him you forgot again that you have time limit playing and it makes me angry cause we are having same everyday issue. It
    I used to be a single mom I have 20 years old daughter and 15 years old son. I sacrifice a lot in order to support them. I worked abroad at their young age cause their father didn’t bother to look for a job . I was given theMore opportunity to bring them here in Canada and live with mewithout their father , he have his own family now and I have husband now too . My husband is Is taking care of me and my kids even they are not his own. My big problem is my son he is addicted so much in playing games online , I spoke to him many times that he should limit his playing time when me and my husband is at home because that time should be our family to watch tv at least , not watching him while playing . He kept on playing and not respecting everything I’m saying , he don’t even have effort in throwing our garbage even his own garbage from his bedroom. Very little favor I’m asking not to play a lot specially when I’m busy in our kitchen so that I cant see him playing cause he don’t even bother helping me taking the groceries if I don’t ask . When he asked something that I can’t afford I’m bad mother on his eyes. I saw him messaging his friends saying My mother is going mental and she’s getting crazy , I want to punch her badly in the face. I was hurt and asked him did he understand the meaning what he said , and he said yes . I felt very unrespected mother . Until one day I told him you forgot again that you have time limit playing and it makes me angry cause we are having same everyday issue and I felt he is doing it by intention to make me piss off . It makes me mad when he is not listening and I learned to speak bad words too because he never listen when I’m talking nice until he told me bitch! you’re not being a mother, infront of my husband . I felt useless mother and no words I can explain my feeling . A kid that I give food everyday and staying under my roof said Im bitch and not being a mother😭. My heart was broken and even I remember that night I still cry until now . I felt don’t have right to be their mother. I felt he is the one giving rule at my own home . I felt sorry to myself because he never see my sacrifices. I don’t know what to do . Do I have to tolerate his actions? Do I have to just ignore how he treat me? As a person I felt my life was broken into pieces , not to know how to start building myself as a person again especially being a mother cause my own kid judged me ... I felt broken 😭
  • Cy

    I have been with a great man for almost 3 years now. I have my own home in another town, come visit him and his 2 teenage sons, 16 and 18 for up to 2 weeks at a time. It works for us. And things were going great. My children are all grown, in their 30's with their own children, hard working little families. I have never interfered with my boyfriends raising of his boys, but will discuss things with boys when he requests, etc. Recently the 16 year old has taken offence to me.. I am not 100% sure why, although I know their relationship with their mother, who they don't see, maybe every couple years, is not good. She is a heavy drinker and does not communicate with the boys very well. So they other day, I asked they young one, "Are you having issues with me?" he said.. "Yes! I don't like you and I don't want you here!"

    That blew me away, they he began to raise his voice, his father come in at this point and said he will not tolerate him disrespecting me. But too late, he did and too late, I am hurt, because he does not have a valid reason for that remark. His father is sending him for professional help.

    I am wondering .. should I stay away for longer period of times? Do I leave the relationship?

    I am confused and hurt. Even though I do know this is not about me, but about his relationship, non existent with their mother.

    Bothered and Bewildered! :(

  • Sarah

    Great article!! I’m not a mum, I’m an auntie. I absolutely dote on my 11 year old nephew. He is like my part time son. One day I was at my sisters house for abit about 10 mins. He’s real mum (my sister) made him finish his homework when he didn’t want to. When I left I got a series of messages saying that “he wishes I was dead” and “hope you choke on your food”. I was So shocked and really hurt. I give him so much support, love and he always calls me if he has issues. Why did he say that to me??? Shouldn’t it be his mum?? She made him do his homework not me.

    Please help. How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again. I feel he thinks he can say that to me because of how much love I show him.

    How should I manage this. I can’t just let him text such things and think its ok. I am trying to think of the right approach here.

    I have not sent any messages back and will see him soon.

    Sometimes I feel I should love him less...but how does anyone do that?

    I don’t let him walk all over me and will discipline him when needed. This was a strange attack from him when I had nothing to do with the situation.

    How do I control this from ever happening again?

    Do I pretend nothing happened and be normal?

    Thanks for any suggestions.

    Also I don’t want to tell his mum and get him into more trouble.

  • Josh
    The article is good; it has some really good advice. Then it comes to the place where it says "Well my darling, I know you fu***ng hate to do your homework but you have to do it anyway." That's when I said "Ha, ha, ha....". There comes anMore age when he can just say back with a tender smile on his face: "Well guess what Daddy, you can go fun yourself because I am not going to even get it out of my backpack". And what are you going to do then? If you have some instruments, like cutting his privileges, do cut them. Do it in a calm non-aggressive way. Act like an adult knowing who is the adult and who is the teen ager. But do it anyway. A world with no consequences for his actions or of having things for free is not the best idea of the real world that he will have to face. You might still not solve it, granted. I am just saying that what is described by the author about "you are going to have to do your homework anyhow" doesn't necessarily work. The internet has brought so many benefits, but it has also alienated our kids.
  • nycola

    My beloved 10 year old daughter is a complete tornado at home recently. Pubity has hit (although not the cycles) and she has become a raging bull.

    i have 2 other children (6&3) and have felt in the past i have not given my eldest daughter the dedicated 1on1 time she desires. working, keeping a nice home and having 3 children is a huge task in itself. This aside, i made a conscious choice to 'leave the house until later' and gave my daughter what i believed she needed. mummy / daughter time alone.

    However, she has developed a sincere hate/ dislike for me, screaming and shouting the house down each night (over nothing let me add), banging, horrible and hurtful words... the list goes on and on.

    i am at my wits end. really do not know which way to turn for help. My family have tried to intervene and get to the root of whatever the issue she has is, but she will not let us in.

    i have always been close to my daughter and we talk about everything, but now seems really hard to even have a civilised conversation about school like normal. I fear that if this isn't stamped out now, that this anger and fury she has within, will just get worse and worse, and she will end up doing something terrible. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the changes you are seeing with your daughter right now. As you noted, it’s not uncommon for kids to have these drastic changes in behavior with the onset of adolescence. This doesn’t mean that you have to accept this behavior, though.More One of the most effective things you can do in the moment is to remain calm and set a clear limit with your daughter. You can find more suggestions in Anger, Rage and Explosive Outbursts: How to Respond to Your Child or Teen’s Anger. I recognize how tough this must be for you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Stacy
    My husband came home from work one day and caught my 16yr old drinking our liquor with a friend. Both intoxicated! My husband was obviously mad and lecturing when my son says to him "I hate you, I wish you werent my father. Im going to call you Travis fromMore now on because I dont have a dad"! That was weeks ago and now neither one of them will have anything to do with the other! My husband now refers to him as "My son"! How can I fix this?
    • Rebecca Wolfenden, Parent Coach
      I’m so sorry to hear about the current tension between your husband and your son, and I’m glad that you’re here reaching out for support. When conflict drags on for weeks, it can become more difficult to overcome the building hurt feelings on both sides. In these situations,More it tends to be more effective for the parent to “break the ice”, as teens tend to lack the necessary social skills to take that first step. You and your husband might find some additional guidance in Fighting with Your Teen? What to Do After the Blowout 7 Steps to Defuse the Tension. I recognize what a tough situation this must be for all of you, and I hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going for you and your family. Take care.
  • Dawn Hobbs Wilson
    Mk....I was very sad to read your comment. I'm not sure the ages or gender of your Children, but if they're anywhere between 11 and 17.....what you describe is very common. Unfortunately, for some reason (or many reasons), during these years a lot of kids find it much easier toMore express their Feelings to their Mother. But please try to remember that it does not mean that they don't Feel the Same way about You!! It sounds like you have been there for them as a Father, and believe me, they KNOW that!!! Just be Patient and continue to Bethe Wonderful Father you have always been! As your Children get closer to becoming mature young Adults, I truly believe they will one day wrap you in their arms, and express their Love and Gratitude for all that you have been to them!!! Oh, and just the fact that you read this Article, tells me a lot about the kind of man you are!!!
  • Mk
    I work hard two jobs financial support my family and give up so much for my family which enables my wife to be home for the kids.Im not asking for a reward but it's a slap in the face when they thank there mom online and on social mediaMore for everything and that she was a great influence in their life and nothing is said about me ,totally forgotten. Jealous of that yes,but proud of my wife but hurt as a father whose always thought about them I also always spent lots of quality time with them ,special daddy nights and events that allowed me many 4gr sleep nights for years I'm Very sad as a father
  • Beaten
    Too bad no amount of calm and reasonable does the slightest bit of good when they're being poisoned and lied to by their sperm donor.  I compliment and acknowledge the good things, and I am calm and willing to listen when it comes to the negative, but no, I'm mean,More I'm a bad person, our home would be happier without me in it.  I'm about ready to give up.  Already had to send the oldest to a relative because he was being violent, and the others are starting down the same road.  I'm sorry, kids, that I want you to be safe, healthy and responsible.
  • karenjack
    since i was a kid my parents verbally abused me yet said it was my fault when i ultimately took the bate, so to speak.  I mean, I know sometimes kids yell rude things just be hurtful, but sometimes parents are worse?  They have basically no one to stop themMore and posts like this make them feel justified in basically not listening or validating the emotions and words of their children.  So just be careful and remember that kids are their own people and you have to respect that.  (actually, you don't HAVE to, and many parents don't, but you should, because otherwise you could scar your children deeply.)  Try to remember what it felt like when your parents didn't respect you.   That's what I think about when my daughter Rose, age 7, occasionally lashes out.  She has her reasons, even if they are hard for me to see.  I try to teach her how to handle her emotions.  I want her to learn that skill that I was never taught so she will be a successful adult.
  • Brmaja
    All this said was what not to do. I'm sick and tired of not being able to patent or diclsciplen my child cuz the school will call cps or so and so said its wrong. I call BS. Kids these days have no respect for anyone and expert to getMore everything they don't deserve. Well I for one am putting my foot down. I've had enough.
  • Mommabug
    Hello, I have a 8 year old daughter that is home most of the time, but goes to her dad's on off weekends and some holidays. She has a younger sister with him and his ex but he has since been divorced and remarried (less than a yearMore later). I have another daughter that is two that I do not share custody of, she is only with me. I am having an extremely rough time with her. She screams at me, throws all out fits and scares her baby sister. She does this when I tell her to do her chores, don't allow tv watching, tell her no or tell her to do anything. She says terribly nasty things to me, will not go to her room or be quite. She follows me when I try to walk away and challenges me when I say there'll be consequences or punishment. I've tried being calm, spanking (which she'll scream like crazy) and taking things away. Her dad and his new wife are terrible to me, too. His wife is so rude and tells my daughter what I say doesn't matter. He is now suing me for custody. I did not have these issues prior to my youngest being born or his new wife. I know my oldest doesn't think her dad loves her, that I love her sister more and she wants his new wife to like her. I'm so exhausted being yelled at and I'm a single one income person... I am going above and more for her. I haven't escalated a review in child support in 6 years... so it's very little help. I'm trying not to take it personally, but I yell back sometimes and I've said "this is stupid" or something like that. I've cussed. I am so hurt by her behavior and I live in an apartment building where my neighborshear everything. For the longest they thought it was me yelling all the time. It's embarrassing.
    • Naio

