5 Things to Remember When Your Child is Being So Annoying, Part 2


We’ve been talking about when your child is being so annoying, and what to do. What should your response be? How do you stop the anger, frustration and annoyance that rises inside? First of all, I want to call attention to the fact that every parent faces this, because every child is annoying sometimes, and there is a period in a child’s development when they can be more so than others, not that you should just say, oh well, and ignore it, but that as a parent, it helps to know that we’re in this together, and it’s not just your child that’s behaving this way! Right? Sometimes, we fail to admit when we’re going through something–false pride, perhaps? or too afraid of humiliation, or we think we’re the only ones–and we fail to gain the support that God means for us to have from the Body of believers. Older women are supposed to teach the younger, Titus 2 says, how to love their children, among other things. And, in general, we’re to bear one another’s burdens. So, maybe it’s time to just admit we’re going through something, and humbly ask, not only if they have any counsel to give, but to ask others to pray.

I said that there was more to this than could be discussed in one post, so if you didn’t get a chance to read it yet, go and read Part 1, 5 Things to Remember When Your Child is Being So Annoying. And, Part 3 is coming.

Often, one of the things that’s so annoying is that our child makes extra work for us when they’re acting immaturely! And, as if we didn’t have enough to do!  Then, we react immaturely in response, out of frustration. Often they create a big mess. If what they’ve done caused a mess, or they have broken something, perhaps the best thing to do is to allow the natural consequences of their behavior to do the training. If at all possible, have your child clean up the mess. If they can’t do it all, make sure they do some. If it’s broken glass or something like that, you can clean it to make it safe, then have them either clean it again, or clean something else, and explain that because you are having to do this work, they must do the work that you couldn’t do. Keep yourself calm, and let the consequence be fitting and train them. If the item was worth replacing, and they were clearly at fault, you should have them pay for the replacement of the broken item, as well. It may mean they have to do some extra work around the house in order to earn the money and it may take time, but that lesson won’t be forgotten soon. They are building character, and learning responsibility. These are extremely important things to learn! In certain circumstances, they may need to ask forgiveness of another family member. Even if they didn’t mean to do it, they should still say, “I’m sorry.” An oft-heard excuse is, “I forgot.” Or, “I didn’t know,” or “I didn’t mean to.” Though that may be very true, they need to learn that there are still consequences for their actions, and whenever possible, let the consequences train them. And, maybe they’ll remember better next time!

The result of their immaturity may mean more work for you, but remember that you can clean up a mess in a few minutes with your hands, or you can tear down your child in a second with your words and attitude. If you feel like you’re going to lose it, give yourself some space and time to cool down before dealing with your child.  Communicate to them by your actions, words and attitude that they are more important than whatever was spilled or broken. My mom used to say, “It’s only a thing.” Even if it’s a family heirloom, try not to place more importance on it than on them by your words or actions. When you’ve calmed down, get everything cleaned up quickly, working together, (perhaps they don’t know how to clean up a mess like this one, and it can be a valuable training time), and encourage them by saying something like, “No need to cry over spilt milk,” or something of the sort. This isn’t the time to give them a lecture. If you’ve been training them up till now, they could probably recite the lecture verbatim anyway! They know! They know. Yes, they really do know. And, dear mom, they are going to turn out ok. They will eventually become responsible adults. They really won’t turn into space cadets or irresponsible slobs! Someday soon, your training will bear fruit. Don’t give up, and do not fear. Keep on patiently training.

If instruction is needed, give it later when you’re not in the middle of the crisis. Your calm, mature response now will pave the way for their receiving your instruction later, and your demeanor is a very important lesson all by itself. Actions speak louder than words. Have you ever heard the saying, “Your actions are shouting so loudly, I can’t hear a word you’re saying”? When you do sit down with them later, perhaps you could open up with a question such as, “What do you think you could have done differently in order to have a different outcome?”


2) This is the golden moment you’ve been waiting for to train them in Godly character, by your example.

What you do now is more important than what you say. I’m writing this to help you so that next time YOU will have a different outcome:) What do you think you could do differently in order to have a different outcome the next time your child behaves so annoyingly? How will you respond the next time they have acted immaturely (for the umpteenth time). Decide now how you will act and what you will say when something is spilled all over the kitchen or is broken–because of their immaturity. When they took it a little too far, didn’t stop before someone got hurt (physically or emotionally). Or did something even smaller, but still very irritating. What you do will impact their lives more than what you say, as important as what you say is. Decide ahead of time how you’ll act. You might even picture it in your mind.

“A soft answer turneth away wrath, but grievous words stir up anger.”
Proverbs 15:1

“Fathers, provoke not your children to anger, lest they be discouraged.”
Colossians 3:21

First of all, may I suggest that you don’t wait until the behavior is driving you absolutely crazy and you react by yelling at your child. You be the mature one. When it first begins to be annoying, or you see where it’s headed, quietly suggest a different behavior, action, or activity, in a calm voice, with no sarcasm or irritation in your voice. Make eye contact. Get a “Yes, Mom,” from them.

