My Husband and I Igteen Depression

Updated on May 07, 2012
N.M. asks from Meriden, CT
7 answers

My 13 year old has depression, it's been a struggle the past 2 years, not just for her but all of us. She also has some borderline personality tendencies which means we have to be firm with our boundaries despite her depression. Some of her behavior is more about attention seeking now, since a good deal of her true depessive symptoms have resolved with medication and LOTS of therapy. We have had a good amount of family therapy too which has been helpful, and even have a session tomorrow. With this in mind, one of the behaviors that we do not feel we should have to tolerate and are looking for a consequence to - is the statement "I hate you and I hate this family" which is what is said anytime she doesn't get her way. We understand the root cause is her own anger that she can't control and has difficult expressing appropriately, it still doesn't make the statement ok and I'm looking for suggestions (not a lecture to give her) as to a consequence to this statement. Any ideas?

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So What Happened?

I should clarify, my husband and I ignore alot of behavior, but this isn't always directed to us since we ignore it. It's directed to siblings and we were hoping to avoid the natural consequence of her siblings just not wanting to be around her. Her siblings have already endured alot and sometimes we have to balance protecting them and doing what's right for her. She has had LOTS of therapy, very intensive, in and out of home and this is something we and the therapist were hoping to find a consequence (not a punishment) to but couldn't think of something. Responding with "we love you anyway" isn't something her therapists or us, her family see working for HER, it might for other kids who don't have her mental health issues. That draws attention to negative behavior which we have been taught to ignore. We only give positive feedback for positive behavior. They have tried to teach her better ways of communicating her thoughts but this is an area of difficulty still.

More Answers



answers from Nashville on

She is a teen, I believe they are allowed to say they hate you and this family, but I don't think she really means that, so I don't know if a consequence is necessary. If you really don't like hearing it, you may want to express to her how that makes you feel, but I don't think that requires a punishment. My K student says that all the time to us and we just respond back "I know, but I love you very much" and they will say "No you don't" and I respond. It's ok, now go and do this or that. It's just a cry for attention. I would approach it in love rather than punishment.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Eugene on

From what I understand, borderline personalities need affirmation. Is there a way to affirm your daughter, validate her right to her own feelings, even hatred, while making it clear that she won't always get her way? Because what your daughter is doing is diverting the conversation. Instead of dealing with the issue at hand, she is getting you sidetracked with an emotional statement.

I'd do a "shoot and run" with her... something short and sweet. Like, "I care about you so I'm sorry you feel that way but you still can't go to the concert because you didn't do your homework." Then walk away and let her have time to think about her emotions and consequences.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I'm pretty sure a teen does not have to have BPD to say "I hate you". I would ignore, ignore, ignore...


answers from Erie on

Can you help her figure out a way to say what she is feeling without saying something that is so hurtful to you?



answers from New York on

My heart goes out to you. I have a child (older) and we go through the same thing. No matter how much theraphy we've had, she still would push me to my wit's end and still does it. When she tells me she hates me, I tell her that she is obviously angry, but I have not and will not change the rules. It breaks my heart that I am "hated" so much, but, I have had to step out of it emotionally. It was tearing me apart. She does not say it that much anymore because I have her complete what I have asked her to do. I do not let her get away with not doing a chore, etc.... unless she is sick. I use a firm voice !
Unless someone has a true understanding of depression in their home, it is so hard to comprehend.
However, I do not allow her to say it or anything like that when we are not at home. Otherwise, the phone is mine.
I have a rule in my house that the phone w/ texting goes on the kitchen table at 10pm. She says I am the meanest. I have never let up on that rule. She needs her rest and I can't have her fall apart in school if she is tired. In fact, last Thursday night I woke up at 1:50 AM and I pressed the button on her phone. All of her friends were writing to each other. Can you imagine? That's what they do if the parent doesn't step in and make rules.
Therefore, have a few rules and expectations. Make sure she is doing some chores. Be consistent when she needs to do her chore, etc...
When she does comply tell her thank you at least twice.



answers from New York on

I was that teenager who told my parents I hated them. Often. My moms response varied from "I'm not too crazy about your behavior right now." to "Well, I love you". She would also tell me that it wasn't her job to make sure I liked her. It was good because it didn't invalidate my feelings. I really felt like I hated them. I realize now I was just mad because I wasn't allowed to do things that I wanted to do , but my parents (mom in particular) were doing exactly what they should, being parents. I would try to ignore it as much a possible. If you punish her for it it may teach her that what she is feeling is not ok. When she is calm you could try talking to her about how you feel when she says those words to you and try and come up with some productive ways for herto express her anger. Also talk to the therapist. They may be able to help too. Good luck. Oh and I also have an awesome relationship with my mom now!


answers from Albany on

Hmmm, well a consequence would lend validity to her statement, right? She wants a rise and she'll get a reaction if there's a 'consequence'.

I'd just roll my eyes and ignore it. Oh brother. Whatever. That's not gonna work with me.


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