      Hi, Mommabug.

      I am a mom to a now 10 year old with similar behavior problems. She comes back worse after being with her dad. We don't have a set schedule so it's on and off sometimes off for months at a time. So when she's finally with him everything is great because he's Disney land dad no homework,no responsibilities. It doesn't help he and his GF hate me. She was his family friend who became my friend and was sleeping around with him behind my back for months before I found out 6 years ago. So they hate me for reasons beyond my Understanding If I receive 20$ a month from him it's a lot and I don't ask or contact him. So I can relate and I am sorry.

      I really think you should seek counseling for your child. Of course things aren't perfect still but my daughter was diagnosed with ADHD/ODD her behavior is very similar to your case. She's on medication and therapy once a week. While the medication is for concentration it helps her mood wise slightly so she is able to process what comes out her mouth before she says it. Although the fact that she goes over to her fathers and she has her father and girlfriend openly speaking bad about me and my boyfriend who has played daddy since she was 5 does not help. Having someone to express those feelings of confusion weekly is affective for the most part. I really feel as if your child has issues she herself doesn't know how to deal with on her own and I highly recommend outside help as it is not a complete solution I can vouch for the difference I see

  • KimHardly
    It is a good article
  • EmmaHumphries123
    My son is nearly 13. He has been picking on his younger siblings. He has been steering food and money from me on a daily basis and twice in one week he has smashed up my house.he has thrown things, broke things and I feel like he gets offMore on it. he enjoys hurting me, he and I feel like a complete failed and a let down I get so angre it can take me hours to calm down. I am at the point where I can't look at him or be in the same room as him. Someone please help me.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport
      EmmaHumphries123 I’m so sorry to hear about the challenges you are facing with your son, and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  Feeling angry,guilty and overwhelmed is understandable given what you are experiencing with your son.  In this type of situation, it tends to be most effectiveMore to focus on one or two of the most serious behaviors at a time.  With what you have described, it could be useful to start with the way he is treating others in the family, as well as his choice to break things.  We have numerous articles, blogs and other resources which you might find helpful as you move forward with your son.  Here are a couple to help you get started: https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/is-your-defiant-child-damaging-or-destroying-property/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-odd-child-is-physically-abusive-to-siblings-and-parents-help/  I recognize how difficult this must be for you and your younger children right now, and I wish you all the best moving forward.  Take care.
  • Heather41971
    I totally needed to read this today. And unfortunately I did everything that you suggested not to do. My daughter made me feel terrible today by running for a hug to my friend instead of me when I picked her up at preschool. She then proceeded toMore tell me she loves her more than me. My feelings were hurt I was brought to tears. She continued to make comments and I continued with the comments also. Doesn't help that she is battling me with everything these days. Brushing teeth, getting dressed, getting in the car. Either she gives me a hard time about doing it or she makes an annoying game out of it which causes me to get mad and yell. She's 3 1/2 and I'm just exhausted.
  • Flats
    These are such helpful tips and reminders! Thankyou. How should we handle the situation when we hear our young children saying unkind things or calling us names to others (when they don't realise we've over heard)?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Flats 

      We

      often get questions about how to handle situations where you overhear your

      child behaving disrespectfully or calling names, so you are not alone.As James Lehman points out in https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/sassy-kids-how-to-deal-with-a-mouthy-child/, part of addressing this will be

      making the judgment call of what you are willing to let go, and what you need

      to address.For example, you might

      decide to enforce the rule around no name-calling, and let milder forms of

      disrespect slide in those situations.Please let us know if you have additional questions; take care.

  • Ozmom

    Hi,

    My problem is with a daughter who is 10. We are on a shared custody agreement with my ex-husband. She has said several times that she doesn't like living with me and she hates me and other hurtful words. There is parental alienation involved and has been proven. How do I handle her and de brief every time she comes back?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Ozmom 

      I’m sorry to hear about the difficulty you experience when your daughter

      returns to your home.Transitioning

      between houses can be challenging for many kids, and can lead to many power

      struggles and arguments.It can be

      helpful to plan out some time for your daughter to adjust when she returns to

      your home before you communicate with her.For example, she might take an hour to unpack, take a shower, and hang

      out in her bedroom before you reconnect with each other.Debbie Pincus offers more tips on this in her

      article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/parenting-after-divorce-9-ways-to-parent-on-your-own-terms/.Please be sure to write back and let us know

      how things are going for you and your daughter.Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    Brokenness  

    I’m so sorry to hear about the death of your daughter. 

    Losing a child to suicide is an experience which no parent should have to go

    through, and I cannot even begin to imagine the pain you must be in.  I

    hope that you have some support for yourself during this time.  If you

    want more information on available supports in your community, I encourage you

    to contact the http://www.211.org/ at

    1-800-273-6222.  211 is a service which connects people with resources in

    their local area, such as counselors, support groups, and so on.  I wish

    you all the best as you continue to move forward.  Take care.

  • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

    confused mom2 

    I’m so sorry to

    hear about what you are currently experiencing with your son.  While I

    understand not wanting to lose your son, you also deserve to be safe from

    threats and abuse.  Even if his dad and grandmother are influencing your

    son, he is the one who is ultimately responsible for his behavior.  You

    indicated that your son is currently in counseling, and I hope that you also

    have support for yourself. As Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner point out

    in their article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/signs-of-parental-abuse-what-to-do-when-your-child-or-teen-hits-you/, working

    with someone locally to help you through this time can be useful.  If you

    are not currently working with anyone, try contacting the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222.  211 is a

    service which connects people to resources available in their community. 

    I recognize how challenging this must be for you, and I wish you all the best

    moving forward.  Take care.

  • NZ Teenager

    Hello all! If you think I'm a liar so be it but I'm a 14 year old from New Zealand to give a teenage perspective.

    PLEASE KEEP IN MIND I AM ONLY ONE CHILD FROM A FOREIGN COUNTRY, EVERY CHILD AND EVERY COUNTRY IS DIFFERENT SO DON'T SOLEY RELY ON ME

    In my view, at our teenage years we distance ourselves from our parents. Not cause we don't love you, it's just that parents don't seem to understand us. I'm sure all of you know about Puberty changing teenagers mental priorities.

    They'll start to change, they will start to value their friend's, or people they like, opinion as if their life depends on it. So with this and maybe more mental priority changes we're not the same 7 year old you could tickle and get sloppy kisses from. Your teenager is now more accustomed to, in their view currently, the hardest time of their lives. You have to understand that you have to give support, you have to become their friend.

