Parenting is hard! Especially when parenting a teenager. If you have a teenager who is mean to you, don’t be alarmed there is a reason behind it.
Is your kid mean to you? Don’t take it personally!
When your child is mean to you, it doesn’t mean they don’t love you, it doesn’t mean they hate you, it doesn’t mean they’ll be mean forever.
When your kid is mean to you, it is because they have a responsibility to separate from you. The easiest way to separate from you is to be mean. When they’re mean, it causes you to back off, and it causes tension which is putting a wedge between you two.
I’m not saying this is the best way to separate but it is the easiest, and it’s very normal.
When your child is mean to you, remember, it’s a way to separate which is normal.
How do you deal with this behavior?
When your child is mean it hurts, and that’s normal too.
It’s not okay for your child to be mean but it is okay for your child to want to separate from you. Your responsibility is to help them understand they can separate from you without being mean. First, you have to understand it yourself. Doing this will help strengthen the parental bond, as they separate.
If your child is mean to you, the first step is to address the separation, and then address the behavior.
For example, here is a conversation starter for teens. Let’s say you offer to help them study for a test, and they snap at you.
Step 1. Address the separation issue.
When addressing separation, you can let your child know that you are aware they are getting older and can do things on their own.
Step 2. Address the behavior.
Let your child know when they snap at you, it hurts your feelings and hurts your relationship and parental bond. Next time, you’d prefer them to say it in a more simple, kinder way, such as “Mom, I got this.”
Expressing Your Feelings vs. Punishing Your Child
The difference between expressing your feelings to your child and punishing them is huge. If you scold them, it gives your child the impression that you can’t handle the separation which leads to other problems.
Do call them out on being mean, but first, address the separating and let them know you are okay with that but you are not okay with them being mean.
Separating is important for your child because they’ve been dependant on you their entire life and they need to learn how to move towards independence.
Parents have to learn when it’s time to start letting their child go because that’s how the parent-child relationship starts transitioning from a child who is dependant on them to a child who is independent.
Do you need more guidance in parenting? If you need help with developing a personalized plan just for you and your child, contact us via call or text at 804-420-8003, or contact us by clicking here.