Your Teen Hates YouWhat Now?

by : Tammy Ryan

Your teen is out of control. They are addicted to drugs, violent, or promiscuous, but most importantly they are going to do long term damage if nothing is done. You’ve tried talking however it ends up in a screaming war. You’ve tried discipline but your teen either completely disregards it or opposes it violently. It’s clear that they are going to crash and burn without a major change. You’ve researched different professional options; residential treatment centers, boot camps, military school, or wilderness therapy. By sending your child away you will make them very angry. If you do nothing they will end up in the morgue as a victim of an overdose or violence. You decide that making your child angry in the short term is far better then the alternative. Once you make this decision how do you avoid being hated by your teen? This article will discuss ways you can minimize the animosity from your child when you send them away.

First, let’s go over the fundamentals. Your teen was already embittered, confused, or angry before you sent them away. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been so dedicated to their rebellious behavior. They’ve been hurt deeply by something. You may know what the ‘something’ is and you may not. That doesn’t change the fact that your teen is experiencing these feelings. Are they justified? Maybe. Is your teen trying to cope with the feelings the best way they know how? Probably. Avoiding their anger altogether may be futile but we can shorten the intensity and duration by doing some things right.

The first major step is to be honest with your teen. The day they are taken away they will want to hurt you in some way; either emotionally or physically. It will be hard but if you can be present when your teen is enrolled or escorted from your home it means a lot to them. They might be saying the meanest things you’ve ever heard but you being there will let them know that this is hard for you too. It sends the message that you care about them. Avoiding this first step is tempting but don’t do it.

Once your child has settled in to their new environment they will want to know one thing: When will I be coming home? They will ask you again and again. They will make deals and try to negotiate exact times to know when they will be coming home. Every therapist is different, but they tend to avoid giving exact dates; especially in the beginning. When an exact date is given early on that date becomes the daily focus of your teen. The worst thing you can do is give them a date of any kind. Under the pressure from your teen it will seem harmless to give them a time line. The real problem occurs when that time or date comes and goes and they are still in treatment. These times are the very hardest on your teen. Sincere, hard working teens will lose hope and become very angry. To avoid this don’t make any kind of promises about return dates. Don’t even hint at a time.

The last area to be careful about is the way you show your teen that you love them. Your teen will look forward to any kind of correspondence from you. At first, some teens will throw your letters away as a way to vent their anger. But as time goes on they look forward to everything you write. Make sure to write often and include meaningful messages that will encourage their growth. One mistake some parents make is over doing the gift giving. Your gifts should be small and meaningful and never be given as a means to buy your child’s good will. It’s nice to give them the newest iPod or video game system but don’t do it unless your intentions are pure. There are two extremes when interacting with your child when they are away. Don’t neglect them and don’t over due the gift giving and you’ll be just fine.

As a parent you are probably feeling angry and betrayed too. Unfortunately, it might be some time before your teen can fully appreciate your feelings. When they finally do it might be long into the future. At least you’ll know you did the very best you could.