    Being their parent or caretaker isn't good enough at this age, you need to befriend your child. You can tell if you've done this correctly if you and your child makes casual jokes about intimate subjects. Which may sound bad, but it means that they trust you enough to tell you these jokes. You can tell if they're distancing themselves if they watch their phones a lot play on computer games a lot, don't talk much etc.

    I honestly wouldn't know how to make friends with a teenager at the point but some things I can think of that may help reconnect them with you is

    1) Get to know their hobbies and what they do online

    Firstly if they're playing a video game for example maybe try to learn a little about the game, learn the culture that comes with it. But don't be too pushy and disrupt your teenagers gameplay, you have to find the right moments to make comments or joke about something in the game.

    2) If you're telling them off keep it short and sharp

    I know when you're telling them off they might really REALLY get on your nerves, you just want to explode on them really but you just have to stay calm. Keep it short and sharp, try to empathize "Why did my teenager do that?" "Did my teenager do it for social standing?" But I really couldn't stress the importance of keeping it SHORT AND SHARP. Just think back to when your parents were telling you off. You'd just get ignore everything and get more angry the more they waffled on right? So keep it short and sharp. And don't insult them right? It honestly just. makes it worse, like their trying to keep a clam head and then you tell them how stupid and how much of an idiot they are it doesn't work at all.

    3) Use your past experience as a teenager

    When you were a teenager I'm sure you disliked your parents at least one stage. Think of your overall teenage experience, think of what your own parents did right or wrong and correct the mistakes BUT BE WARNED, a lot has changed in 20 years. Internet was made and teenage culture always evolves. So take your experience as a guide line but be ready to adapt. If you, however come from a 3rd world country and your child is growing up in a 1st world Western society your differences in young adulthood may be so different your experiences might not be relevant

    4) Don't be a dictator, let them of some freedom

    Now this tip is kind of like a double edged sword. You let your teenager grow themselves learning from their own mistakes while receiving some wisdom from you. They will find their own unique way of dealing with situations and answer the question "Who am I?" BUT this requires maturity from your teenager. If you're career is a teacher it maybe even harder to adapt to this. I've been in classrooms for long enough to know that to be successful as a teacher you need to be able to empathize with students as well as show clearly you are the leader, you are the boss. BUT being a parent is completely opposite of being the boss. Respect is voluntarily given not forcefully. You want to be there when your teenager is under hard times so they can tell you really intimate or embarrassing secrets. So that you can help them.

    5) Goals

    Goals are a good thing to have, that's a no brainer. But sometimes you need to set some for your child. Now not like "When you grow up you HAVE to be this or that" just small goals then work your way up and help them along the way like this "How about everyday we run 1.5km a day, you and me. It's not that much, we can do it!" You see how different the two are? One is being forceful and uses really harsh language then the other one is soft toned, and you help them to achieve it and pushes your child slightly with the "It's not much we can do it!" But when setting goals make sure that you aren't actually tapping into some social insecurity they have. And there's a difference from pushing them and friendly reminders to down right annoying and frequent every teenagers has different thresholds before they get annoyed learn to read their social body language etc.

    6) Remember to take jokes as jokes

    Currently in my country jokes in teenage culture are rarely about the news and real life events. It's about JOKINGLY insulting their friends, so just remember to take things not to seriously be ready to adapt. And MAKE ABSOLUTELY SURE you aren't jokingly insulting one of their best friends or their own insecurities or else all hell breaks loose

    7) Be adaptable,

    If I haven't made it clear enough YOU MUST BE ADAPTABLE every teenager is different and changes over the course of Puberty you need to be ready to move with the river

    So yea that's it hope you found some of these useful, once again you should be only taking these tips as GUIDELINES, this is because all teenagers are different, all country cultures are different. I've grown up in a different household to your teenager, so while I maybe 14 years old I can NEVER speak for them

    • PebbziePeeMorton
      Wow! I can't believe you are only 14 years old! You have written this with great articulation and wisdom beyond your years! I have gotten a lot out of your comment here and as a mother of a 13 year old daughter, I am going to take much of whatMore you have said on board! I remember being a teenage girl and feeling as though my parents just didn't understand me! I can definitly say that my friends were my EVERYTHING back then! I remember my parents giving me a lot of freedom, and yet, in hind site, I don't think that's what I needed or even craved! I got up to a lot of mischief and I'm actually very lucky to have not ever gotten into any real trouble!! Now that I'm a mother, I can definitly say that I don't think my parents gave me the correct guidance that a teenager needs, yes they loved me, and sometimes their "love" allowed me to walk all over them!! I really hope to not make the same mistakes they made with me!! I'm very lucky to have grown up in the 90's when we didn't have the Internet and social media and mobile phones! It actually scares me a lot to know I'm raising a young lady on today's society! So I thank you for your honest words of wisdom from a teenager growing up today!!
  • ART1977
    My six-year-old did not want to leave her Grandmother's tonight and when I said let's go, she said okay just dont  hurt me....I was hurt mostly but in shock also, as I have never done anything to cause my child to fear me..I am still hurt and confused by whatMore she said...her explanation did not explain why she said it..I do not know if she even knows why she did...but I am feeling pretty bad about it because I want to understand what caused her to say such a thing..
  • Loria1984
    I need help with my daughter really bad. Can someone help me please
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Loria1984 

      Thank you for

      reaching out for support.  I can hear how concerned you are about your

      daughter, and how much you want to help her.  Something that can be

      helpful is to pick one behavior or issue to focus on at a time, so you don’t

      become overwhelmed when trying to address everything at once.  You might

      find our article, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/my-childs-behavior-is-so-bad-where-do-i-begin-how-to-coach-your-child-forward/. 

      Please let us know if you have additional questions.  Take care.

  • Zoe

    My 5 year old tells me he hates me and I'm the worst mummy in the world (normally at bedtime)

    His father then almost shoes praise by allowing him to go back downstairs

    And this evening he said it and his father took him downstairs to watch the football!

    It hurts so badly and then to be undermined by my husband too makes me feel totally useless ;(

  • Lori
    Hi guys I been reading your articles for a couple of years now and this is my first time writing a comment, because it's the first time I don't know what to do. My 10 year old son with adhd had become very aggressive with his words lately. HeMore shows no feelings when I tell him that what he is saying is not nice. I am always reminding him that the same way he talk to people is the same way they will talk to him. He is loosing friends in school. At home he wants to be the center of attention, but when he gets the attention his never nice.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Lori 

      It can be

      challenging when your child’s behavior starts changing in a more negative way,

      and I’m glad that you are reaching out for support.  It’s not uncommon for

      kids your son’s age to start testing limits and pushing boundaries with regard

      to respectful communication and how they treat others around them.  In

      addition, if becoming more aggressive with his words is providing some benefit

      to him (such as increased attention, even if it is negative attention), then

      that can strengthen this response and make it more likely to happen in the

      future.  James Lehman offers tips on how to address this pattern of

      behavior in his article series, https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/kids-who-are-verbally-abusive-part-1-the-creation-of-a-defiant-child/ and https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/when-kids-get-ugly-how-to-stop-threats-and-verbal-abuse-part-2/.  Thank

      you for being a loyal reader of our site, and please be sure to let us know if

      you have any additional questions.  Take care.

  • Dan
    I don't think there's much of a difference between go die and I'll kill you in a young kid. It's a need for control. It's undesirable but don't pathologize tantrums.
  • TeleriFerchNyfain
    AND my classic response when MY daughters said this to me?  'I still love YOU"  :d
  • Sadmummy

    Please help. Over the last two weeks my 7 year old daughter has started saying these phrases at every given opportunity, "I was going to say I wish grandad was dead but I don't, I was going to say you're fat but you're not, I was going to say I hate you but I don't, I was going to say dinners disgusting but it's not". This is all day, every day and I'm at my wits end. The last straw was last night when we were having dinner and she looked at me and said "I was going to say you're a pig but you're not". I've tried ignoring it, telling her that it's a shame she feels like like, but a couple of times ive exploded and sent her to her room or shouted at her. I feel like I'm being verbally tortured ?

    My daughter has been stressed over the last month because I've been in hospital and since then I've been poorly. I think there is a connection with the negative comments. I'm a single parent and my daughter doesn't get much support from her father, even lately when I've been really unwell, so I'm sure this has an affect.

    I feel like she hates me and is doing everything she can to hurt me but I also realise that she's trying desperately to get my attention. It's very sad for her and I don't know how to deal with it so I can help her.

