my daughter hates me

My Daughter Hates Me, What Now?

When I was a new father, I remember talking to a friend with grown kids about an issue I was having. He is a man I admire: a devoted husband, a great provider for his family, a loving father. He told me that my issue was small and not to worry about it. Then he went on to say, “Wait until your kids tell you they hate you.” When I asked which of his kids said that, he said, “All of them,” which included his daughter. Now she didn’t really hate him, she just hated his boundaries and discipline while wanting to be rebellious as a teenager.

There are many reasons a daughter hates her father. Some are deep and real. Others are simply a teenage phase that should pass in time. As someone who worked with teenagers for many years, I have witnessed teenage girls that hate their dad everywhere on that spectrum. They talked a lot about their issues. If you have recently come to the conclusion, “My daughter hates me,” there are a couple practices that will help bridge the gap.

Engage

This was a consistent complaint among daughters about their dads. You may want to come across laid back, but more often than not, it actually communicates disengagement. The worst thing they can possibly perceive is that you don’t care. If you are going to err, don’t err on this side of things. They want your engagement, even when they are giving you one-word answers or are embarrassed to be seen with you. Don’t smother, but pursue and stay in the picture.

Listen to Her

Many daughters that have issues with their dad feel as though they are not listened to. What that really means is that they don’t believe their dad is taking the time to discern what is going on beneath the surface. Ask questions and dig. Find out the insecurities and struggles that are driving her emotions. Just like with your wife, they mainly want you to listen and empathize. Perhaps you can eventually offer a possible solution.

Become a Student of Her

More than just knowing her likes and dislikes, dive into the stage of life she is in. Think about what the world looks like from her perspective. Study the changes that happen to her body at her age. It will give you insight into why she reacts a certain way.

Own Up To Your Stuff

Be the adult and take responsibility when you are wrong. Focus on modeling what is right, rather than being right. [Tweet This] We mess up, but when we dismiss our own failures, we lose credibility. If they have a grievance with you, listen calmly and be slow to respond. Let them know what they are saying has importance. It might not be correct, but it has value. If it is correct, own it and apologize.

Be the Adult

I can’t tell you how many parents I encountered that wanted to show their teens how cool they were by acting like they were still in their college fraternity. They must’ve wanted to seem relatable, like a friend their kids could talk to who understood the desire to party. It produces the opposite result. It creates a parent vacuum that they feel like they have to now fill and they resent it. This approach creates a world of anxiety for them. You set the boundaries, they push against them, you hold them. That’s how parenting a teen works best.

Sound Off

What are some of the struggles you have had with your daughter?

BJ Foster

BJ Foster is the Director of Content Creation for All Pro Dad and a married father of two.

  • ben wilson

    Right now it’s my 14 year old son. Tells me he hates me everyday. Tell me I’m never home, when in fact I’m probably home more than most fathers that work in Corporate America. I have the greatest job on earth, I am a Fireman! I work 10 days a month and I’m home the remainder with my 5 children. I am very involved in their lives and extracurricular activities. He just hates me…..no matter what I do

    • BJ_Foster

      I’m sorry to hear this Ben. Thank you for taking the time to share. What do you think it is? The problems I have witnessed with sons “hating” their dads tended to focus on feeling a lack of approval (just perceived or real), getting harsh judgment, the dad being unreliable, or that their dad spent more time connecting with other siblings (particularly other brothers). I saw that last one many times. I heard “my dad never misses my brother’s activities but never their for mine” many times. The reality is that that the dad couldn’t make one of his activities because of work, but the hurt was so big it affected the perception. Maybe you missed one or two things and that has altered his view. If this is the case you need to win him back with consistent pursuit and interest in him. Maybe take him away on an overnight or spend one on one time doing things he loves.

      Side note: Thank you for what you do. It’s a noble and courageous profession. I really appreciate it.

  • vivalareaganrevolucion

    From the time she was born until about 7th grade my daughter was my little buddy. Then 7th grade happened and I was no longer welcome in her life. She cannot even tolerate a hug from me. Every word out of her mouth she is yelling at me. I am a great provider, I have been present in every event in her life, every recital, every game. I have always told her how much I love her and how much she means to me. She is not a problem kid – straight A’s, knows what she wants to do with her life. She has now created a very close relationship with my wife that I am embarrassed to say I am very jealous of.

    • Layla

      “7th grade” could mean raging hormones. I think she’ll return to her old self slowly (like a few years slowly). But why are you (and your wife?) allowing her to yell at you? You are the parent, she is the child.

      • vivalareaganrevolucion

        And therein lies the rub. I do tell her to not yell at me, even explaining how much it hurts when she does. My wife ignores it and chalks it up to “being a teenager.” So of course she will go with her Mom’s interpretation.

        • Layla

          Yes, mom needs to be supporting you. I was doing something similar in my house years ago. Kids would misbehave and when dad tried to discipline, I would intervene, saying he was too harsh. They were counting on me to step in. Until my eyes were opened, and I quit stepping into the middle of my husband doing what he needed to do. Kids were confused at first, but order was restored in my house in just a couple of weeks. I’m praying for your family today!

          • vivalareaganrevolucion

            I could use it. Thank you.

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