The Secret to Making your Kids less Frustrating

#parenting



If you are reading this, it’s most likely because you have dealt with frustrating children.


Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was some magic word that would make them less frustrating??


Well, it’s not a magic word, but there is a solution!

Perhaps some of these thoughts have gone through your mind:


When will they grow up and stop acting like children?

I can’t handle any more questions today!

Please let me read my article in peace!

I am not responding to the name ‘Mom’ for the rest of the day.

WHY is there mud all over the bathroom sink?


Some of these thoughts, or others like them, may have even come out of your mouth or been evidenced by your facial expressions. I can relate! Children are childish by definition, and we adults can easily become annoyed by the ways in which their childishness portrays itself.

I’m sure you’re ready to hear the solution, but first, the problem needs to be clearly identified.


As already pointed out, children are childish by definition. God designed them that way! They learn by playing, doing messy things, and asking questions. They are dependent on you to answer their questions and help them take care of their problems. They need you. They need to be children.


Although I’m sure we parents understand that truth in theory, we sometimes act like either we don’t believe it or we wish it weren’t true. We can easily tire of cleaning up after them on top of answering all their questions on top of resolving their arguments on top of dealing with whining on top of caring for their basic needs and on and on. It can be draining and . . . frustrating.


{Let me pause here to say that I firmly believe that we need to teach our children to allow us peace and quiet at times. But applying the solution presented below will also afford a measure a peace even in the noise!}


Sadly, we can fall into the habit of excusing our annoyance with our kids’ constant questions or needs, blaming our frustration on their behavior, and not recognizing it as the sin it is.

That’s right. That’s the real problem.


Our own sin.


The frustration that accompanies having to raise our children is born out of our own sinful hearts. Let’s look again at some of the thoughts from earlier.


“When will they grow up and stop acting like children?” In other words, “I don’t want to deal with their childishness anymore. I want them to be responsible and mature so I can spend my time doing other things.”


“Please let me read my article in peace!” In other words, “I want to spend this time on myself, and you are an interruption.”


WHY is there mud all over the bathroom sink?” In other words, “My idea of a well-kept home has just been ruined. Now I have to spend more of my time cleaning up an unnecessary mess.”


I’m sure you get the point. There are a lot of I’s, me’s, and my’s in the unspoken meanings behind our words. Our frustrated responses to our kids’ behaviors show our selfishness. We cannot blame our children. As I have told my kids many times, we are each responsible for our own reactions and attitudes.

Now that the real problem has been identified as a sin issue in our own hearts, we can recognize that the solution has to do with our attitudes and not with our children’s behavior. It’s simply this:


See your children as Jesus sees them.


So how does He see them?


He loves them.

God is love (1 John 4:8). He loves unconditionally, which means that it doesn’t matter if we deserve it or not. His is a selfless love. God shows the same unconditional love to every person, child and adult alike. He showed His love not only by providing a way of salvation for us (1 John 4:9-10), but He also cares about our worries (1 Peter 5:7), sees our tears (Psalm 6:6-8), and listens to every complaint (Psalm 62:8). Seeing our children through God’s eyes of love will change how we respond to them. We will listen to their questions with an appreciation for their curiosity, comfort every tear with a sympathetic heart, and selflessly care for their daily needs, all while recognizing that their souls are precious in God’s sight.

I could stop with that one point, as I believe it can be applied to every situation, but here are a few more specific thoughts.


He welcomes them.

In Mark 10, little children were brought to Jesus, but His disciples tried to turn them away. Do you think maybe the disciples were annoyed with the children, that at the very least, they thought Jesus’ time would be better spent on adults? But Jesus was displeased with the disciples’ response, and He welcomed the children, even picking them up in His arms! I believe He gladly gave them His full attention. How often do our children feel that they have to fight for our attention as we scroll through social media or read an interesting article?


He is compassionate.

Compassion, more specific than the broad term “love”, is concern for meeting a person’s need. Jesus’ compassion is evident throughout the Gospels. Matthew 14 recounts one of those times. Jesus had just been told that his cousin John the Baptist had been executed, and He went away to a “desert place apart”. We know Jesus experienced grief when His friend Lazarus died, and I think we can assume He was grieving John’s death. But the multitudes followed Him there. Instead of turning them away, He had compassion on them. Not only did He heal many who were sick, He miraculously fed over 5,000 people. Can you imagine how many hours that took? Does this situation sound familiar? Perhaps you are tired or just received some distressing news, and the kids come looking for you to help them with homework, kiss their boo-boos, or give them another snack. Yes, we do need time to rest, but we must look on our children’s needs with Jesus’ compassion.


He has eternity in view.

This is the thought that most helped me in dealing with my frustration over accidents and spills. When it rains, it pours, and when a child spills his drink at breakfast, five more drinks are bound to be spilled before lunch! But God knows that a cup of spilled milk isn’t going to upset the balance of the universe, although my immediate reaction might lead one to think otherwise. He knows that the plate currently sitting in pieces on the floor wouldn’t have lasted forever, even if I act in that moment like life will never be the same again. God sees beyond this earth, beyond these temporary possessions. We need to have the same outlook, and our children should see it in our reactions.


Conclusion


Instead of searching for some secret way to make our kids act more adult-like, we need to take a look into our own hearts to see what might need changed. Selfishness is always lurking there, waiting for a chance to reveal itself in our reactions. We need to learn to recognize it and allow Jesus to overcome it, letting His selfless love overflow into how we act toward our children.