    • Mariella100
      How did you end up helping your daughter?
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      Sadmummy 

      It can be very

      hurtful to hear these kinds of phrases from your child.  As pointed out in

      the article above, it is likely that your daughter is using these statements as

      a way to figure out some kind of problem she doesn’t yet have the skills to

      solve effectively.  Kim Abraham and Marney Studaker-Cordner outline some

      suggestions to address this type of behavior, such as giving your daughter more

      appropriate problem-solving skills and providing positive reinforcement when

      she is behaving respectfully.  You can find more tips in their article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/how-to-respond-to-disrespectful-children-and-teens/.  Please be sure to

      check back and let us know how things are going.  Take care.

  • somewhereinportland

    Thank you for the suggestions on how to deal with backtalk and attitude. 

    I'm confused on how to deal with it when he doesn't say anything, when he makes noises, mocks us, or makes faces. 

    What is the best way to react to my 8 year old step-son when he mocks me? He started mocking a couple months ago. He does it to me, my spouse, and his peers. It could be something I said, a sneeze, a laugh. He does it with a tone that suggests "you're stupid."

    He also makes faces at me: weird contortions with his face. If he doesn't get his way, these faces can be aggressive.

    Lately I have been leaving the room-- cutting the interaction short. Either by going without saying another word, or saying "bye" if I'm dropping him off somewhere.

    Could I make a joke out of it? "If you keep making that face, it will freeze that way." or "You won't make any friends with a face like that." Those sound like cliches parents say.

    His teacher said he his behavior is bordering on bullying at school. She wrote this to us yesterday: "Various children frequently report his words that hurt their feelings or are disrespectful. He daily has issues with his ability to keep his body to himself; grabbing, pushing, purposely blocking people, kicking, chest bumps, or jockeying for positions in line.  He watches and sees what will annoy someone and then purposely bothers/pesters them--waiting for a reaction."

    I quit smoking at the end of February, and I'm thinking the discomfort/agony/pain from quitting has caused me to have a lower threshold for things. And I think that may have impacted him. But he still had been bringing daily reports home from his teacher, so other than his "mean" behaviors, this has been going on since before I quit smoking.

    We saw a counselor twice, but it wasn't the right fit, so we're looking for another one. 

    Any guidance you could offer  would be gladly accepted.

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      somewhereinportland

      You ask a great question. In many cases, the best response

      may be no response at all. When a parent gives attention to behaviors like

      rolling eyes, making faces or mocking, it gives those behaviors power. So,

      whenever possible, try to ignore it when your son does those things. When

      ignoring it isn’t possible, setting the limit and walking away is another

      option. For example, you can say to your son something like “That behavior

      isn’t going to make me change my mind” and then stop interacting with him. You

      may find the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/ helpful for your situation as

      well. I hope this helps to answer your question. Take care.

  • Desperate Mom16

    Please help!!!! My son thinks I abandoned him yrs ago...which he was told. Never judge a book by it's cover.

    We began to have a very close relationship when I fought for custody, but when his Dad chose a women over him, and moved to Florida....I am paying the price after time goes on.

    The promises his Dad has made, have fallen thru, and he is beginning to see for himself.

    However, I am not rich, I am trying my best...and I do mean best to show him what am amazing young man he is, and give him the unconditional love, inspiration, self-building skills, and teach him responsibilities, and to never let ANYONE tell him he CAN'T OR IS NOT WORTHY of doing something.

    But now...he says...He hates me, doesn't want to live with me...and consistently defies me!!!!

    I have Stage IV cancer...I gave up my treatments to get a job to provide for him, that's how much I want him to be happy!!!!!

    However...we both have anger problems...and I am the parent...I need some advice....PLEASE HELP!!!!!!

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Desperate Mom16

      It can be heartbreaking when a child that you love and

      sacrifice for says such hurtful things. It’s understandable you would be upset.

      It can be helpful to recognize that it’s not unusual for kids to say

      disrespectful, hurtful things when they are faced with situations that cause

      them anger or frustration. Many kids and teens lack effective coping skills and

      will often lash out in attempt to manage the negative emotions they are

      experiencing. Not personalizing the behavior is an important first step in managing

      it. This will help to take some of the emotion out which will help you respond

      in a way that doesn’t further escalate the situation. Carole Banks gives some

      great tips for this in her article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/disrespectful-child-behavior-dont-take-it-personally/. You  do have a lot on your

      plate right now, raising your son and battling cancer. I encourage you to start

      taking steps to take care of yourself. It can challenging to be an effective

      parent when your in top health. It can be near impossible when your sick. I

      hope you find this information useful for your situation. Be sure to check back

      and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • ThinkJay

    I'm Jonathan, a kid from the city.  I usually cuss when I get mad and my mom hates her children cussing. I'm 14 and NO one has tried to help me with anything so most of the time I feel like a lost cause. She always compares me to my sister (16 and a lot better at everything.)  I am never in a good mood at my house. Unless im with my dad, which he and I have a great relationship.  Recently I thought my mom was out of the house and I just found out that I was banned from a game that cost a lot of money and I loved playing with my friends over Skype for fun.  I was really mad because I just started getting good at it and now ill have to rebuy the game (because this is how the game is setup. you can't just make another account. Stupid right?) I don't want to buy the game again.  Then at this time my mom starts spamming my phone with texts saying "what are you doing?" over and over and over again. And it's on my glass desk on vibrate which honestly gets really annoying.  And she keeps on texting me so I get mad because im stressed that i have to buy the game again and now i have to deal with my mom. So I stupidly start spewing out words like "shut the f*** up you b****" Again. I take responsibility for what i said and i know it was wrong saying those words, but I said them and my mom was supposed to be at work this morning but instead she got called off and was laying in bed texting me, rather than getting up and just asking me. so she hears me talk all this trash and she comes in almost crying saying "wow. all those words were directed towards me? thats very hurtful son. very hurtful." and Yeah i get it. It wasn't my place to say that but again, I was pissed. I already apologized but she didn't accept it. What do I do? She hates me. Also everything from number 5 she does when shes mad, and controls what i do with guilt trips and uses her parental power that she has over me to clean up her mess and what shes too lazy to do. My dad and my mom are divorcing but i cant stay with my dad because he hardly makes enough to help pay rent, and he works from 3-2:30 monday-friday, making it impossible for me to live with him and go to school. Just to give you a little background on what is happening in my life so you can at least give me ideas on what to do.

    "

    Don’t punish or give big consequences. It’s very easy for parents to go to that place of, “Fine, if you don’t appreciate anything I do for you or anything you have, then we’ll see how you do without it!” Taking away all of your child’s prized possessions, emptying out his room, or taking things away for weeks or months at a time will not be effective. Why? Because these punishments will not teach your child the skills he needs to manage himself more effectively in the future to not say hurtful things to others. They will only teach him to “do time” and will breed resentment towards you. Consequences do not always speak for themselves. You have to step up to the plate and be your child’s coach."

    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      ThinkJay

      I am so sorry you are facing these struggles with your

      family. It can be upsetting when you don’t see eye to eye with your parent.

      Since we are a website aimed at helping parents of acting out children, we are

      limited in the coaching or advice we are able to offer. There is a website that

      may be able to give you the advice and support you are looking for. http://www.yourlifeyourvoice.org/ is a website

      aimed at helping teens and young adults deal with challenges they may be

      facing. They offer help in various ways – through online support, e-mail, text,

      and a call in service. I encourage you to check out the site to see what they

      have to offer. Best of luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

    • ThinkJay
      I also have to add that i am extremely nice to everyone and she was born in Compton and I am always nice to her but she always seems to catch the bad things that i do and never complimenting me on the good things. Like having a job, havingMore all B's in school, or being independent (or as much as i can be with her taking away everything that i do in my spare time like, My phone, desktop, and ipod. And once im done doing my homework and chores she makes me sit in my room and think. She makes it impossible for me to do anything else. And ever since my mom and my dad hate eachother she has been taking her anger out on me and being very sexist and rude towards me, like a few weeks ago I had many things in my hands at once and i couldnt move or something would fall and then i would have to put everything down and restart, so it was common sense not to move my arms. and my sisters arms weren't full at all, she was holding three things at most.  and my sister said "jonathan arent you going to get the door?" and my mom replies under her breath "hes a boy he cant do anything productive." which i really hated because i hate sexist things along with stereotypes.  Then this morning my mom closed her door after waking me and me alone up so i got ready to do to school and once i was all ready for school my mom comes out and wakes my sister mad because i (and i quote) "wake up caitland your brother didn't have common sense to wake you up" which i have never woken her up. my mom always wakes her up. So why now all of a sudden do i have to wake her up? and my mom replies that i have to be more independent... SO she woke me up and she wanted me to wake up my sister? and she took away my phone so i don't have a clock to wake me up. What part of that is "independent"? In other words my mom hates me. Help.
  • Blindsquirrelsnut54
    Would she happen to be a Gemini? Just curious! Bc mine is. I know. I'm sorry for the trivial question. However I deeply sympathize with your situation. Going thru it myself
  • Blindsquirrelsnut54
    Yeah, that sounds really fine good and great! But what if you have extinuating circumstances! Such as myself 43, and my daughter16, live with my father 75 yrs. Old. It's constantly a tug of war trying to gain back control of my girl. I'm afraid it's simply too late bcMore my dad refuses to come to my defense. Abbey has my dad wrapped around her finger. He witnesses the disrespect and takes her side!! She eats this crap up! While I secretly cringe. I know the solution wld be to move out asap. But sometimes finances are a factor in real life situations. Also, I need to add that she will be 17 in June and has a bf. She is on birth control. She has a job. She does very well in school. She has never ever spoken to me or treated me like this before a week ago. Her father was never around. Although she didn't want for anything growing up. I did my fair share of spoiling her. My mom( who lives out of state) spoils her rotten. Along with her aunt in Ga. Spoils her rotten even more. So much so that Now that my income decreased I'm looked down upon and judged superficially by her and my aunt and mom. Not to mention her bf family is very well off. I didnt raise Abbey to be so materialistic but my family and outside influences have undone everything I've instilled in her. And now she's able to talk down to me and my dad treats us like sisters!! Help please!!!
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Blindsquirrelsnut54

