Can our children dislike us? Is it normal for it to happen? The psychologist Sara Tarres answer affirmatively and without margin of doubt. He says that the reasons why one can come to think that are several. One is the gap between generated expectations and reality: “For example, we believe in expressions such as ‘sleeping like a baby’, as if they did it deeply and all at once, and no, we come face to face with little ones who wake up every few minutes. , they demand a lot and the experience of sleep and rest worsens considerably”. Expectations in upbringing and education can frustrate fathers and mothers, making them feel that their offspring are not likeable to them. It is normal and may be temporary.
the psychologist Chestnut Gem comments that maternal desire plays an important role. He relatively recently treated a patient who went through a process of rejecting her firstborn and “was not able to accept that she was a mother until she had her next children.” “There are times that if the arrival is not desired, it can generate a certain rejection towards the new member of the family, since it supposes a drastic change in our lives”, affirms this expert. If the desired motherhood and fatherhood already turns life upside down and it’s hard to mentalize, the one that has arrived without being mentally planned and processed, may start with a confused or even negative feeling.
Psychologists say that mothers and fathers can feel a certain rejection with those children whose behaviors reflect everything that bothers them about themselves. Castaño has undergone therapy with a mother who had problems with mirroring. “He verbalized her difficulty in interacting with one of her children, even wondering if she loved him less,” she says. Working in session, they concluded that the woman saw in him some parts of herself that had been rejected by her environment when she was little and that she repelled: “The therapeutic work has been aimed at accepting her own way of to be, to be able to accept that of his son”.
Another of the most repeated reasons is the high demand for creatures. Although Castaño considers that “well, what is said well, it is not that our son dislikes us”, there may come a time when the physical and emotional exhaustion is so intense “that it leads fathers and mothers to want to get away, albeit temporarily.” The psychologist points out that if this happens it is important to ask for help and allow yourself to be supported by the environment.
What to like or not like are very relative concepts, in addition to the fact that they are not immovable categories: you may have that feeling for a season and then live it all again with the maximum of love and happiness, as they explain. The experts also point out that, sometimes, dislike is confused with having more or less affinity with one or another child: “Each child is a world and parents may be more comfortable with one than with another. ”.
Now, how can we manage that we like one child less than another? Tarrés assures that the best thing to do is ask yourself why you like one more than the other: “Answering this question with a list of specific behaviors will make it easier for us to know where to start, because the question is more in our hands, in those of grown ups”. The psychologist affirms that one of the first steps that must be taken is to change the focus with which the child is looked at: “Focus more on everything that he does correctly and less on what one dislikes, although this does not mean that he does not inappropriate or disruptive behaviors must be corrected. It means realizing that not everything is negative with the child you like the least: “To do so, it is essential to empathize with him, to see why he behaves the way he does and to what extent this behavior is a response to our way of doing with him. the”.
A more concrete solution, according to Tarrés, is to try to find time alone with the child with whom you feel less connected in order to reconnect: “Do some joint activity that allows you to generate pleasant experiences and turn the situation around, for example. We have to accept that at the present time we have these feelings and that this does not make us worse mothers, they are just emotions that are trying to tell us something that we should listen to.”
And in adolescence?
Adolescence can be a great torment in the relationship of fathers and mothers with their children. For Castaño it is a process of change, where the young person needs to separate himself from his parents to find his own identity and build himself as the adult he will be. He says that for this the peer group is very important, with which he can identify. “This separation process can be more or less abrupt, but it needs to happen. The job of the parents is to allow the children to separate during this stage, so that later they want to return during adulthood, ”she says.
What must be done to cope with it? Tarrés answers: “Dialogue, look for moments of complicity, try to find out what their musical tastes are, what their current idols are, the series that interest them… but without questioning.” He points out that this dialogue must flow without being imposed, respecting intimacy, individuality, the need for solitude that they need. And, above all, he prescribes patience: “Calm down and a lot of left hand. Authoritarianism, like excessive permissiveness, are not good advisers in any of the phases that children go through, much less in adolescence.