Is It OK For A Parent To Tell Their Child They Don’t Like Them?

Mother Arguing With Teenage Son

There’s no doubt in the mind of anyone who has ever raised a child that the job could ever be described as easy, and honestly, I think it gets harder as your kids get older, despite what moms of toddlers might think.

Little kids have little problems, but when you start to wade into the waters of teaching them how to be decent human beings – sometimes against their will – things can get super tricky.

This mom has raised three boys, and while the first two have flown and are thriving, she found herself struggling when her third, still in high school, began bullying a gay boy at school.

I love my sons more than anything, I have 3, they were all raised to respect everyone regardless of their differences.

My 21 year old and my 19 year old have that down great, my 16 year old however is bullying a gay boy in his class and I was less than happy when I found out (his cousin told me).

OP addressed it and said he needed to apologize, then grounded him when he refused, but none of her punishments seemed to be getting through.

I gave him the chance to invite him over for dinner and apologize but he refused, he wouldn’t say sorry, at all. I get it, it’s embarrassing being told off in front of your friends but I don’t care, I wasn’t happy with his treatment.

I ended up grounding him but it didn’t seem to be affecting him at all and he clearly wasn’t learning his lesson.

She tried to force him to apologize directly to the family but that didn’t end up going well, either, and so her frustration began to build.

I contacted the family and let them know what was going on and they agreed to meet up for dinner and again I gave my son a chance to apologize, he got extremely upset/angry, maybe both and said that nobody even liked the ‘f word’. Of course I apologized and the family left.

Once they left their argument escalated and she told him she didn’t like him very much at the moment.

He was upset, apologized, and their relationship has been strained.

My son and I got into a big argument when they left where he said he wasn’t sorry and again that nobody likes this kid, I told him that I don’t like him very much right now either. He got quiet, apologized and went to his room.

I’ve now been told that he’s apologized to the student he was bullying and his grounding has been lifted, he’s still hiding in his room and we very rarely speak.

Other people gave their input and thought she needed to apologize, too, because what she said wasn’t nice at all, but OP still wasn’t sure.

My ex husband says I shouldn’t have told him I don’t like him and that there’s no excuse and of course that that behaviour is the reason we’re not together, because I can’t help but be a miserable AH. I understand it may not have been the nicest thing to hear but he was not listening to a word I was saying and was being a downright bully.


When she and her son finally broke down walls and had a heart-to-heart she learned there was a spurned advance involved and her son ended up coming out, so now there’s a whole other load of issues to confront.

A lot has happened since I made my post so I figured I’d just pop in to let people know how it unfolded. I’ve had a little chit chat with my son to get to the bottom of his behaviour and it turns out he’d asked his victim on a date and was turned down. Instead of acting like a normal human being he decided to be spiteful and started bullying the boy.

He’s still making up for it and we’ve had a talk about consent and the fact that nobody is obligated to date him. He knows I understand he was hurt but he should have spoken to me, after all, it’s what I’m here for.

That said, it seems like the talk very much needed to happen.

My ex is also openly homophobic and he no longer wants to visit him on weekends, so hopefully his father will no longer make such a great impression.

I also want to thank everyone for their kind words to this mama who thought she’d handled a tough situation very very poorly! I appreciate all the kindness!

What does Reddit say about telling your child you don’t like them? Let’s find out!

The top comment points out that telling a kid you don’t like them “right now” is not the same thing as telling them you don’t like them at all.

Image Credit: Reddit

Tough love is often a parent’s hardest but most important job.

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Moments like these are all just part of growing up (if you’ve got good parents).

Image Credit: Reddit

As long as he knows you still love him.

Image Credit: Reddit

Lots of people chimed in to say that it sounds like her ex is her ex for a good reason.

Image Credit: Reddit

This is a great story about how to be a good and loving parent, actually, and I hope there are many moms and dads out there willing to do the same thing in similar scenarios.

What’s your take? Would you ever say this to one of your kids? Tell us why or why not in the comments!