      I hear you. It can be tough when it seems as though the

      other adults in your child’s life aren’t offering you much support. As much as

      that support might help, not having the support doesn’t have to affect how you

      respond to your daughter. Truthfully, each of us is only really in control of

      our own behavior and responses. By focusing on where you have the most control,

      namely your own responses, you can still hold your daughter accountable for her

      behavior and guide her towards better behavior in the future. We have several

      articles that focus on how to parent effectively even when grandparents and

      other family members may not be on the same page. Two in particular you may

      find helpful are https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/grandparents-and-parents-disagreeing-11-tips-for-both-of-you/ & https://www.empoweringparents.com/blog/grandparents-relatives-undermining-parents/. Best of luck moving forward.

      Take care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Livesinfear

    I am so sorry you are having to deal with such abusive

    behavior from your son. I can only imagine how upsetting this must be. No one

    should live in fear of someone they love the way you do. It may be helpful to

    talk with someone from your local crisis response. They would be able to help

    you develop a safety plan you could implement when your son becomes violent and

    abusive. The 211 Helpline would be able to give you information on crisis

    resources in your area. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling

    1-800-273-6222 or by visiting them online at http://www.211.org/.

    You may also find it helpful to check  out the http://www.nimh.nih.gov/ for

    more information on mental health issues. It would still be of benefit to

    contact your local police department when an unsafe situation arises. This

    could help to establish a paper trail should it be necessary to involve the

    courts at any time. Hopefully you and  your son will be able to get the

    help you need. Best of luck moving forward. Take care.

  • mftks
    kingvavy It doesn't say no consequences, it says don't engage in a power struggle with your kid. Power struggles are time wasters and really, what do you gain by arguing about how your kid shouldn't say that. Acknowledging they are upset (sorry you feel that way) and then setting theMore limit (you still need to take out the trash/clean your room/eat your dinner) is the way to go. The article isn't focused on what to do if they choose not to follow your directive, it's focused on how to handle the phrase "I hate you/I wish you were dead". I'm sure if you look up articles on consequences, there would be more directives there.
  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    @Enraged Mother

    What a challenging situation. It can be tough not to

    personalize the things our children do. I can hear how much you want to change

    the way you are responding to your daughter’s behavior. It’s great that you’re

    reaching out for help. I encourage you to look into what types of local

    supports are available to help you and your family through these difficult

    times. Many communities offer parent support groups, counseling, respite care,

    and other resources to help parents develop more effective parenting techniques.

    The 211 Helpline can give you information on these and other resources, such as

    crisis response and parenting classes. You can reach the Helpline 24 hours a

    day by calling 1-800-273-6222. You can also find them online at http://www.211.org/. It sounds like you recognize using

    physical forms of punishment isn’t effective. The next time you start to feel

    overwhelmed and about to strike out at your child, try to disconnect and walk

    away. Go into another room or go outside and take a walk until you are able to calm yourself

    down. For more suggestions on how to stay calm when your child is pushing your

    buttons, you can check out this article by Debbie Pincus - https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/calm-parenting-stop-letting-your-childs-behavior-make-you-crazy/. I hope you

    will continue to check in and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • Mr d06
    Hi everyone I have a 4 yr old who for some reason is angry all the time and is kicking hitting and even spitting he says horrible things to his mum and then hates it when told he can't get his way with myself he isn't as bad just mainlyMore towards his mum what to do ?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      Mr d06

      This sounds like a challenging situation. It may help to

      know that it’s not uncommon for young children to hit, bite, and kick when they

      get upset or frustrated. At 4, he’s not going to have much tolerance for

      frustration and will have limited skills for dealing with it effectively. You

      may find the article https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/hitting-biting-and-kicking-how-to-stop-aggressive-behavior-in-young-children/ helpful for your situation. Good

      luck to you and your family moving forward. Take care.

  • AnnGet
    Hi Sadone, I am new here. I read your comments and was wondering how is it going now. Has the situation with your daughter improved? I am having very similar problems with my 17 year old son: no respect from him, no attention. He practically lives on his own, comesMore home when he wants, smokes grass quite a lot. And the worst thing is, that we don´t communicate anymore. He hates me. If you had any hints what I should change, maybe something that worked for you, please let me know.
    • Magg

      AnnGet Hi, AnnGet. I'm not the person who's reply you're really looking for, but I wanted to help out.

      I'm an 18 year old girl in college, but a year ago when I was still living at home at 17 in high school, I had similar feelings about my mom. I felt like she was overpowering and wasn't letting me grow up and become the adult I was, and that I could do without her.

      When I left for college, I realized just how big of an impact she had on my life. Not just when she grounded me, or we screamed at each other, but also when she was always right there to quietly support me. After moving out, our relationship has gotten a lot better. 

      Of course, when I came back for a long Christmas break, I was reminded why I was enjoying college so much. 

      We may not really be true adults yet, but we're at the point where we want to be treated like one, and that can be hard when still living at home under a parent's roof. My advice would be to just BE THERE for your son. He comes home late or high, just tell him that you love him and you want him to make good decisions, maybe a punishment if it's bad, but give him some of the respect he thinks he deserves as an "adult". In a year he'll be making a lot of more serious decisions on his own, and that will be scary, no matter how independent he thinks he is now. He does not hate you, he just hasn't had the time away from your support to really appreciate everything you've done for him. Stay by his side, even if he tries to push you away, and remember that he is growing up, which is confusing for everyone involved. College might be just the thing he needs to figure out his life. Don't hesitate to ask me any more questions, I'm happy to help :)

      • LizAlex

        Magg AnnGet

        I enjoyed reading your response and have hope for my 18 year old daughter. She is enrolled to start college in August but a week after HS graduation and party she moved in with boyfriend and mom and siblings. I am so heartbroken because she has not made contact with me (3 wks since shes been gone), she has made contact with dad and brother but not me. I gave her EVERYTHING (I'm the only one working) she knows that but before she left she told me I don't like living here anymore. The bf mom came to pick her up and supports everything she is doing along with no rules at home everyone just has to work. My daughter is now working with her (first time she has ever worked). I miss her so bad but I did not throw her out of the house so I am NOT contacting her. My husband said he told her to call me and she responded "I don't want her to scream at me", she knows what she is doing is wrong! She has broken my heart, my life is not the same, I have a son but I am so depressed that my husband and son have been taking all of my attitudes, mood swings etc.... I am not motivated and want to know why she did this and what is she doing replacing me with people she has only known for less than 2 years?????

        • Magg

          LizAlex Magg AnnGet

          I'm not going to lie to you Liz, if I had received a similar offer that June after high school had ended, I might have taken it. My relationship with my mother had gotten to a bad place, and I really wanted nothing to do with her. I think it's a common thing to happen, because that is a point where the mother-daughter relationship changes into something completely different. She'll be going off to college on her own, and while you won't be able to make and enforce rules over her as you might do at home, she will also be deprived of your close contact and support that she might have had and not appreciated beforehand. For me, the change came with an appreciation of her after I'd been away for a while, and we can hang out and be together now after that hard summer. 

          However, I don't think I could live with her like I did as a kid. As I've grown up, we've grown together in some ways (I've become more of an adult with opinions and points of view we can share and discuss), and apart in others (my life is my own now, and she has to respect that while I might not always make the best decisions, they are my decisions to make). 

          A red flag for me in your reply is that she doesn't want you to scream at her. My question: will you? Because that isn't how adults speak to each other, and that needs to be a factor in your relationship now. She is, in the eyes of the government, an adult now, although you might not think of her as such yet. I'm heartened that she is working, and not lazing around and partying when she is away. That tells me that she at least knows how to be responsible, which will help in the future. 

