23 Reasons Why Your Dad is Mean to You

One of the challenges you face in your teenage years is your relationship with your parents, especially when they don’t respect your space and boundaries. We understand that teenagers want autonomy and independence. While as a woman your mom most likely takes an emotional approach, your dad tends to appear cold, or even worse, he seems to hate you. 

Instead of wondering, let’s check the list of reasons why your dad is mean and rude to you that we provide below or if he’s just having a hard time. Our comprehensive list will be a great help to you in acknowledging and understanding the deeper causes of your dad’s malicious behavior. Whether you want to reconnect with him will remain your call, but as a teenager, you would want to learn more about human behavior. 

1. It’s Not You, It’s Him

why is my dad so mean

Being a teenager and having a teenage child are two different conditions with whole different treatments. You might be overwhelmed by some tangible and intangible changes within yourself, and your dad is busy keeping his expectations towards you. Sometimes he has no idea how to process his feelings and thoughts. 

2. He Doesn’t Want to Lose You

why is my dad so mean

When you were a baby, it was easier for your dad to keep up with your development. Now that you’re a teenager, you have your own decision, perspective, and preferences he needs to respect. Things become uncontrollable. Sometimes it looks like he’s so mean and leaves you questioning “why is my dad so mean?”. While in fact, he just doesn’t know how to express the fear of losing you. 

3. Or, He’s Too Controlling

why is my dad so mean

In contrast to the previous point, maybe he’s too controlling. He has the urge to control your decisions, perspectives, and preferences—even worse, your life! Remember, not all parents know how to cope with teenagers’ risk-taking behavior. If this is your case and you keep asking why your dad is mean to you, cut it off. You do you. 

4. The Generation Gap 

why is my dad so mean

Our parents’ generation was often told what to do to satisfy societal expectations since they were kids, sometimes with the use of parental harsh discipline. But look at our generation. Experts nowadays keep telling parents to be friends with their children and give them more freedom, so they become more independent. It’s never your fault as the generation gap happens naturally. Instead, your parents are the ones who should adapt. 

5. When You Have a Childish Dad

why is my dad so mean

Who says an adult can’t be immature? Check these points in your dad: Does he avoid conflict at all costs? Does he lack empathy? Do you often find him acting and reacting in emotional ways? Does sometimes a question of “why is my dad so mean?” pop in your mind? If so, he’s just a toddler but is trapped in an adult’s body. We hope now you know why he’s mean to you. It stems from his childish nature. 

6. Overly Giving Dad

why is my dad so mean

Putting this point on the list of reasons why your dad is mean was a bit odd at first. Well, because who doesn’t want to have a dad who always fulfills your material wishes? But do you know that being overly giving is a toxic trait? We never know his pure intentions by doing so, but mostly to demand more attention from his children. The children will likely be demanding and egoistic. 

7. Jealousy is Real 

why is my dad so mean

Yes, being jealous of your children is possible. He might be envious of your accomplishment and your fun life. In some cases, your dad is jealous of how you connect emotionally to your mom. A jealous parent can sometimes go too far, such as gossiping about you behind your back, criticizing constantly, and minimizing your success. Set your boundaries until you’re ready to communicate this with him. 

8. He’s Unsupportive

why is my dad so mean

Every teenager wants to live in a supportive environment—with the right amount of freedom. You want to have a dad who has no doubt in you and everything you do and at the same time will comfort you once you’re failed. While you know that eventually you are the only person you can always count on, being your own hero is not an overnight process. Thus, having an unsupportive dad feels depressing, yet never let it consume you. Build your standards and keep working on your dreams gradually! 

9. Emotionally Distant Person

why is my dad so mean

We have a friend whose dad is completely devoid of his emotions. He has a hard time expressing his feelings towards anything and connecting emotionally with people around him. Sadly, he often comes across as flat and rude. Like you, sometimes it leaves them wondering “why is my dad so mean?” If your condition is similar, try to build a connection with him by telling him about your day and asking for his opinions. 

10. Abusive Dad is the Worst 

why is my dad so mean

Your resentment towards your dad can be a result of the cycle of his abusive behavior. Abusive behavior can come in various forms, from physical and verbal, to sexual. The thing is, sometimes the signs appear so subtle that you may not even recognize them. Does he use violence to punish you? Does he keep gaslighting you? From now on, please pay more attention to the signs of an abusive dad!

11. He is Hurt and Broken

why is my dad so mean

When it comes to the question of “why my dad is mean?”, we always try to pause for a while, take a deep breath, and instill some passion to understand the reasons. Often, it is because he is broken and hurt, to begin with. Hurt person, hurt person. Maybe your dad experienced some tragic and traumatic events in the past that hurt his inner child. To solve this issue, you should cultivate compassion on your end and forgive him to create a peaceful atmosphere. 

12. Temporary Stress

why is my dad so mean

It’s not usually like this. One day, your dad came home with his unsettled feelings. Suddenly, the home that was once filled with laughter is now silent. Your dad is not in a good place and feels angry about the situation he is in. You can suggest your dad take stress leave from his job or whatever efforts that can make him more relaxed. After all, dad’s psychological being greatly affects the family. 

