Parenthood is a struggle. There will be days when you’ll be badly burned out – it won’t matter how tough or brave or compassionate you were when you started. Some days, you might even wake up and think to yourself, “I don’t want my teenager anymore.”
And in some very select cases, that might even be the best option for everyone.
Is it that you don’t want your teenager anymore, or have you just lost your patience with their frustrating behavior? What was the breaking point – and what else leading up to it?
Set aside time to talk things over with your teen. The conversation may be difficult, but it’s sorely needed given how close you are to your breaking point. If you aren’t ready yet, don’t be afraid to disengage until you’re in a better frame of mind to tackle the issue healthily.
This feeling should pass eventually, but with certain difficult cases time alone won’t cut it. You’ll need to take proactive measures to drag yourself out of that rut. We won’t be able to do that for you, but what we can do is point you in the right direction to get started.
Getting Rid of Negative Emotions About Your Teen
Think about Why That Is (But Don’t Let Yourself Spiral)
Caring for rebellious teens can undoubtedly get frustrating, but you can’t just stop there and give in to the negativity. You need to figure out what exactly you find troubling with your current situation. Letting the pain eat away at you without taking action will just make things worse.
Parents don’t just wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to boot their teen out of their lives – chances are, whatever issue at hand has been lingering in your home for quite a while. Pinpoint the specific concern to the best of your ability, then act fast to address the issue.
A lot of teenagers act rebelliously in that phase of their lives, but what’s been pushing you to the breaking point? Is it because they’re insistent on their stubbornness?
Are they irresponsible with their actions and inconsiderate about how they affect others in their vicinity? What line did they cross that made you snap? Was there something else at play?
Try to come up with at least three possible answers, then weigh them against each other.
Parenthood is exhausting, and no matter how driven you are there’s no shame in reaching your breaking point. Emotional duress can lead to physical symptoms manifesting – a lot of parents literally worry themselves sick with their troublesome teen’s antics.
Accept that you’re hurting and that the situation needs to be addressed. Your situation is not your teen. They might act stupid or inconsiderate but they’re not doing what they do to hurt you.
You’ve reached your breaking point, but how will you bounce back?
Schedule a Talk to Clarify Expectations and Boundaries
If you’re at the point where you’re wondering if you don’t want your teen anymore, chances are that they’re feeling the same way as well!
The conflict is bad, but trust that everyone recognizes that solving it is in their best interests. Your teen is suffering from this situation – they aren’t the problem, but a fellow victim to it.
Before you do this, make sure you’ve calmed yourself down to a reasonable level. It doesn’t matter if what you’re angry about is irrational or completely valid – your teen won’t appreciate you screaming their heads off, and your situation will devolve back into another senseless argument.
There’s still going to be a lot of tension, but don’t be alarmed. It’s okay if the two of you disagree at certain points in the discussion. Boundaries work off proper expectations, and sometimes the issue wasn’t the overstepping but the suddenness with which that breach happened.
For example, let’s say your teen wanted to hang out at their friend’s house late at night. If you’re firm about only letting them stay until 10 pm, your teen will recognize the boundary – even if they disagree with it. While they can disregard the rule, they can’t pretend they weren’t told.
If you show up at that time without clarifying that detail, however, your teen might feel that you were butting in on their personal time. The problem wasn’t the rule, but the lack of clarification. The boundary’s presence was too discrete to make a difference, so everyone felt wronged.
Boundaries are pointless if they aren’t discussed and properly understood by the people involved. It’s also important to recognize that a teen’s boundaries can be different from your own – you shouldn’t demand them to adjust to your preferences – especially if it’s “for their own good”.
Your discussion will go nowhere if you let family dynamics play a part in them. Let your teen know that they can be honest with you and that they won’t be punished for speaking their mind. Start off as equals, then work with them as partners to figure out the best solution for everyone.
Disengage from the Situation
Your frustrations are valid, but don’t let a sense of duty force you to act when you aren’t ready. You might not be in a good state of mind to converse with your teen openly.
It’s tempting to solve the problem now, but you aren’t in any condition to do this. Take a time-out to cool down first. If you reach a state of mind where you start thinking “I don’t want my teen anymore”, chances are that there’s nothing they can say to improve your mood.
Call your spouse to vent a bit. Chat with some friends to get your mind off things. Take a walk somewhere calming, or maybe drop by a nice restaurant or shop and spoil yourself for an evening. Don’t think about solving the problem, because if you’re this upset while trying to fix things, you’ll only be setting yourself up to make more mistakes.