          I think you need to try and seek her out in order to have an honest, calm conversation with her. Tell her that you miss her, and that you'd like to spend your last summer together. When she goes off to college, she'll be gone again. She'll have to learn how to support herself, and you'll have to learn how to live without her for longer periods of time. Taking out your feelings on your husband and son won't help, and could possibly drive them further away, although I know that's never your intention. 

          A few last points:

          You said you gave her everything: every mother does that. Are you expecting her to pay you back? I once knew a mom who wanted her daughter to live with her forever and always do what the mom wanted, because "I gave her everything, now it's her turn". The daughter had her own life, and the mom couldn't understand that. Using that as leverage to bring your daughter home is an argument that won't endear you to her, and might be why she's cautious to call or contact you. Approach her as an equal, as an adult, and tell her your side, while also trying to understand hers. Compromise and understanding are the most important parts on any relationship. 

          Lastly: She can never replace you. You are her mother, and while you won't always be there to guide her and support her, and while she might be striking out on her own to start her own life, that will always be true. Don't forget that.

          Hope this helps :)

          • LizAlex
            Magg LizAlex AnnGet  Thank you for your advice. I still have not heard from my daughter although my husband and son have been communicating with her without letting me know. At this point I feel as if she has replaced me and could care less as long as she is living withoutMore any rules and happy. No I am not the kind of mom that gave her everything for something in return or  for her to repay me etc... As parents I believe that it is our responsibility to provide them with what they need, however as an adult she should of seen how sometimes I struggled to give her everything she demanded. She will be going to college but still living with bf, he is enrolled as well same college same classes. The bf's mother needed to have my daughter move into her house to have her son stay at home and go to college (keep him in check for her), she has her 20 year old daughter, her daughter's bf, and baby, and she also has a 12 year old son a total of 7 people living under same roof. It seems to me that she is the controlling mother making sure that all her kids are under her roof. It just drives me nuts that my daughter can't see that picture. I have not got the courage to communicate (email) with my daughter for I am still very sad and upset of how she left and especially with whom she left. I do understand that she might have needed to grow up but moving into bf house is not being mature (its not a plan). Yes, she has a job and not partying  but she works with the mother and the mother is not a good example. I gave my daughter freedom but what she really wanted was liberalism and well she has it. I just wonder if my daughter will ever open her eyes and know that all the people that love her think what she is doing is wrong  and yet she chooses to live with the people she has known for less than 2 years. I hope and pray (I do have faith) that one day she will realize what a BIG mistake she has done and that she comes back home, moves in with older sister, or grandma. I just NEVER expected her to do this because we come from a christian family,  and educated that I feel this is still a nightmare.  Thank you!
      • AnnGet
        Magg AnnGet  Hi Magg, thank you so much for your reply. It´s so difficult to ´be there´, ´let him be an adult´ whey you see how he actually acts. It scares me, that he does not do anything for his school (at least to finish it) and has no ambitions,More no plans for his future. I understand now, that I have to let him make his mistakes, that I shouldn´t interfere in his life, BUT, it´s so hard when you are a parent... I can surly say that I AM THERE for him. The problem is that he does not come. I am slowly beginning to accept this situation, hoping that sometime in the futre something will change.
        • Magg
          Magg I'm sure it's incredibly hard. I remember some of the things I said and did and sometimes I want to go back and slap myself. It's definitely worrisome that he doesn't seem to HAVE any ambitions or plans, though. He probably avoids this conversation like the plague, but is thereMore really nothing he wants to do with his life? That could be a product of poor self-esteem.... or it could be that he thinks his life is perfect now, and doesn't realize he has to be a part of the real world at some point. College will definitely be a rude awakening for him if that is the case. What does he like doing right now? Besides, you know, grass and partying and chilling with his friends. Is there something he enjoys that could be constructively put towards a possible future interest? For example: I love animals. I was the kid who freaked mom out by bringing bugs and frogs and snakes into the house because darn it, I was going to be the next Dr. Doolittle. Now I'm a biology major looking into internships at zoos and conservatories, as well as wildlife preserves. I have a friend who was a horrible high school student. HORRIBLE. Love the guy to death, but he did not pay attention to anything. However, he loved art. Painting, drawing, sculpting, you name it: he was a savant. College is the greatest thing that ever happened to him because now he can study things he's actually interested in. He had no idea that would be an option for him after being pushed into the basic maths and sciences. This might not be a problem your son has, he may just have no ambitions, but I'd like to believe that isn't true, and I'm sure you're the same. See if he has any interests that he doesn't share. It might be that he doesn't feel comfortable sharing them because he doesn't feel like they're a viable future. I know I felt like that when I first told my parents I wanted to work with animals. Your son seems like a very independent guy, and that can be a good thing, but I hope he comes around for you. Just because he's growing up doesn't mean he doesn't need you anymore!
  • Jebbyfur
    I am single parent of 16 year old son. Most of the time our relationship is good. I am also disabled and in chronic pain, I have good and bad days. Lately they Are bad and I'm in need of medical intervention to change quality of life. I relyMore on my son a lot. But, I am also very present for him both emotionally and physically, when my pain allows. He is under tremendous stress at school in honors classes, sports, and socially which he has relayed to me. The problem is I have become his punching bag in the verbal sense when he can't take it. We were in family counseling for five years thru divorce and during beginning of disability and it helped tremendously. But as of late his hormones Are out of control, and his words not only cut but leave me broken. I already feel tremendous guilt for my illness, this is not life I planned for us. After he berates me I'm broken. I tell him how he cannot speak to me in this manner and how hurtful it i, he does apologize but I do not feel it's sincere. After he states he wants to be emancipated and lI've away from me I told him he'd have to got to court and prove I'm an unfit parent. When I said that he backed off. But I am still reeling and depressed over the guilt of not being a healthy parent, and not providing the life I had planned for our family. My illness has caused me to lose almost everything I worked very hard to achieve and I try not to dwell on the bad and look ahead, but when my child levels me, I find it hard to pick myself up again. He expects me to just forget all the mean things he's said. But, I don't want to raise a kid that will verbally abuse his partner in life. Besides going back to therapy where do I start. Normally, I'd stand up to him but these buttons Are the bad ones. I never berate him or tell him how his add affects my life. Which it does. He's so unorganized and is a terrible mess maker. I know he doesn't even see it. Besides hitting him with a wet noodle, how do I stop him from unleashing his frustrations. I know he has executive functioning problems which Are all from undeveloped frontal lobe but Are compassion and empathy in frontal lobe too? I feel like there is disconnect in that area in him. I have so many teachers and other adults raving about what a great kid he is, but I see all of him. Thank you for vent.
  • ACSAK
    I am shocked at your advise on parenting. Teenagers are out of control these days and responding to a child who shouts "I hate you" with a gentle "I'm sorry you feel that way" is where it all starts. If your child talks like that to a bossMore they'll lose they're job. We have to stop that behavior when they're young and expect the same respect now that we'll expect of them when they're adults. My children  got they're bedroom door taken off and/or privileges taken away if they ever treat their parents are any adult with disrespect. My children are now 19, 17 and 13 and people are constantly commenting on what great kids they are and how respectful they are to adults especially compared other kids. I'm definitely not a perfect parent but I believe in teaching children how to respect the leaders in their lives. That self discipline, teachable mentality and respect has put my son in management positions at both of his jobs at only 19 years old. We need to stop catering to our children and raise them from the time their toddlers to be awesome adults!
    • AnnGet
      ACSAK Hi, I have just read your comment and I have one question:  what actually happened after having taken the priviliges away? did your children came and asked for them promising to change? I am afraid that in my case (a single mum of a almost 17 year old) itMore never worked: when I took his things as a punishment or banned him from internet at home he used to be even more unsobordinated. This days we rarely speak to each other, I don´t know where he sleeps, when is will come home or if he is going to finish his school at all. I know thet he smokes weed at regular basis, but here in Germany I am seen as an alien when I say that it is a problem for me. I am very confused and really do not know how I should handle. It hurts me that I am losing him so quickly and have little influence on his life and deeds.
      • ACSAK
        AnnGet ACSAK  Hi, the very best advice I can give you is to pray. Pray hard, every day on his behalf. You are not in a battle with your son, you are in a battle with the enemy. Have you seen the movie "War Room?" If not, I highly recommend it.More I'll be praying for you and your son.
  • AmberC212
    I am not sure why my daughter always says or does hurtful things to just me and my dad. She said hurtful things to me and tends to do hurtful things to my dad, not anything that can harm him but just things that hurt his feelings. Any suggestions.
  • Lorien
    There was a time when kids knew not to say certain things to their parents or any adults, for that matter. I'm 34 and I would have never talked to my mother like that. I would have felt really bad if I did. I most certainly can and will tellMore my future child he or she "can't" talk to me a certain way if they mouth off like that. It's called honoring your mother and father and respecting elders. We have so many brats running around now because of parents my age reading articles like this.
  • Beth
    I have a 13 yr old boy with whom am struggling so much. I divorced his father when he was 2 yrs old. It was a very violent marriage so I decided to leave him. As my son grew up his dad would poison his mind about me. AlwaysMore had something negative to say about me. Most of them lies... I still can't figure out why a parent would say such horrible things to a child about the other parent. My son is now 13 and over the yrs he would reproach me in so many ways. (I remarried when my son was 7). His bad behavior started years ago. I've tried taking him to counseling but has never finished all the sessions. As he's getting older his behavior is getting worst and he is becoming violent towards me. He is my oldest of 3.. I have a 5 yr old and also a 1 yr old. (All boys) My 13 yr old always seems to be unhappy and bothered. His younger brother tries to interact with him and all he does is yell at him to get out of his room. He doesn't like to listen to us or even talk to us. The other day he told me he hated coming home because I was here and that he hated me. I've told him he can go live with his dad but he doesn't want to. (Dad has a family now) I am so lost and sometimes I feel like giving up on him. It's been a constant struggle with him. He breaks things and still throws his little tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants. He has a really bad temper and I know he needs help he just doesn't open up to me. Please help me and point me in the right direction. I'd really appreciate you're help. Thank you!!
    • Marissa EP

