Can a Parent Ever Dislike One of Their Kids?

Category: Moral Question of the Week

Mr. Rogers on parents loving and being angry at their kids

Any parent of a teenager (or a tantrum-throwing younger child) has moments when they simply throw their hands in the air and shrug in total frustration. Is it okay to dislike your child (or children) at any given time? I’ve found myself asking myself that question with a mixture of “You bet it is” and “OMG, I’m such a horrible dad!”

What do you say?

  • ginavalley

    I think we always love our children, but we do not always like their behavior. When I evaluate whether I like a person I often consider whether I would want to hang out with that person. Even when my kids are acting like jerks, I still want to hang out with them, sometimes just for the pure challenge of it. ;o)

    But, I think it is normal and to be expected that there will be times when a child’s choices and behavior are so contradictory to basic decency that a parent may not want to hang out with that child right then. That doesn’t mean the parent is a bad person or a bad parent or that they don’t love their child. It means they are human, and choosing, wisely, to remove themselves from a bad situation.

    • Bruce Sallan

      As always @ginavalley:disqus – you bring wisdom to the discussion(s)!

  • Liz

    If you factor narcissistic mothers into this, then yes. My mom’s hated me so much she wished she had had an abortion. I don’t know if she still feels the same… The way she sees it, I’m selfish because I want to have my own life instead of serving her and her husband — ungrateful because she gave birth to me, yet I didn’t give her all my paychecks. Now, she’s out of my life.

    I think it’s okay to dislike children’s behavior, and I believe it’s possible for a parent to truly dislike a child.

    It really depends on the situation and psychology involved.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @heyitsliza:disqus – your comment makes me sad – if you were near by, I’d give you a hug…

  • David Weber

    Not having kids, I can’t weigh in on this with anything like inside knowledge. It would seem to me, though, that if one feels a certain emotion about one’s kid, so be it…what matters more is one’s actions in encounter with that kid.

    • Bruce Sallan

      @disqus_dU5ulU60s7:disqus – clearly you don’t have to be a parent to have wisdom, DW! #DadChat returns July 9 & 16!