Advice and Help for Teens

What to Do When Your Family Hates You

It’s weird being a teen. In a million ways it’s weird, but one of the weirdest is the fact that you’re almost an adult, expected to think and act like one (Get good grades! Do chores! Get a job!)…but you’re also living under someone else’s roof and have no control over your life. Um, not fair?

When your relationship with your adults doesn’t feel loving or supportive, it goes from weird to bad. For the question of what to do when your family hates you, I have two totally different answers.

First, the hard one. When I was a kid, I was abused by my mother’s husband. My mother blamed his behavior on me. So for me, the question of what to do when your family hates you was pretty real. Here’s how I dealt:

1: I found other adults who were caring, who would let me spend time at their house. Do you have neighbors who are understanding? People at a community center or place of worship? Families you babysit for? Parents of friends? Just finding a temporary escape from a home that feels crappy can make a world of diff.

2: I talked to people I trusted about what was happening to me. Are there adults in your life who ask how you’re doing, and wait to hear your answer? A lot of times teachers and librarians work with youth because they care about youth. They’re also trained to know how to find you more support if you need it.

3: When the abuse got really bad, I went to a safe place. For me, it was a homeless shelter for kids. Guidance counselors and school social workers can help you figure out what to do when your family hates you…especially if that hate takes the form of abuse.

But on the flip, a lot of kids I work with as a teen life coach don’t need these kinds of extreme interventions. For them, the question of what to do when your family hates you boils down to a different question: I’m changing, and my parents and siblings want me to stay how I was when I was little. How do I make them accept who I am now?

That problem is a lot easier to deal with. Try these things:

1: Figure out what you need that you’re not getting. Time alone? Conversations about stuff other than what you’re doing wrong? A little more freedom?

2: Ask your parents if you can have an honest talk with them. Pick a time and place where you’ll all be chill (is that even possible?).

3: Tell them you’ve realized you need certain things for your mental health, and ask if they can help you meet the needs you discovered in #1.

Even if you don’t get everything on your wish list, your parents will be impressed with your mature communication. Suddenly the hate you were feeling will switch to respect and, with any luck, love.

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