When Loving Your Child Seems Like Hate

Boy, do I ever hate my nine-year-old son. Hate him! How do I know this?

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Hate is what a father’s love feels like to a child who rebels, and who demands his own way over what is right and good. St. Thomas Aquinas taught us that, “To love is to will the good of another.” Every mother and father who has had to choose between what their children want and what their children needs must face this hard truth, and to know how heartbreaking it is for our child to resent us for loving him this way.

As it is for us, so it is to our Father in heaven. When I was a teenager, and running far from Him, I thought He was harsh and judgmental and hated me. I learned the truth much later, after serious suffering brought on by my own sinfulness. If He had the love to abide in truth for me, I can do the same with my own dear son, in whom I am well pleased, despite it all.

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Rod Dreher can be reached at rod@amconmag.com

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