There are an infinite number of reasons your teen might dislike his father. Perhaps his father walked out on your family years before, had an affair that ripped apart your family, has an addiction or anger issue, doesn’t spend enough time with your teen or he’s simply too strict. Whatever the reason for your teen’s dislike of his father, it isn’t easy to deal with an issue like this. You want your teen to love his father and to show him respect, and you don’t know what to do to make this happen. There is no magic button that will reconcile their relationship, but there are ways you can deal with your son’s feelings.
Understand that as your teen gets older, he and his father are growing apart. According to Carl Pickhardt, a Texas-based psychologist, this is an age that causes a great deal of separation between children and parents, or between your teen and his father in this case. The dislike your son feels for his father might very well be a result of your teen’s inability to relate to his father due to separation. Now that your teen has more of a life outside your family, he may believe that he has little in common with his dad and his dad may feel like he has to work harder to ensure that his son stays out of trouble. This leads to feelings of dislike on behalf of your son because he feels that his father doesn’t understand him and that his dad is too strict, too nosy or too mean.
Keep your own feelings about your teen’s father to yourself. According to Kent Toussaint, M.A., a licensed marriage and family therapist in California, your teen might dislike his father simply because he feels pressured by you to do so. If you and your teen’s father are divorced or separated and you make it a habit to say negative things about your ex in front of your teen, he might feel pressured to dislike his dad to make you happy. His sense of loyalty to you makes it impossible for him to like his father when you so obviously hate the man so much. No matter how much you dislike your teen’s father, you shouldn’t bad mouth him to your teen or encourage him to dislike his dad.
Encourage your teen’s relationship with his father to the best of your abilities. According to Toussaint, you can do this by saying nice things to your teen about his dad, such as how much his father loves him even if he can’t see it at the moment. Make plans for them to spend more time together in conflict-free facilities. Send them to a movie they both want to see or to a sporting event for a team they both like. This type of atmosphere is distracting and doesn’t leave much time for talking, so your son and his dad can enjoy some quality time together in an environment that leaves little room for disagreement.
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