      @Beth 

      I’m sorry to hear you are having such a struggle with your

      son. It can feel awful when http://www.empoweringparents.com/Why-Does-Your-Child-or-Teen-Say-I-Hate-You.php and it can be difficult not to take it

      personally.  It is not uncommon for kids who struggle with appropriate

      problem solving skills, to use anger and tantrums as a way to solve their

      problems, especially if it has worked for them in the past. It will be

      important to set clear limits around what type of behavior is acceptable in

      your home, like no verbal abuse (cursing, name calling), and no physical abuse

      or property destruction, and let him know there will be a http://www.empoweringparents.com/How-to-Give-Kids-Consequences-That-Work.php

      if he does those things. You can also be proactive by helping him with some

      ideas of things he can do when he gets angry or annoyed, instead of being

      verbally abusive or destructive. Kim Abraham and Marnie Studaker-Cordner,

      authors of our https://store.empoweringparents.com/product/the-oppositional-defiant-disorder-lifeline/ program, talk more about how to address serious behaviors like you

      describe, in their article http://www.empoweringparents.com/no-such-thing-as-a-bad-apple-fix-the-behavior-not-the-kid.php. It is

      good to hear that you are reaching out to local supports as well, even though

      your son may not be interested in participating at this time. It is something

      you can continue to offer to him, should he decide he needs someone to talk to.

      Best of luck to you and your family as you continue to work on these behaviors

      with your son.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    donewithit

    It can be so hurtful when a child we love makes such cruel

    statements. Truthfully, it isn’t something he means. Most likely he’s angry or

    frustrated and doesn’t have the coping skills to deal with that effectively.

    So, instead, he lashes out at the person closest to him: you. As much as

    possible, try not to personalize his behavior. Carole Banks gives some tips for

    how a parent can separate from such verbal abuse in her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php. With that said, if you are

    feeling distressed or are considering suicide, there is a great resource

    available to help you deal with the pain you are feeling. The National Suicide

    Lifeline is a 24 hour service that is staffed with people specially trained to

    help those in distress. You can find them online at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/

    or talk to them directly by calling 1-800-273-8255. Another service you may

    find helpful is the National Hopeline Network. There is a virtual, online

    crisis center that can be accessed at https://www.imalive.org/.

    They also have a call in crisis line at 1-800-442-4673. I encourage you to

    reach out whenever you are feeling hopeless. I know being a parent is tough

    sometimes. Hang in there.

  • sadone
    My problems with my daughter started when my nephew died. He was only 18 and they were very close. My daughter was 14 a freshman in high school and it was so devastating. Something changes when you have to deal with death at such a young age at any ageMore really. Don't give up on them. its so hard and so draining at times but your strength will one day give them the right path. With my daughter I wish I would have given her help with therapy or something other than me because I really couldn't handle the death myself. My daughter went thru a lot of rebelling and still doing stuff but she is getting better. Your son seems to be lashing out but it's bc he is hurting....don't give up stay strong
  • Onelove81
    I am widow and have 2 children one preteen daughter who is 12 and my son who is a teenager 14. I admit I do all of the following in this article from the beginning. I realize what I need to do to make a change. I also lost myMore mom when I was only 25. I feel like I'm a bad mom. My kids tell me ever since there dad passed I have changed. Which hurts me, I want to have a good relationship with my kids and teach them to be strong independent man or woman and to have good morals and all. It's been three years since I lost my husband and I am struggling to survive every day to support my kids and to keep a roof over our heads. My daughter and I have a good relationship except she sometimes try's to get loud or stand up to me but I stop her. And my son is always unhappy with me either because I grounded him for his grades which were F or bc I yelled at them for something. In return he tells me I'm use to be grounded you always take away my stuff. I don't want to live like this with my kids. I love them so much and want nothing but the best for them. I just don't know what to do or say to make things feel better?
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      @Onelove81

      My condolences for your husband’s passing. I can only

      imagine how difficult his death has been for you and your children. Loss of a

      parent/loved one is never easy and it can have a long lasting impact on the

      surviving relatives. It can be helpful to remember that grief is a process that

      each individual needs to go through at his/her own pace. Working with a grief

      counselor or seeking the support of others who have gone through similar loss

      may offer you the help you are seeking. Having someone you can talk to about

      the struggles you are facing may help you and your children . The http://www.211.org/ would be able to give you

      information on grief counselors and survivor support groups in your area. You

      can reach the Helpline 24 hours a day by calling 1-800-276-6222. I would like

      to point out that the behavior you describe is normal for pre-teens and

      adolescents. You can take steps as described in the article above to address

      those behaviors. Another article you may find helpful is Disrespectful Child Behavior?

      Don't Take It Personallyhttp://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php.

      Hang in there. As tough as things may be right now, it’s not always going to be

      like this.  Be sure to check back and let us know how things are going.

      Take care.

  • sadone
    my daughter is 17 and is out of control. she tells me she hates me and that I need therapy because I'm a horrible mom. This is usually after I don't let her do something or she comes home after curfew and gets in trouble. she tells me constantly whenMore she's 18 Ill never see her again. She uses profanity to me and blames me for everything. I feel lost. I don't know what to do and honestly sometimes I want to just leave and never come back myself. She is so hateful towards me...its crushing. I'm a single parent...who moved back with my parents so she would have her grandparents in the same house to help fulfill any needs. She has never wanted for anything especially love. and its seems like from last year to now.....I have nothing but problems with her. honestly, i'm sure she has done drugs as well. I honestly do not know what to do anymore...I feel like im gonna lose her to something bad
    • Anon
      sadone wow... you're like my mom.. when i read what you have written i feel so bad because i have done these things to my mother aswell.. yesterday she came into my room TO CLEAN and i yelled at her because she cleans the house like 10 times a weekMore and told her i wish she would die... she almost started to cry.. how can i say something like that to my mother? the one who loves me un-conditionally, the one who has given me everything and asked for nothing in return. if i say i want something she will even argue with my dad so i can have it.. HOW CAN I SAY STUFF LIKE THAT TO HER?!?!?!?!  i have done so many bad things to her..sadone, I hope you will read this. there will come a time when your daughter will grow up and realise how horrible she has been, please endure.
      • sadone

        Idk what I was expecting when I wrote that...I was so upset and lost and just needed to write about my feelings. I was I guess expecting some other parent to give me advice on what to do but I could not have been more touched to have had your response. Your probably my daughter's age or around that and I'm touched that you can feel how badly it hurts us mom's. Hug your mom and tell her you love her and do your best to be all you can be and be happy because that is all your mom wants for you! I so happy that you saw yourself through my words.

        And btw...my daughter and I spent hours talking and laughing and healing. We r gonna go to therapy next week. Thanks for your response...much appreciated!

  • candy12
    im at my wits end....my daughter who is 12 has been out of control. I lost my job a year ago and she tells me I am fat and lazy and she understands why no one would want to hire me.  SHe has shouted she wishes I was deadMore and uses profanity towards me.  She won't do her chores and taking away her electronics seems to do no good.  My other children have expressed concern to me.  I don't know what to do.
    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      candy12 

      It can be incredibly difficult to know how to respond

      effectively when your child is saying such mean, hurtful statements to

      you.  Many parents struggle with this, so you are not alone. 

