Anyone who has children most likely has a long list of stories where one’s child was acting mean-spirited to family, abusive to other children, and worse, destroyed various parts of the household. As sweet and innocent as small children appear to be, they need to be trained, trained and trained some more! Children require a lot of attention and time and when one knows that he or she has very little of either why bother having children or continue having children? Of course, there are those unexpected surprises, but one has nine months to get his or her business straight mentally and physically to ensure the well-being of one’s baby before he or she arrives.
For adults who are often busy with work, hobbies, or other things non-family related, parenting children will be a challenge. There will be those days that no one’s advice is going to work, you just have to go on one’s gut feeling, heavenly Father, or ride the rollercoaster of your child’s emotions. No easy way out!
Workplace responsibilities must be put on hold at times, so that a parent can take a child to his or her doctor’s appointment. Television watching will be interrupted when there is some yelling going on in the next room from sugar-hyped children. Events will be canceled when children are misbehaving so badly, that a parent feels like his or her head is going to pop off.
Sometimes bad times will far exceed good times and don’t let a naive, inexperienced, “I’m so in love with children” type tell you any differently. But we, parents, rebound from every challenge set before us, don‘t we? We find ways to get the peace we need after a storm. From popping a pill for a bad headache to taking a long walk or drive, we find ways to temporarily escape crazy moments until we can clear our minds. Moments are just moments they don’t last always! Storms don’t stick around, they eventually go away.
One thing, those of us who have been at parenting awhile will not do is, judge a person for wanting to leave family sometimes. Irritations pile up, and when they go beyond capacity that is when marriages fail, people walk out of homes, children are abused, spouses are mistreated, etc.
Whether one is traveling for the job, vacationing with the girls on a cruise, or hanging out with the fellows at a sporting event, we can’t blame you for wanting to protect your sanity. Maybe if more people knew how to get away from children, before taking out frustrations on a partner, abusing the family, or worse murdering them, there would be more lives spared.
So what are some of those things that frustrate some adults, more than others, and how might we get a handle on some of these issues?
Most children whine because their needs are not being met. For example, Dad didn’t get the toy his son wanted. Mom didn’t pour juice in her daughter’s favorite cup. The driver of the car didn’t stop at a family restaurant to get Junior something to eat. So the children whine and whine and whine--no tears just annoying noise! A high pitch voice that is so irritating to the point that a parent who typically doesn’t yell will turn around and say, “Will you shut up!? Just shut the bleep up!” Sometimes all the whining was nothing more than a sleepy, hungry child. You have to stop and think, “When was the last time I took my child to the bathroom, gave him or her something to eat, and let my poor son or daughter take a nap peacefully?”
Solution: Always have goodies on hand and small toys in tote. Give your children a treat or toy that will distract them when you know you can’t meet their needs for the moment. When you have nothing, point out something interesting and begin to talk about it while rubbing the child’s shoulder. Sometimes a little tickling of one’s ribs or toes is a great distraction. Laughing is always better to listen to than whining!
2. Crying for long periods of time.
From a pain in a child’s ear to gas bubbles in a full belly, a child will cry and cry and cry. Something hurts! Maybe a favorite parent or relative left and the poor child can’t bear the separation. Whatever the case, soothe the child for as long as you can tolerate the crying. Babies can be held, toddlers can be walked, older children can be instructed to take deep breaths while they cry. The quick breathing exercise for older children will shorten the crying. Try different things to console children who are upset.
Solution: When you are at your wits end, remove yourself from the crying child. Place the child safely in a crib without anything in it or put your son or daughter in his or her room while you go somewhere in or around the home so that you can calm down. Sometimes calling a fellow parent and sharing your frustration can be a help.
