Home General My parents don’t like me like this, and neither do I

My parents don’t like me like this, and neither do I

by Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

From England: I’m 14. It’s only recently that things have changed, I live in quite a poor family, yet I have the basics of a teenager, a laptop and phone etc. I have always known that I’m never going to get what I would really like, but for once I thought that I would be happy. My mum told me that I would never be able to get an iPhone, but instead i could get a cheaper brand of phone, but still a smartphone. I was so happy, but then one morning, I started shouting at her for the smallest things and she refused to get me a phone, but never told me I wasn’t getting one. I was then told I wasn’t able to get a dress for the first party I would be going to in years. The next day at school we were exchanging texts, and I have never repeated the phrase “I hate you”, so many times. I appreciate what I have got, I’m not spoilt, but I’m not me. My mum refuses to believe that it’s hormones, she says that I no longer love her. I have been crying at school and at the slightest thing, eg. I had English for my first lesson. I have no idea what’s happening to me, and my mum doesn’t want to know me, my dad also. My friends don’t understand and they simply go on about how their home life is great. I’m finding this really hard to deal with, I feel like everything is different and no one will treat me the same any more. Am I having a mid-life crisis or something? I don’t understand what I’ve done and what to do about it.

No. You’re not having a mid-life crisis (you haven’t even hit a quarter-life yet). What you have hit is puberty. Different people respond to the hormonal shifts of adolescence in different ways. Some girls act as you do. If your mum didn’t have the same reactions to puberty when she was young, she might not understand that it’s your hormones that are talking, not you, when you go off.

I strongly suspect that your moodiness and irritability have to do with adjusting to the emotional rollercoaster that often comes with changes in body chemistry during the teen years. You might tell your mum I said so. It’s clear to me from your letter that you do love your family and want very much to show your appreciation and respect for your parents. You are as surprised and upset about your own behavior as they are. A book that you and your parents might find helpful is: I’m Not Mad, I Just Hate You!: New Understanding of Mother-Daughter Conflict by Roni Cohen-Sandler. If that doesn’t give you enough help, you might want to see a counselor who specializes in working with teens and their families. You need to learn some new ways to manage your feelings. Your parents need to learn some new ways to work with you so you all come out of the teen tunnel as friends.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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