Loving versus Liking Your Kids

Conversations with my various friends have been taking place recently regarding kids, their kids, my kids, etc. The consensus was that they either did not like their children at all or they did not like them when they became teenagers. Wondering a bit at what happens when kids become teens that they suddenly are so disliked by their parents, other than the raging hormonal confliction and new found understanding of the world. I also wondered a bit why some parents did not like their children at all, no matter what age. How can you not like your kids? Loving your kids versus liking your kids are truly different aspects, yet I see them as much the same.

I love my children and I also like the people they are and who they are becoming. So imagine my lack of understanding of parents who do not like their children and especially do not like their children as teenagers. Teenagers cannot be that bad.

Grant tweenishWhile my eldest is just now cresting into the teen years and I have not had the full experience, I am more in love with this kid than ever. He has a wicked funny personality and a fun, lighthearted, sometimes envelope pushing, sense of humor. I like hanging out with him, I like to hear his perspective on the world, different views, I like how he shares intimate details with me about how he sees life. He is truly a magnificent creature not just because God gifted him to me. The young man has moments where he acts very sassy, mouthy, at times rude, inconsiderate, but that does not mean I do not like him any less or love him any less. Grace for figuring out his boundaries and where the line is drawn. Disliking behavior is one thing, disliking them as a person is another. I like my son as a person and I respect that we all have moments. I like (and love) that my son feels his emotions, is his own person and has his own views and opinions.

Teenagers, even if I am still new to the teen phase, are magical creatures. Teens have an amazing view of the world that is much more observant and insightful than we give them credit. Listening to them, their views, their opinions, fascinating people who are wiser beyond their years, wise in their simplistic view points, silently screaming for validation for how they view the world (right or wrong) and to have people acknowledge they do have a view point. I love teens! Technology, electronic communication and social media provide such a vast array of inputs and expression for these young minds, that we should not leave them to their own devices but embrace them, welcome them.

However, I like to think (or be delusional) that I have guided and or talked to my kids enough about making good decisions that they may make a bad decision, one they can learn from, not one that would require any lambasting on my end as a parent. While the time may seem long ago, I too was a teen and made some truly poor decisions and had wished my parents talked me through the consequences and “what did you learn” instead of the berating treatment of “you screwed up.” I like my kids so much that I do not want them to feel like a failure, but understand that for each action there is a reaction on some level. I also love my kids so much that I want them to feel, no matter how awful the experience, and then confide in me so that I can positively reinforce that “shit happens” and life is okay that way, they are no less a person because of their decision or the personal wave they will ride after the event.

twins, double troubleTwins, oh the “double trouble” as I have been told for the last eight years. Unless you have twins, your imagination cannot fathom the endless nonsense that ensues with twins, let alone the double trouble decisions these two have made. One might think I wouldn’t like my twins either; getting into cabinets, they divided and conquered (still continuing with their quests) with mess making throughout my house, two sass mouths, know-it-all, whining, complaining, bossing everyone around like they own the joint. I smile while typing this because I adore them and like them immensely for having these qualities. Individuality, they are their own person with opinions, ideals, principles; I like that my children challenge me as a person and a parent. Teen years will truly be enlightening and challenging with these two and I tremble with excitement!

Maybe someone might be able to explain to me why they dislike their children at any stage in life. I find that liking my children has reinforced a great deal of trust and respect with them. As of late, I noticed that when I appear [to them] as if I do not like them they retreat and do not confide in The Chad and I, hiding secrets, lies, and not opening up to us on an emotional plane. Trust is tantamount in our home for adequate communication and guiding our children through the hurdles that lie ahead in life. When they have a life event that puts them at a crossroads for a decision I would love to have them tell me where they stand and why because I have loved them, liked them and respected them enough to share wisdom and they in turn share their stance and confide in The Chad and I for continued guidance.

I love my children. I really like these people, the people they are becoming. I enjoy spending time with them. Listening to their opinions on the world, how they ask questions and I answer without my personal bias, I let them gather their own opinions, right or wrong. Sharing their ideas about the world, how people could be better versions of themselves, how the world could be a better version. Their laughter, sense of humor, intellect and spirit. What is not to like about these people?

Have we stopped to think that we always love our children, but how often do we tell them we like them? Loving versus liking your kids is truly a different aspect when we consider how we treat them as people. We [should] automatically love our children, should we not automatically like them as well? If we do not like them as people, why not? What does that say about us? As parents? Are we raising our children where we don’t like them so they do not like us as parents? How can parents change that dynamic? How can we be better for our kids to make them a better version of ourselves? For this world?

4 Replies to “Loving versus Liking Your Kids”

  1. Yeah, I don’t get it either. We both like and love our kids. They’re so full of personality and crack us up all the time. Funny thing is that we have a lot of friends that don’t have, don’t want, and don’t like children and yet they love our kids. Our girls are quirky but so absolutely cool. They’re genuine geeks at times, eclectically strange, are exhausting occasionally, messy and loud when they want to be, are best friends with each other, and know far to much about everything. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.

    1. Jenine, I love how you describe your girls, as if you sometimes just step back as mom to revel in the individualistic people they are and are becoming. I wish more parents could do that and embrace their children as people, not just kids. One day they will be a person to a stranger and I would love for that stranger to be thrilled to meet my kids, not look at them as…..oh THAT guy and or worse!

  2. I love and like my kids. Or at least I like them 99.9% of the time. When my daughter hit 16 we had major conflict. Sassy and I didn’t get on well and I can say she wasn’t overly fond of me but they were incidents and not a general dislike. It was bad behavior and I have refrained from “I told you so” because I want my kids to like me too! My daughter out grew her sass and has come to appreciate what we as parents were trying to teach her and I can say she is an honest to God good human being.

    My boys although very different from one another are good people and I hope they stay that way. They are thoughtful, polite, rude and fun all rolled into one. Again the rift between us has always been incidents and not the norm.

    I will say my kids now 22, 19 and 13 are far enough apart in age that I wasn’t hit with the negativity of teenage years all at one time. Maybe part of people not liking their kids is frustration. Working full time, shuffling the kids to and fro, and just daily life is a lot. I think kids get just as frustrated as parents though and we need to remember that.

  3. Lol, it’s not just kids! There are times when, as the joke goes, I can’t stand any of my loved ones. But I agree that at times it can be be hard to like kids—my niece is about to turn 13. And boy does it show in her attitude at times!

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