Never in a million years would you imagine that the adorable bundle you held in your arms all those years ago; that one you poured all your hopes and dreams into; that one you spent truck loads of money on, giving them experiences and memories that would enrich their lives; that one you protected and guided in an effort to ensure they would become model adults; that one you did everything in your power to be educated and positioned to succeed, yes, THAT one would one day call you an ‘old fogey’ and not want speak to you. What went wrong?
WHY DO KIDS REJECT PARENTS?It is tragic to lose or not to have a strong relationship with your kids. There are many reasons and here are some of them.
- Teens become moody very easily as their hormones roar into gear. They don’t really understand why they are becoming so cranky, they just know that they seem to get moody and angry when things don’t go their way or when parents say, “NO!” They are also very vulnerable to feeling rejected when their friend or love relationships go south.
Suggestion: Prepare your kids for adolescence. Explain how their bodies will change and how they will likely react under particular circumstances during teen development. Help them through it rather than always responding negatively.
- Teens develop independence and they often butt heads with those who have been authority figures over them thus far. They question everything from your political views, rules of the home, and who’s the boss of them. Arguments ensue and the household vibe becomes negative.
Suggestion: Decisions need to be made as to whether the teen continues to live by the rules and values of the family, or whether it is time for them to taste that independence they are craving for, and learn by themselves. If they choose to leave, encourage contact with help and a listening ear.
- Parents set impossible expectations. They may say, “If you didn’t win the race, you LOST! 2nd, 3rd, or 5th place means nothing. You failed!” Kids feel defeated, especially if belittling words are spoken over them constantly. They never feel good enough and this gives them a defeated attitude. Comparing one child to another, or forcing them to try to live the dreams you never actually fulfilled at their age is totally unfair for many reasons. Sport, music, academics, dance or rocket scientist for example, may not be their strong suit.
Suggestions: Understand and teach kids that besting personal goals is more important than being the winner. There are some variables that you cannot control, but you can manage a personal best. Find out what excites each child and help them follow their own path to success.
- Parents divorce or separate. Often kids feel conflicted and blame one parent for a marriage breakdown. Then there are the parents, who, when this happens, poison their kids minds against the other parent. If indoctrinated enough, children may grow up to hate the non-custodial parent and want nothing to do with them. Some parents have gone through bouts of depression because they lost communication with their children despite many attempts to do so. They have been blocked at every turn through the vengeance of an ex-spouse.
Suggestions: Keep your troubled relationship with your spouse to yourselves and do not utter harsh words in front of the children. Do not try to make your kids take sides or tell them stuff about your relationship that they do not comprehend. It will often make them feel they have to try and fix it which is impossible, or that it is all their fault.
- Kids are the ‘center of the universe’. Spoiled and demanding, they still want everything to go their own way even into adulthood. If the indulgent parent says ‘no’, after realizing their child has been manipulating them for years, all hell can break loose. They throw a child-like tantrum and refuse to talk to parents, essentially biting off the hand that feeds them.
Suggestions: Babies need lots of attention in the very early years, but from toddlerhood they need to learn to wait, take turns with chores and respect parents’ wishes. They need to understand that they are contributors to family life, not the dictator.
- Parent causes shame to the family. Examples may be when a parent breaks the law and goes to jail, has an affair or deserts the family. When this happens, it causes deep embarrassment or hurt to the children and they do not know how to deal with it. They may feel betrayed and therefore lose trust and respect for their parent.
Suggestions: Be honest with your child. Own the wrong and accept that the child has every right to feel the way they do. You cannot force reconnection, but you can learn patience and be there for them if and when they reach out to you.
- Physical, verbal, emotional, social, sexual or substance abuse by a parent will build up huge walls of fear, hatred and unwillingness to communicate. Parents sometimes, when they are out of control, frustrated or angry say terrible things to their kids Hurtful words cannot be taken back and are never, ever forgotten.
Suggestions: Deal directly with personal issues. Get professional help and/or protection for your children if a partner or relation is causing fear and anxiety. Keep a close eye on each of your children and watch for unusual changes in behavior or avoidance of particular family members. Tell your kids about unacceptable touching and bullying and encourage them to tell you immediately they feel uncomfortable around certain people, no matter who that person is. Ask your children to forgive you for the hurtful things you have said and demonstrate change by speaking and acting kindly towards them. They may not respond immediately because it takes a long time to heal wounds when trust is broken.
- Parents who work long hours and lose themselves in their business may well find that they eventually have no relationship with their children.
Suggestion: Consider what your greatest contribution should be if you choose to have children. Kids don’t want your money or stuff as much as they want YOU! Forgo the fancy house and all the bells and whistles. By settling for less financially, you gain the love and long term relationship of your kids. Don’t forget – they are the ones who will eventually choose your rest home!!!!
- Parents are inconsistent, unfair, or negative role models. When kids cannot anticipate the mood or reaction of their parent, when they see favoritism between kids, when they are inconsistent with their consequences or if they are expecting behavior from their kids that they are not demonstrating themselves, kids become frustrated and angry.
Suggestion: Ask yourself, 'What is wrong with this picture?' Ask your kids why they are frustrated. Listen to them when they complain about favoritism and inconsistency. Change your responses, and they will change theirs.
- Kids are influenced by negative friendships. For all sorts of reasons, kids can drift into or seek out friendships that influence them more than their home and family do. They can become sullen, dissatisfied, argumentative or choose to disregard their parents values. In this vulnerable state where the teen wants so badly to be accepted by peers, they can be drawn into behaviors and habits that they do not realize will harm them and harm their relationship with their family.
Suggestions: As parents, you are perfectly at liberty to influence their friendships with other kids. It is always a good idea to invite their friends to your home rather than your teen always going elsewhere. Invite their teen's friend on a short vacation or weekend with you so you can see for yourself what their true colors are. If the teacher or another parent shows concern regarding your teen's behavior, listen up and handle the situation objectively. Talk to your teen about what a good friend acts like - someone who is respectful, honest, faithful, thinking of your best interests, not just theirs. Good friends really care about each other and do not want to see harm come to them. They are not afraid to tell one another if they think one is displaying negative behaviors.
Life is far too short to be disconnected from your children. Some people say, “But you don’t understand. I feel so deeply wounded because of what they have said or done to me.” To be perfectly blunt, get over yourself. You are the adult who needs to initiate any restorative action. You are the parent and while your child is living under your roof, you cannot afford to allow them to be your 'buddy'. You need to be in charge and role model the behaviors you want your child to exhibit. If you feel your disconnect is too complex seek professional help. Loss of communication does not have to happen in the first place, but if it does, there is always an answer if each one is prepared to cooperate.
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