1. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    Young adult who hates his parents?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ettina, Mar 25, 2018.

    OK, so one of the main characters of my story hates his parents, especially his father, so much that he basically moved away from home as soon as he finished high school to go live in another town and cut all contact, and he doesn't even want to see them when he finds out he's terminally ill soon afterward. But I don't know why he hates his family so much.

    So, I was wondering if you guys could toss out suggestions for reasons my main character might hate his family?
     
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  2. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    They are vegan and political. He is burger and apathetic.
     
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  3. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    Do you mean to portray his actions as justifiable or as cruel/petty? Because it could be something as simple as them being somewhat unconventional and embarrassing him because he takes himself too seriously, or as serious as them being physically abusive. Do you intend for them to mend the bridge at some point in the story? Do you want both parties to be likable, or only one?
     
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  4. Ettina

    Ettina Senior Member

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    To be perfectly honest, my motivation in having him hate his parents was simply to make him an easy target for a monster because he has no connections and no one to miss him when he's gone, and he's desperate for work because he doesn't want to have to beg his parents for help when he can't make his rent. His parents never actually get involved in the story.

    But he's a really sweet, caring guy in the story, so he's probably got a good reason.
     
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  5. izzybot

    izzybot (unspecified) Contributor

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    Maybe he doesn't have to hate them, then. He could just be too proud or too embarrassed to ask them for help. I only suggest it because "kid hates their parents" is kind of a cliche -- if it's not going to matter, I wouldn't have the reason be something that would likely affect his characterization like abuse or as strong an emotion as hate. Maybe his parents were rather emotionally distant and had high expectations of him, and he just didn't want the pressure and lack of support, and that's why he moved away? Maybe they did one thing that infuriated him (some violation of trust or attempt at controlling/meddling with his life) and he cut off contact with them in the heat of the moment, and now it's just too awkward and shameful to get back in touch with them?
     
  6. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    ^^^That was me, minus the cutting all contact. I even graduated early (16) so I could get out on my own sooner. I moved out of the house by going to visit my sister in another state, got a job while I was there, and never went back home, except for the trip to get my stuff.

    "Hating" your parents is not as one-dimensional as you're making it sound. Calling it "hate' isn't really even accurate. It's an emotion somewhere in between love and hate, or it's love and hate that's all mixed up in an emotional blender that spits out a bit more or less of one or the other of those two emotions depending on the day. The emotions you feel for them are muddy, because they're your parents and part of you does love them. I call it the ultimate love-hate relationship. Some days yes, it's much closer to hate, but it's not that simple. How much you actually admit this muddiness to yourself is another thing, but it's there. My parents are now both dead, and I still struggle with how I actually feel about them, as readers of my Progress Journal well know. (I use it in my characters and in some of my plot lines.)

    As to possible reasons...alcoholism or other addictions, physical and emotional abuse and child neglect,being irresponsible and not taking care of their family, resentment at having to take care of irresponsible parents and having to clean up their messes, restrictive religious beliefs that the MC did not agree with or believe in, wanting a career they did not approve of, falling in love with someone they did not approve of...

    @izzybot was right on with this: "Do you mean to portray his actions as justifiable or as cruel/petty? Because it could be something as simple as them being somewhat unconventional and embarrassing him because he takes himself too seriously, or as serious as them being physically abusive. Do you intend for them to mend the bridge at some point in the story? Do you want both parties to be likable, or only one?"

    Regardless, making the MC's "hate" one dimensional will not ring true, whether the MC feels the love part consciously or not.
     
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  7. big soft moose

    big soft moose An Admoostrator Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    If you want him to really really hate them - abused him as a child, abused his sister, caused her suicide, force him to break up with his one true love, disowned him when he came out etc

    If you mean he just doesn't like them much then religious or political difference (dear god man they voted for Trump / Hillary - delete as appropriate ) or may he's embarrassed by them, or he wants to join the army and they are conscientious objectors, or vice versa
     
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  8. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Do you live in the U.S? Most of us here hate our parents. You don't even need a reason.
     
  9. DueNorth

    DueNorth Senior Member

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    As 1-9 mentions, the “hating your parents” stage is rather cliche and almost a rite of passage. Maybe he is exploring his gender identity and their constricted, uptight, moralistic, uptight fundamentalist Christian religious views cast him as a sinner. He’s cut off contact as a result, but doesn’t “hate” them.
     
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  10. Alastair Woodcock

    Alastair Woodcock Active Member

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    His father left home when he was young, after having been in prison. His mum dotes on him at first, but as she gets older she becomes a Jehovah's Witness and her constricting views lead to increasing rows between her and him. She doesn't let him go out to socialise, and they don't celebrate birthdays or Christmas. He eventually walks out on his mum at age 16, and goes to live with relatives and in time, moves into a hostel for homeless kids.

    It's rare that kids 'hate' their parents, but break-ups, splits and what-have-you can happen for a variety of reasons.

    The above is based on a true story of someone I know, as it happens.
     
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  11. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin I don't feel tardy.... Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Yeah, explaining why a kid hates his parents is like explaining why bacon tastes good or sex is fun.
     
  12. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    But kidding aside, I do think what you guys are describing is a normal phase /rite of passage of declaring independence, whereas the OP seems to be describing a permanent split that was the result of dysfunction. They're very different things.

    I think the rite of passage may be changing a bit, too, though...There are a bunch of 24-26 year olds in my building that are really close to their parents and look forward to spending time with them every weekend. That wasn't the experience of my most "normal" friends at 20-something.
     
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  13. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    Maybe the MC and the parents live by different morals and they can't find common ground.
     
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  14. ITBA01

    ITBA01 Active Member

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    I personally have a strained relationship with my dad, though I wouldn't call it hate. Most of it has to do with the fact that we don't agree on much of anything (he's incredibly religious and I'm a recent atheist). Even the things we do agree on he takes to an extreme (he's incredibly anti-gun control, whereas I think people have the right to arms, but believe there should be some restrictions). However, my main gripe with him is that he's immensely self-centered. Being religious, he's obsessed with the end of the world, and seems to believe that every natural disaster is a sign from God. Frankly, I just find it stupid (this is literally the best time in human history), and insensitive (the fact that he seems to obsess over earthquakes when people have lost their lives, and homes). He barely raised me and my siblings growing up, and his only advice for anything was just to pray. Essentially, he was content to let fictional sky daddy do the parenting while he went off to do whatever he wanted. I'm glad I had a good mom, or I probably would've turned out really bad.

    Anyways, as for your character, there's plenty of reasons as to why they could be angry at their parents. It could be something major, to just petty angst from a tortured, snowflake soul. I think the main thing to focus on is whether he's in the right, or wrong for hating them. Do you want to portray him as being justified in his hatred, or is he simply overreacting?
     
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  15. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Shenanigator and Andrew Alvarez like this.
  16. Andrew Alvarez

    Andrew Alvarez Senior Member

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    Interesting and accurate resource. Thank you.
     
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  17. soupcannon

    soupcannon Active Member

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    1. noun; the act or process of locating.
    Hey, Ettina, if your intention is to not have the parents get involved in the story, why even have them? Maybe the protagonist's parents died in a car crash or something? It can be a while ago or just recent, depending on what state you want to main character to be in.
     

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