13. He Always Sees you as a Kid

why is my dad so mean

The most common reason why your dad is mean to you is that, regardless of your age, he always sees you as a kid. Even worse, he tends to belittle you. When a problem arises between you and him, he often refuses to deal it with you in an adult way. In his eyes, you’re just his little kid who is not capable of handling your problem your way. 

14. You’re Never Up to His Expectation 

why is my dad so mean

In certain cases, this will make the children feel sad. But other times the parents set the bar too high for the children to achieve. Sometimes the fact that you fail to live up to your dad’s expectations will leave him frustrated. Be aware that you can’t please everyone, including your dad. But this works the other way around too, don’t expect your dad to be what he can’t be. 

15. When You Have a Dependent Dad

why is my dad so mean

Every day we read financial articles about sandwich generation where being part of it alone is a sacrifice. But what if your dad doesn’t only rely on you financially, but also psychologically and mentally? You have a very slim chance to be fully independent because you don’t have enough time to work on yourself. What’s worse, a dependent dad tends to be overly demanding. 

16. He is Powerless

why is my dad so mean

Being mean is often associated with anger. And do you know that your dad’s anger is a sign of powerlessness? It’s common for this to happen when things don’t go by his principles. For instance, a dad who holds a traditional principle of the roles of mothers and fathers wants to be the breadwinner. Thus, when your mom makes more than he does, it will belittle him and lead him to feel a sense of powerlessness. 

17. Mr. Always Right

why is my dad so mean

Nothing is more irritating than having a mean “Mr. Always Right” dad. When a dad has a self-righteous attitude, he always sees you as a sinner and constantly preaches to you. Your dad tends to see your mistakes as unethical behavior and takes himself as the epitome of a saint-like person. Try to jokingly overcompliment him for his good deeds and see his reaction! 

18. Your Dad is Emotionally Reactive

why is my dad so mean

As a teenager, you want to be heard and understood by your dad. But you have to admit, things won’t get easier the moment he starts being so reactive over the small stuff. You will most likely get cut off before finishing your words, making it even harder for you two to communicate effectively. An emotionally reactive dad gets angry very easily, he’s like a time bomb ready to explode. 

19. A Criminal Dad

why is my dad so mean

If your dad is found guilty of a crime, you have zero time to question yourself “why my dad is so mean?” You must swallow the bitter fact that he’s potentially mean to everyone. Sorry, but you are no exception, even though he should have protected you and your family. Learning what is right is a fulfilling experience. However, learning what’s right from wrong from a shameful experience is another different story. 

20. He Has a Victim Mentality

why is my dad so mean

Aren’t you tired of dealing with a dramatic dad who plays the victim? Rest assured that people around him are overwhelmed with his belief that he always attracts misfortunes. A victim mentality is stemmed from a lack of self-love and confidence. Their acts of self-victimization are not solely for attention-seeking purposes, but also to influence your thought. 

21. The One Who Refuses to Learn

why is my dad so mean

The world and what’s in it are developing. Ironically, the world doesn’t always revolve around you. We feel sorry for dads who refuse to learn anything. These kinds of people are prone to follow and believe in propaganda as they’ve never exercised and challenged their thoughts. Next thing you know, he will angrily force you to agree with his views. If you want a simpler life, ignore him for his perspective. 

22. An Alcoholic and Addict Dad

why is my dad so mean

It’s hard when your dad chooses bottles over family. Even harder when he’s an addict. Chances are, having a peaceful family and warm bonding will just remain a dream. Alcoholic dads or those with substance use disorder tend to be irresponsible for their children’s growth and usually have a short fuse. This will leave you feeling lonely, unloved, unworthy, and traumatized. What is worse is when you model your dad and end up being an alcoholic or an addict yourself. 

23. He’s Just Plain Toxic

why is my dad so mean

Finally, it all comes down to this trait. If you feel like most of the points we listed previously fit into your case, your dad is a toxic-natured person. Our advice is to keep doing what you think is best for you while progressing at your own pace. Show them you still can have a life outside your study, maintain healthy relationships with friends, and treat them with respect but set your boundaries. At the end of the day, you will have time to move out and live independently as an adult. 

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How do you deal with a rude dad?

Try fixing this issue by communicating clearly and calmly when he’s in a good mood. Instilling some compassion and understanding of where he’s coming from is always a good start. If it’s impossible, stick to your principles and never stop doing what you think is right. There are many support groups to reach out to for you to feel at home. 

What are toxic dads?

Those who can’t play their role as a dad. They project their feelings of inadequacy onto their children. Toxic dads also come with negative consequences for the children. The effects on the children include but are not limited to, mental health issues, anxiety, self-sabotage, insecurity, and many more. 

How do you get your dad to shut up?

If you think it is still tolerable and manageable, you can just play it cool and set your boundaries. But if you are quite bothered, try to communicate it calmly and when he’s in a good mood. Still doesn’t work? Move out and live independently and responsibly as a young adult. 

Why am I so angry with my dad?

Because he doesn’t contribute to your well-being and happiness. Learn to forgive, but not forget. This is great to set your barriers right. And as hard as it may sound, you should also still treat him with respect even though one day you’d choose to cut him off. 

Suzy Prichard

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