I want to make it clear first that the keyword in this post is dislike and not hate. You could pull out a dictionary right now and confirm that disliking is not hating.
You might also start to realize (I hope) that you don’t actually hate your parents—you might have just developed this sense of dislike. This is what this post is about.
I’ve come across this saying: “As a parent you’re never doing it right.” However, there’s a catch: it’s from the children’s point of view.
Your parents are only humans, just like you, but is it normal to dislike them?
Is it normal to dislike your parents?
Yes, it is normal to dislike your parents. This could be a phase; this could carry on for a long time. In any case, whatever your reasons, feeling this dislike is valid. If you acknowledge and respect your emotions, then this dislike is pretty normal.
However, you may want to probe further into why you dislike your parents, especially if it’s been going on for a long time (like a few years).
Because there might be legitimate reasons, which you might have been shrugging off until the point where you just could not deal with it anymore.
Acquiring some dislike towards your parents should not be a biggie, but I encourage you to dig into the underlying reasons. There must be something, and whether the reason is huge or small, you still have to find out and settle it for your peace of mind.
It’s things like that that you somehow need to understand accurately.
Why do I dislike my parents so much?
There are common reasons children develop a dislike towards their parents.
1. Parental disapproval of partners
At some point your parents may disapprove of your significant other. For someone you’re dating, it might be tolerable, but what if even in your marriage, your parents just won’t acknowledge your spouse?
2. Pain of parental divorce
If your parents have divorced, you might have not processed it all that even until your adulthood, the pain still haunts you and manifests in different ways, including your “inexplicable” dislike towards them.
3. Your parents’ inability to deal with failures, hardships, and challenges
It’s as if your parents are parents only when it’s convenient. When faced with troubles, they become different people—and in a bad way. They forget they could healthily deal with even the worst catastrophes life can bring.
4. Lack of validation
This is the bottom line, which you could say for any other reasons.
For example, they don’t validate your own identity and personality. Or they don’t validate your hurt feelings and so they won’t apologize. Or they don’t validate the fact that you have different and opposing beliefs to theirs.
Keep in mind that your dislike is most likely a reaction, just like any other emotions (even the positive ones).
Is it normal to dislike your parents even if they are good enough?
Yes, it’s still normal to dislike your parents even if you deem them fit or good enough. The reasons here are more likely just preferences. For example, you and your parents have little to nothing in common at all. Or problems to you are not to them, or vice versa.
This is where nature and nurture come into play, and where differences should be respected. And it’s all good. It should be, at least.
If you find yourself wanting to spend as little time as you can with your parents simply because of irreconcilable differences, then that’s perfectly fine. You may belong to some minority, but there’s nothing wrong with having grown into a kind of person different to your parents.
What matters in this case is that you still have respect for each other.
In this scenario your family most likely is indeed a good enough one. I’m just reminding you that such a feeling of dislike is normal even then.
What should you do if you dislike your parents?
1. Try to be stoic towards that feeling.
It may sound ironic, but you could accept the feeling that as an adult, you simply don’t like these other adults that birthed you. Recognize the feeling but stay indifferent to it.
2. Don’t let it ruin your other relationships.
Channel your energies into nurturing the other important relationships in your life instead.
3. Take note of possible underlying causes.
It might be a phase on your part; say, you’re feeling rebellious. Or, if you’re still living with your parents, a desire for independence. There’s also differing values. Not only values, you might also find yourself always getting into arguments about your lifestyle, your relationships, or even your money.
4. Keep your relationship with your parents if possible.
You might disagree, but keeping something unlikable can teach you to be somehow tougher. Toughness in the face of life’s difficulties is an invaluable skill, after all.
You might always be seeking to make your life easier and more comfortable, but putting up with something opposite of that might teach you lessons you won’t find elsewhere.
5. Set your boundaries.
This relationship isn’t really an “okay” one, so you better just lie low.
Stick to neutral topics if you can. Don’t be too open about your personal life if you’re not comfortable with that. Find ways to interact without having deep conversations like board games, card games, or perhaps watching a movie.
Remember, you can love someone without having to like them. Such is the complexity of life. You can’t change them to be someone you like, also, but you can always set boundaries and change those within your control.
When should you reevaluate your dislike towards your parents?
If you’re still confused about it, then consider the following questions:
1. Have they apologized to you?
In my book, mustering the humility to apologize—sincerely—tells a lot about one’s character.
Your parents are not perfect, but good enough parents know when they crossed the line.
2. Do they listen to what you have to say and are they willing to compromise?
Relationships are always a two-way thing. Perhaps you are only being tough on them for the reasons I previously pointed out.
3. Do you somehow feel that you are a priority to them, even if they are sometimes hard on you?
Whenever they need to decide on something, do they ask you for your input or opinion?
4. Do they reach out to you even for the sake of just hanging out together?
Do they invite you over for dinner, or even watching a movie with your kids?
These are essential questions, which could sadly “justify” your dislike towards them.
Will your dislike towards your parents come to pass?
As you grow older, you will realize that your parents are simply humans, rife with imperfections. It depends on your situation, but if you handle this dislike in a levelheaded manner, then yes, you could overcome it and happily move on with your life.
Bottom line is, if you think you can’t resolve your dislike towards your parents, then you could at least set some strict boundaries.
It is what it is, and since you cannot change them, you could perhaps just check in on them from time to time. They are still your parents, after all. (Again I’d like to reiterate that we are only dealing with dislike. The worse kind of feeling, hate, is another topic altogether.)
Note the underlying causes, especially if they also tend to come to pass. People change, including you, so you may just want to give this some more time.
After all, you’ll only want quality relationships (which include your blood relatives). You better be sure you’re alright with them!
Related: Signs Your Parents Don’t Respect You
What percentage of children dislike their parents?
Children that dislike their parents make up the minority (fortunately). However, as children get older, they tend to like their parents less over time. On the other hand, parents seem to be doing a better job from generation to generation in this respect.
For example, let’s take this survey from KidsHealth.org and TIME for Kids.
About 3% of younger kids (ages 8–11) and 6% of older kids (12–14) said they did not get along with mom and dad. Also, 7% of younger kids and 13% of older kids said they got along with their parents “not so well.”
While many kids (69%) said they knew their parents were proud of them, some kids did not feel that way. Those kids were more likely to argue with their parents. About 20% of younger kids and 33% of older kids said they argued “a lot” with their parents. (That’s 1 out of every 5 kids in the 8–11 age group and 1 in every 3 kids for the 12–14 age group.)
When it comes to adult children, the US is among the top in terms of tension between these adults and their parents.
Amicable relationships were most prevalent in England, with 75 percent of parents reporting harmonious ties with their grown-up kids. In Spain, 63 percent reported positive relationships, in Germany, 49 percent, and in the United States, 51 percent.
One possible reason, according to the study, is health care systems. In countries without universal health insurance, the children may need to care for their elderly parents, which could be a source of friction, strain, and conflict in their relationships.
Image Credits: Photo by krakenimages on Unsplash