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6 Frustrating Things All Kids Do
(And then a few extra)

Little known fact: The 26th of February is “For Pete’s Sake”, a day commemorating all things, situations and people that make you cry out in exasperation and annoyance.

I thought, as it’s official and all, I should take the opportunity to discuss and celebrate our shared grievances.

I was racking my brains trying to come up with a universal cause of irritation, something we could all relate to… and then it dawned on me…our kids.

Now I love my children, they are a source of much joy and mirth, they are the reason I get up each morning and I would willingly crawl through an ant’s nest naked and smeared in honey if I knew it would make their lives a little easier. But let’s be honest, sometimes they really drive me to distraction.

If you feel the same way then here’s one for you. I’ve compiled a list of my favourite, children inspired, ‘For Pete’s Sake’ moments:

6 Frustrating things all kids do:

1. Clinginess

When my first-born was a wee tot I was desperate to meet other mothers and so decided to venture to the local playgroup for some socialisation. My plans were quickly thwarted by the toddler permanently attached to my side (if not to my leg) who glared at any friendly face that came within an arms length of us and insisted my attention was entirely focused on him (ahh bless!).

What to do: When this happens don’t “rip it off like a band-aid”, (tempting, but this will just make it worse). Instead, let them stay as close as they want for around 10 minutes and then gradually extricate yourself.

2. Whining

Well, I am sure this is one we can all relate to. How do they drag out each word to sound like one (very) long undulating monosyllable, a la “muuuuuuuuu-uuuuuum”?

What to do:
Rule number 1: Do not give in to whining – this will just reinforce the idea that whining works. Instead, try to model the tone you expect from your child, make sure they know what it means to “ask nicely” and praise them when they do ask politely.

3. Telling Tales

They are so good at telling you what their siblings have done, it’s a pity they don’t use this level of self-reflection – the world would be a better place.

What to do: I think the best rule is: If it’s not dangerous and no one is getting hurt, then it’s a sort-it-out-yourself problem. Combine this with repeated reminders that it is your job, not theirs to monitor their sibling’s behaviour. And remember, everyone needs their own space – so make sure they have somewhere for ‘me-time’ (apply this rule to yourself as well).

4. Picky Eating

Could they just eat the food you prepare? Is it just me, or are they completely starving right up until the point when they sit down for a meal and then mysteriously they lose their appetite?

What to do: The standard angle here is to include your children in food preparation (I often find they eat more during prep than at the table, but oh well!). A great tip is to set a timer for around 20 minutes and end the meal at this time regardless of the amount eaten.

5. Avoiding Chores

My kids’ favourite activity seems to be scattering their toys around every room of our house and then complaining loudly if I have the audacity to suggest they assist with the clean up.

What to do: Put all toys that haven’t been cleared into a large box and remove them from the playing equation, just for a few days.

6. Tantrums

My favourite! Why do they always happen in the middle of a crowded shopping centre when you have your hands full of groceries?

What to do: Above all else keep calm yourself. If you can manage this, redirection and distraction are good ploys.

Enthusiastic about this topic, I decided to delve further. A comprehensive car park poll I conducted at school pick up, elicited the following responses:
• They never flush the toilet.
• They yell across the house.
• They spill their drinks – All the time.
• They want me to “look” at something when I’m driving.
• They ruin their shoes.
• They tug at everything on me.
• They freak out over party bags.
• They never stop asking questions.
• They’re sticky.
• They wipe their hands and noses on my shirt.
• They take one bite of something and say, “I’m full!”
• They insist on reading the same book over and over again – or singing the same song, or playing the same game.
• They say: “It’s not fair”, when it jolly well is fair.

Regardless of all this (or maybe because of it) we love them to bits and they make it all worthwhile when the tell you they love you and wrap their arms around you or fall asleep in your lap or a hundred other little things they do.

But let me leave you with this: Research shows it takes at least 12 years for kids to achieve a 100% flush rate.

By the way, if you need any help with parenting issues give Wellbeing Therapy Space in Canning Vale a bell at  info@wellbeingtherapysapce.com.au

Written by Claire Mansveld (Writer, Chief Wordmith) and commissioned by Wellbeing Therapy Space.