When You Don’t Like Your Kid

When You Don’t Like Your Kid

Feb 14, 2024

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If you’re a mom, you know there are times when you don’t like your kid. Of course, you always love and care about them and want what’s best for them, but there are also tough stages or times when they’re showing up in ways you just really don’t like. .

This happens to parents all the time, but it’s something we hardly ever talk about (probably because we feel ashamed for feeling this way). We think we aren’t supposed to have these negative feelings about our kids.


When You Don’t Like Your Kid

The truth is, there are stages of parenting that are really hard. Little kids fight for more power.  Teenagers try to define themselves and might show up with values that don’t feel good to you. Personalities clash. Your kid has big feelings that they don’t know what to do with. These challenges can be even bigger if your child is neurodivergent or has experienced trauma in their lives.

I want you to know that, no matter what is going on, your kid is not just an asshole. They’re not wired to be a jerk. They are a human struggling with their negative thoughts and big feelings, and they don’t know how to handle it.

These are hard things to be around, so it’s normal if there are periods of time when you don’t really like your kid that much.

It becomes a problem when you stay stuck in that place and start to harbor resentment, frustration and anger. 

When you bring that “dislike” energy and all of your negative opinions and thoughts into your relationship, the dislike (and even disgust) grows. You act unkindly toward them, they get defensive or attack you back, and you can end up in a really yucky place.

And if you feel overwhelmed by the frustration and hurt and want to emotionally check out, you’ll lose that connection, too.

It’s easy to think that your child needs to change their behavior or personality in order for you to feel differently about them. But this is pretty much completely out of your control, and as you wait for them to change, the relationship gets worse and worse.


How To Shift From “Dislike” To “Like”

There is a better way, and it starts with you. 

The strategies below will help you to change how you are thinking and feeling about your child so that you can shift out of that yucky mindset and improve your relationship.

So much of parenting is about your mindset, which is great because you have control over how you think about something (including your kid and their behavior). Your thoughts then create your feelings, and your feelings drive the way you show up and act with your kid.

You get to choose how you think and feel about your child. You can also reframe the way you think about their behavior, remembering that behavior is always an expression of how that person is feeling. What’s going on inside of them is showing up on the outside. This idea can help us be more curious and compassionate, and it is the root of gentle parenting.


The Delight List

This is one of my favorite tools for building closer connections between moms and their kids (or really anyone in your life).

It’s an exercise that helps you train your brain to look for the good things about your child. 

Here’s how to create your Delight List:

  1. Write a list of 30 things that you like about your child
  2. Read this list aloud to someone - your partner, your friend, your mom, or your parent coach 
  3. Commit to reading your list once a day.
  4. Think "delightful thoughts" while you are near your child.
  5. Tell your child one thing you enjoy or like about them each day.

If you need some help, here are a few prompts to get you started:

  • I like [blank] about my kid.
  • My kid is really good at [blank].
  • I feel the most happy when my kid does [blank]. I
  • I know my kid is great because [blank].

Write your delight list in a journal, on your computer, in the notes section of your phone, speak it in a voice memo, or add it to your journal. Do it in a place where you can look at it a few times. 

The more you practice delight, the more you’ll feel it.


The “I'm Mad at You” Letter

Sometimes, you can’t find the delight. You’re just mad and you need to get out of that part before you can get to delight.

This is a letter that you will never give to your child or show to anybody, but it is a way for you to dump some of that negativity out on paper and get it out of you. 

When you do this, you can be as honest and mean and spiteful as you are feeling at the time. 

 I know that you don’t actually hate your child. You’re mad and you love them - both of these conflicting thoughts and feelings are inside of you at the same time. 

The purpose of the exercise is to get the bad out so you get to a place where you soften and uncover some more positive thoughts and feelings. Releasing some of the tension creates space for the deeper feelings of love, hope and connection that are underneath.

I often recommend that you pull out a piece of paper. On one side, you write the “I’m mad at you” letter, and on the other side, you write a Delight List. This allows your brain to sift through and sort all the different thoughts.


The goal of the Calm Mama Process is connection and raising emotionally healthy kids. This starts with compassion for your child. The best thing you can do for them is to learn how to release the judgment and resentment you’re feeling and find calm and compassion. 

I want you to know that if you’re ever on a call with me or in one of my programs, I am never judging you. All I feel is your pain. All I want to do is be that journal page for you to let out those negative thoughts and process the emotion. 

Because here’s the truth - Your core self is a loving and kind person. You are a mom who cares deeply and loves your children. The thoughts and feelings that are rising to the surface are rooted in love and fear, desire and hope that they will become who they are meant to be. 

This week, I challenge you to notice when you are having negative thoughts about your kid and give yourself some space to journal and process those thoughts and feelings. See what delight is underneath and let it come through. 

Trust yourself, Mama. Trust that underneath all of that pain is something really beautiful - love. 


 You’ll Learn:

  • Why only you can control the way you think and feel about your kid (no more waiting for them to change)
  • Examples of how to reframe behavior and use it as information
  • 2 simple exercises you can do right now to shift to a more positive view of your child
  • How your feelings toward your kid are like an Instant Pot


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