Daily, first thing in the morning, commit your day to the Lord, and ask Him to be Lord of all that happens, giving you a calm spirit, and the ability to respond appropriately throughout the day, and bring Him glory through all you do and say. Pray with your children about the day and all your actions–yours and theirs. It will also teach them to take everything to God in prayer.

When you’re stressed, tired, or are having a difficult day, you will be tempted to become angry. The temptation is not sin. And, this is not because of your child’s behavior. Their behavior is only revealing that you are tempted to become angry (perhaps you have an anger problem and you need to deal with it). And, if you do become angry, be an example of asking forgiveness, in that case, of your child.

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By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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5 Things to Remember When Your Child Is Being So Annoying! Part 1


Children between the ages of about 8 or 9 and 13 or 14 (but really at any age) can sometimes go through an extremely annoying phase. Perhaps most do, and if you remember yourself at that age, if you’re like me, you can remember yourself being really annoying at times. As a parent trying to get things done, to manage work, home, family, perhaps Homeschooling, and outside involvements, etc., you can feel very frustrated and short-tempered when your child behaves this way. They may have habits that are annoying, they may repeat things over and over, or make noise just for the sake of making noise! Or, they may do things that are just, so childish! The temptation is to get angry and yell at your child. Or to speak in a very irritated way to them, perhaps dripping with sarcasm or to be insulting. Though these are the temptations, we cannot give in to them.

“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
2 Corinthians 7:1

I was reading this morning in a book I use as a devotional sometimes, “A Passion for Holiness in a Believer’s Life,” by Charles Spurgeon, (compiled and edited by Robert Hall). These words jumped off the page (he is speaking on “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit” from 2 Corinthians 7:1): “The Christian is developed by actively seeking growth, earnestly striving after holiness, and resolutely endeavoring to obtain it.  The utmost of our activity should be put forth in cleansing ourselves. Your bad temper will not be overcome by saying, ‘Well, you know I cannot help it.’ But you must help it; you must, if you are a believer. You have no more right to shake hands with a bad temper than you have to fraternize with the devil. You have got to overcome it, and in the name of God you must…Albeit sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit, yet it is equally true that the Holy Spirit makes us active agents in our own sanctification.”

Here are 5 things I would like to encourage you to remember
(and to do) when your child is being really annoying.

1) They are acting childishly immature, because they’re still children and immature.

Don’t punish them for childish immaturity. There is a difference between childish immaturity and disobedience and rebellion, which things should bring swift discipline. Consider also, if they are acting annoying, they may have some excess energy to burn off.  We used to say, “Go run around the house 5 times!”  When you exercise your body releases chemicals called endorphins. Endorphins trigger a positive feeling in the body, are known to reduce stress, create a euphoric feeling, and fight against depression. Sending them outside to run off some of that energy also provides a change of scenery, and distracts them from whatever may have been instigating them to display annoying behavior. This is not a reward for annoying behavior:)

There is another activity you can have them do when they’re being annoying that is also good–work!  I sometimes used to say, “You must not have enough work to do!” If they had enough time to bother a sibling, or torment the cat, they had time to do those chores that were waiting! Children need to be trained to work. They should be doing their share of the work to keep the home running smoothly. This also makes them feel needed and you should show appreciation for what they do, and let them know their contribution is valued. Especially your sons need good hard physical work, if possible, and it’s best if their dads can direct this. My husband would write a list before he left for work of jobs or chores he wanted our son to get done that day. They also chopped and hauled wood on the weekends for our wood stove. This was a godsend!

At this age, they’re trying to figure out what is appropriate behavior, they’re unsure of themselves and finding out who they are, they’re testing the waters to see how they fit in to the family and other groups of people. They’re developing their own personality and their own sense of humor. It’s not always obvious to them that what they think is funny or appropriate or expressing their individuality, isn’t necessarily appropriate at that particular time and in that particular place.

They’re immature—give them time! When you are so annoyed with your child, there is probably also an element of embarrassment you’re experiencing. You may overreact because of it. You need to remember that their behavior doesn’t necessarily mean that you as a parent, and your child-training, are a failure. Take a step back and try to be objective. If someone else’s child did the same thing, would you laugh? (Evaluate, however, if more training and instruction is needed in a certain area. But, don’t beat yourself up. Pray and make a plan. Perhaps you’re not seeing first-time obedience–you’re not expecting them to obey the first time you speak–and your frustration level and anger, therefore, rise.)

This is Part 1. In Part 2 I’ll talk about more practical things you can do when your children are being so annoying!

By the Grace of my Heavenly Father alone, through His Son, Jesus Christ.

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