3. Act out with parents and caretakers such as: hitting, biting, kicking, and spitting.
Children doing anything that hurts those who are watching them will make some adults very upset. A slap to the face, a kick to the shin, or a toy being hurled at one’s head is enough for a child to be punished. The toy is taken away, some parents will spank, and others will put children in time-out. When a child doesn’t get whatever he or she is asking for, most parents and teachers will isolate him or her from others. There are many things a parent can do to ensure that they are in control of the household and not the child who has only been on this planet for less than five years.
Solution: When a child is acting out this badly often, surely a parent should consider taking the child to a mental health doctor. It just isn’t typical of most children to want to fight adults. But if the children have been abused in some way, they will lash out terribly.
4. Touch things after repeated instructions not to.
How many times does a parent have to keep telling a child not to touch something? For as long as it takes for the child to learn that when mom and dad says, “No!” They mean, “No!”
Solution: No matter how frustrated you get, do the kinds of things that will show the child that it is wrong to touch certain things. So if you have to block a certain area of your home off, do it. Rearrange some things or pack up others until he or she is older, do it! If telling your child repeatedly not to do something is grating on your nerves, take a time out for yourself and plan how you are going to make the environment less stressful for you and your child. People who are stubborn and refuse to move anything or rid themselves of so much stuff decorating their homes are the ones who tend to get the most upset about curious children. Watch people like this, they might lose it.
5. Exaggerate an accident, tell false stories.
Children will say that a sibling, “…did this and that…” and cry their eyes out while telling you about it. But then you find out later, what had happened wasn’t as bad as the child made it sound.
Solution: Before jumping to conclusions, investigate. When you realize your child is the exaggerating type instruct him or her on sticking to the facts, by having them repeat the story and then you point out where he or she is not being accurate. Of course, you will have to explain in such a way that a child can comprehend what you are saying. Use visuals to help such as books that teach children why lying is wrong.
6. Avoid eating certain foods.
No matter what you say or do, when a child’s mind is made up on what he or she is going to eat--that’s the end of it. No amount of persuasive techniques will help in the long term. Sometimes you just might get a child to eat this thing and that thing in the short term, but old habits tend to return periodically. You can talk until you are blue in the face about how the child ate fruits and vegetables last week with no problem while you continuously put a spoon in his or her mouth, but when they don‘t want eat all of something or none at all, don’t force them. Otherwise, before long, you will have food everywhere and a red-faced child crying about “…not wanting it!” while you are tossing a dish or two in the sink screaming, “I give up!”
Solution: You might want to try cooking certain foods in a different way, buying alternatives, or using someone else in the family to coax your child into eating particular meals.
7. Fight with siblings.
This last irritation of many parents is one that will occur throughout childhood. Today brothers and sisters love one another, but tomorrow, not so much. Parents are called into bedrooms, living rooms, basements, and everywhere else because, “He hit me…She touched me…I hate her…He bit me…”
Solution: Stop allowing children to be in the same space playing with their toys and electronics for hours on end especially without parental supervision. Place them in separate areas of the residence for a time where they can play with favorite toys without watchful siblings and then rotate.
Parents who are easily frustrated and short-tempered are simply not the best teachers and one who recognizes this about a parent shouldn‘t leave children with this person especially for long periods of time. Selfish parents with various mental disorders are usually irritable when in the presence of children. Most can pick up on an adult’s tension. You will notice the change in your child’s behavior when he or she starts to act strangely around certain individuals--don’t ignore the signs! Many children know when they are not liked very much. This is why some will cry, fuss and whine if you should drop them off with troubled relatives.
When you know mom, dad or both can’t handle their children, say something, offer assistance, direct them to some help, and most of all (for those who have a faith) pray for them. Avoid leaving children with relatives and friends who have very little patience and time to watch them. Don’t bring children to events when you know that they are challenge to watch. Otherwise, you will only make others irritated with you and your misbehaving children.
If you know that your children are driving you up the wall, it is time to put yourself on vacation. Share your issues with those who can help you personally and professionally. Whatever you do, don’t take out your misery on a child who didn’t ask to be in this world. God bless.
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