A note of warning: Disengaging is fine, but don’t ever do this right in the middle of an argument – especially if your teen is still explaining their side of things!
In their eyes, you said your piece and left without listening. You’d be showing them how little you care about what they have to say, which would frustrate anyone – all the more for a volatile teen!
If they’re still talking, let them finish their response before you call a time-out on the argument. You want your teen to feel that you’re willing to listen – just not right now, while things are tense.
Some arguments in the family can get pretty heated, with emotions going beyond the immediate scope of the topic. In some cases, even seeing or hearing your teen could leave your blood boiling. At these points, it’s easy to feel that you don’t even want your teenager anymore.
Sometimes, your teen will drive you furious – but what do you choose to do about it?
If things have gotten this intense, you might want to consider letting them stay with friends or family for a couple of nights. This isn’t a punishment, and should never be used (or implied) as one. It’s an objective precaution you need to take to prevent bad situations from getting worse.
Don’t be ashamed to recognize times when your anger might get the better of you. Pretending they aren’t happening won’t make it so. Even if nothing comes of it, it’s not a risk your teen deserves to be subjected to because your pride needed soothing.
What to Do when Disengaging
You’ll deal with the problem when you’re ready – and not a moment earlier than that!
As difficult as it might be, avoid occupying yourself with the situation. Try to have fun, or at the minimum just try to breathe and recompose yourself. The solution will come to you in time.
Steer clear of sites, forums, or groups about parenting in the meantime. The last thing you need right now is a mountain’s worth of advice that you can’t even put into practice yet!
Let it go for now. After you’ve had time to cool off, even the worst situations will just become another problem for your household to solve.
Bonus: Is it a Financial Concern?
On the other side of the spectrum, kids are objectively expensive. Their basic needs and education alone will rack up as the years go on, and not every family can keep supporting that.
Parents can work themselves to the bone for the sake of their kids, juggling multiple jobs they can’t sustain – living between miracles to make ends meet. These efforts are admirable, but they take a ton of resolve not everyone can maintain. Some people even lose themselves to the process.
Parents sacrifice their time, opportunities, and rest for the sake of their children. The problem here comes when they start resenting them for those losses. Some parents might even begin to see their kids as an obstacle to their own happiness.
It’s one thing to feel that you don’t want your teenager anymore – it’s another thing entirely once you start taking those feelings out on them!
A child needs to be raised as a person, not as a pariah or financial burden. Forcing them to remain in a household that only sees them in that light will be a bad experience for everyone.
If they’re a teenager, there might be some alternative options worth pursuing. The options below will have your teen out of your home, but both methods require explicit consent from everyone involved, along with resources that may not be available to your family.
Taking these routes would lead to irrevocable changes in your relationship with your teen – it might even dissolve your relationship altogether.
These should only be considered when the main concern is financial in nature. They should never be viewed as a means to punish your teen nor as a way to pawn off that responsibility to others.
Also known as relative adoption, kinship adoption is a procedure that allows the adoption of family members – providing all legal rights and insurance coverage that arrangement would entail.
It’s one of the few feasible ways for teenagers to be adopted and is an option worth considering if you have relatives able and willing to do this for your teen’s sake.
This way requires experienced adoption attorneys to mediate the process, but we guarantee that it’s well worth the hassle.
Your teen might be acting the way they do because they crave independence they aren’t getting. It could put them at odds with you, leading to a lot of difficult clashes and personal friction.
Emancipation allows your teen to live independently, but they need to be of age (usually 16, depending on the state), capable of supporting themselves financially, willing to do so and must have this petition approved by a judge.
This option is niche at best, but it might just be exactly what they need!
Look into your teen’s track record with responsibility, and offer them the opportunity to arrange this. Talk about their plans should the emancipation successfully push through.
Use your best judgment to decide if your teen is ready to live as a full-fledged adult, then leave the final say to them. This isn’t a decision you should make lightly, and it should be made with everyone’s finances and well-being being considered – not just because you don’t want your teen in your life anymore!
“I don’t want my teen anymore” is an intrusive thought that comes with the frustration of parenting. You probably don’t mean it when it pops up, but knowing that won’t make it easier to cope with.
Don’t let your anger lead to impulsive behavior – try to understand their situation. Separate the problem from your teen, and trust that they want to solve the issue just as much as you do.