      Something to keep in mind is that while these kinds of statements can

      definitely hurt and feel like personal attacks, we encourage parents to do

      their best http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personalize-your-childs-behavior-when-he-disobeys-you.php.  This is because it is likely

      that your daughter behaving this way is less about how she actually feels about

      you, and more about her http://www.empoweringparents.com/the-surprising-reason-for-bad-child-behavior.php.  For example, if she realizes she

      can push your buttons and get an emotional response from you when she curses or

      calls you names, that can have the effect of making her feel very powerful and

      reinforcing these actions.  Therefore, we recommend focusing more on

      helping her to build these skills during a calm time, and providing praise and

      positive reinforcement when she is behaving appropriately.  It’s also

      going to be important to make sure that you are taking care of yourself during

      this time.  Self-care is an essential, yet often overlooked, part of being

      an effective parent.  When this aspect is ignored, it can have an impact

      on how well you are able to set and enforce your boundaries.  I realize

      how challenging this situation is for you and your family, and I wish you all

      the best moving forward.  Please write back and let us know how things are

      going.  Take care.

  • scaredmama
    My 12 year old daughter has some health issues and is loves anime and mange. she has a tablet that we just discovered she was using to chat online with strangers and read "creepy pastas" stories which are very violent as well as role play online.  We are taking herMore to a councelor and have taken away her internet access completely.  She lies automatically and we are not searching her backpack everyday to see what she is taking to school. She says we are ruining her life and that we don't love her.  Every day is painful and I am so scared of what she will do next.
    • Darlene EP

      @scaredmama 

      It is understandable you are concerned about the choices your daughter

      is making online. The internet is a necessary and useful tool, but can also be

      a dangerous place for children to engage. It makes sense that you would want to

      limit  your daughter’s activity online if you have found that she has been

      engaging in risky behavior. However, it is not going to be possible or

      advisable to completely keep her away from the internet, so coming up with a

      plan to have rules in place and how she will follow them will be most

      effective. Sara Bean talks about effective ways to navigate internet usage in

      her article http://www.empoweringparents.com/keeping-kids-safe-from-predators-online-and-offline.php. She discusses ways to set

      clear limits and monitor your daughters time effectively, while teaching your

      daughter to make safe choices. Approaching it this way will also alleviate the

      anger your daughter is having towards you for taking it away completely. I hope

      this helps to answer your question. Let us know if we can be of any further

      help. Take care

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    @Mlw

    I am sorry you are facing such difficulties. Many parents of

    young children feel frustrated and overwhelmed. Parenting is hard and many

    parents feel like giving up from time to time. I am concerned about you. I

    would encourage you to reach out to someone in your area to speak with about

    the thoughts you are having around hurting yourself. You may find it helpful to

    speak to someone from the http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ at 1-800-273-8255. Another resource that offers

    support during difficult times is the  National Hopeline Network. They

    offer a virtual crisis center at http://www.imalive.org/

    as well as call in support at 1-800-442-4673. No one should have to suffer

    through challenges alone. There are people out there who are willing to listen

    and help you through any challenges you may be facing. Please reach out to them

    for support. I hope this information is useful for you. Be sure to check back

    and let us know how things are going. Take care.

  • brokendown mom
    My 2 sons ages 24 and 18 the oldest wished me dead 3 years ago the youngest said he was gonna hate me just like his brother I BLEW told him to waste no time get out and dont come back he ripped up clothes and left for 2nd timeMore his senior yr no word from him in 2 weeks so I camcelled the insurance on his truck he quit a job after workimg 2 weeks I bought the truck on my janitor salary he called me a piece of crap I will show him what that is when i sell it...i am a single mom oldest i gave to paternal grandparents youngest had been with my dad i am abuised by all of these people and habe been all my 50 years
    • Rhonda L

      I also have an adult son, 26 now, who verbally (well, thru emails and texts) abused us 2 years ago when we told him he couldn't move home after he lost a job because he was stealing tips. He has stole from us in the past. He hasn't spoken to us yet. And out of his 5 siblings, he still only has minimal contact with one if them.

      I don't know if, like the lost sheep, we should go look for him (he's in FL and we're in NY) or if we should totally leave him alone. It's so heartbreaking. I wish we knew how to help him.

  • juliboo
    I have a 9 year old who has been struggling with his attitude and behavior. It seems that all the bible studies and talks don't sink in. He has been stealing, lying, and being manipulative. Last night he had to go to bed early because of the disrespectful way heMore was talking to me in the morning before school and not listening when he was told he had to put laces in his shoes and that he couldn't wear a hat to school. This morning, I woke up to a note that said: " You're right I am a piece of trash". Words that never came out of my mouth! How should I respond? I don't know if he's struggling with low self-esteem or if this is just a plot for me to feel bad for him because he had to suffer consequences.
    • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

      juliboo

      Many parents are perplexed when their child takes the victim

      stance, so, you’re not alone. The natural response when you see your child

      suffering is to want to step in and take care of him. This is true when the

      pain is physical or emotional. In the situation such as you describe, your son

      may actually feel as if you think poorly of him. Or, he may be trying to

      manipulate the situation in his favor. It may be helpful to sit down with your

      son and ask him about the note. Try to avoid “why” questions, and instead, ask

      “what” questions, like “what were you thinking when you wrote this note?” or “what

      were you thinking would happen when I read this note?” This can help you get to

      the http://www.empoweringparents.com/Im-a-Victim-So-the-Rules-Dont-Apply-to-Me-How-to-Stop-Victim-Thinking-in-Kids.php he may have been having when he wrote it. You could also problem

      solve with your son ways he might be able to handle similar situations

      differently in the future. For more information on problem solving, you can

      check out these articles: The 3 Skills Every Child Needs for Good Behavior & The Surprising Reason for Bad Child Behavior: “I Can’t Solve Problems”.

      I hope this answers your question. Be sure to check back if you have any

      further concerns. Take care.

  • I have a 10-yesr old step son who is very selfish and dependent on others. He refuses to do homework, chores, etc. However he is a very smart kid and we know he can do it! Because he does not get his way he fights, argues, says mean and hurtfulMore things mostly to me but to his dad to. For some reason negative attention is still attention and he has to be the center of it all the time. I love the kid to pieces but he is making it very hard to be excited for him in anything and I am so tired of being hurt. How can I change my attitude and not feel like giving up?

    • RebeccaW_ParentalSupport

      @Brandie 
      It can be
      incredibly frustrating when you have a child who is choosing to fight and say
      hurtful things rather than doing chores, homework or other tasks.  It can
      be even more irritating when you know that he is capable of meeting these
      responsibilities, and he is simply choosing not to.  It can beMore helpful to
      keep in mind that people generally engage in behavior because it works on some
      level.  From what you have described, it sounds like your stepson is
      benefiting from arguing by getting out of his chores, receiving lots of
      attention, as well as knowing that he has the power to push your buttons with
      his words.  Something you can do to influence your stepson’s behavior is
      to change your responses so that the behavior no longer works for him. 
      What this might look like is to set a limit with him (for example, “It’s time
      to do homework now.”), and then walk away if he starts to argue or say mean
      things.  You can find more tips in our article http://www.empoweringparents.com/Manipulative-Chil....  I also encourage
      you to make sure that you are finding ways of taking care of yourself. 
      Self-care is an often overlooked part of being an effective parent, and can
      help you to see a child’s behavior in a more objective, http://www.empoweringparents.com/do-you-personaliz..., light.  Your self-care plan can be anything you wish,
      from calling a supportive friend or family member when you are feeling stressed
      or hurt, engaging in an activity you enjoy, to using more formal supports such
      as a support group or counselor.  For assistance locating supports in your
      community, try calling the http://www.211.org/ at
      1-800-273-6222.  I understand how difficult this situation is.  I
      hope that you will write back and let us know how things are going.  Take
      care.

  • DeniseR_ParentalSupport

    Lisa_D
    It’s a pretty normal response for a parent to want to protect
    their child from having to experience difficult or upsetting situations.
    Unfortunately, protecting your child does little to help her develop the skills
    to deal with these situations appropriately. At this point, you’re not going to be able to control theMore choices her father makes.  It’s going to be
    important not to lay blame for the situation, even though Parenting After Divorce: 9 Ways to Parent on Your Own Terms may be trying to do just that. It can also be helpful to recognize that it’s not unusual for kids to say things like “I
    hate you” or claim to want to live with the other parent when they get upset or
    frustrated. While it can be hurtful to hear these things, removing the emotions
    will help you address the behavior more effectively. You may find this article
    by Sara Bean helpful when thinking about how you can best address that behavior:
    “I Hate You, Mom! I Wish You Were Dead!” — When Kids Say Hurtful Things. You can help your daughter deal with the absence of her
    father if he does move to another country by talking with her about what she is
    experiencing. It also may be of benefit to enlist the aid of a child counselor
    or therapist, especially one who works with children of divorce. If you think
    this could be beneficial, you could contact the http://www.211.org/ at 1-800-273-6222 for information on these and
    other support services in your area. I appreciate you writing in and sharing
    your story with the Empowering Parents community. Good luck to you and your
    family moving forward. Take care.

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