I don’t know a lot about parenting. What I DO know, I usually learned by messing something up. So if you want to know how to frustrate your kids, I’m your girl! You can trust me that these 6 ways to frustrate your kids are SUREFIRE. Want to tick your kids off at a cellular level and create a hostile home environment? Here you go. You’re welcome.
1. Tell them you’re doing something exciting and then wait an hour to do it.
Kids don’t have the best concept of time. If you’re planning to do something exciting, don’t tell them an hour (or even twenty minutes) beforehand unless it takes them that long to get ready. A little prep time is okay, but kids get excited then can’t figure out what to do with their energy while they wait. Then they get in trouble. A little patience is a good thing, but don’t exhaust your kids by getting them excited about something you aren’t ready to do yet. (If you’ve ever told your kids you’re going to Disney World a month ahead of time, you know what I’m talking about.) But teaching delayed gratification when they are getting older is a great idea, so here are some tips.
2. Tell them you have to leave a fun place (or stop an activity) immediately without time to process it.
This tip is the flip side of the first. Kids shouldn’t have too much time before an exciting event just as they also need time to process that exciting event ending. Give a five minute warning before you leave the playground. Tell them they can throw the frisbee five more times. Set a timer. Or count to ten, as this post from Beauty Through Imperfection suggests.
3. Don’t follow through when you say you will do something.
This goes two ways: if you don’t follow through with discipline OR if you don’t follow through with promises. We need to establish trust and keep it with our kids, whether that is telling them we will leave a playground if they don’t obey or telling them we will go to their favorite restaurant for dinner. Yes, sometimes plans change. We can’t be consistent all the time. But we should strive to keep our word. Read these 7 things that happen when we don’t.
4. Make too many rules.
Ever found yourself saying no all day long? With toddlers, this can be easy. I’ve found myself saying things I never expected. Like: Don’t drink the toilet water! Don’t poke the dog with a light saber! You can spend the whole day saying no. (And you might need to sometimes.) But at the same time, kids need to explore. They need freedom to be KIDS. Be practical and reasonable: don’t set your kids up to fail by having a house full of breakable things within reach and ask them not to break things. Try these tips from Motherhood.
5. Make too few rules.
Your kids need boundaries, structure, and routine. They do. That doesn’t mean they have to be mini-marines, but it is a healthy thing for your children to have rules and expectations that are clearly laid out and reasonable. There is a safety that comes from structure. Don’t believe me? Believe Dr. Mom.
6. Be halfway engaged when you spend time with your kids.
You know what I mean. Checking your phone every time it dings or buzzes, even if you’re reading to your kids. Playing Candy Crush while playing with them. Reading a blog post at meal time while you let your kids watch a movie. Hm—these are all electronic things. Not a coincidence. But also not the only way you can be distracted while hanging with your kiddos. I find myself moving from one task to another during the day. Yes, I may have piles of laundry up to my ears, but it will still be there in the morning. (I’ve tried this! It’s true.) But if I’m listening to those older and wiser than me, time flies. Soon, my first baby will be starting Kindergarten. WAIT THAT HAPPENED. If you want some tips to be fully engaged and without electronics, check this post from Engaged Marriage.
Raising our little ones is difficult enough without getting in your own way. Frustrate them, frustrate yourself. It’s a LOT easier than you think. And did you know the Bible even tells parents not to frustrate their children? Yup. Right after it tells children to obey their parents. (Ephesians 6:4) I hope these 6 ways to frustrate your kids that I learned the hard way will help you learn the easy way.
Like this post? Try these tips to kindle your child’s adventurous spirit!