Parenting Class

This Month’s Parenting Class: When You Are Frustrated With Your Child

Have you ever heard that saying, “I love you, but I don’t really like you right now?”

That kind of stings to hear doesn’t it? But to be honest that’s a very real feeling we can have as parents. We spend so much time with our kids, and they spend a ton of time with us as well. We’re with each other so much it’s only a matter of time before we see each other at our “worst”.
Because we’re humans that means at some point we’re going to experience a very real frustration with the people we love the most. It’s one of the craziest parts of being a family.

Here are a few tips on how deal with frustration towards your child.

First, give yourself some grace. You’re only human, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling frustration. What’s wrong is allowing that frustration to turn into an unhealthy anger that leads to damaging conflict. You don’t have to beat yourself up for feeling frustration. Instead, you can recognize that your frustration is signaling you that “something needs to change”. So focus more on making a positive change than feeling guilty about feeling frustrated.

Second, it’s better to “respond” then to “react” when you feel frustrated. I know those words seem similar but there is a big difference. A reaction is quick and fueled with emotion. A reaction is slow, calm, and includes some thought. It’s so much easier to react, because that doesn’t require much discipline. To “respond” requires that we think before we speak.

This is the heart behind James 1:19, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry”

Finally, call a timeout when you need one. You might be saying to yourself, “I’d love to respond instead of react, but that doesn’t feel realistic.” The best way to respond is to give yourself a break from the intensity and emotion to take a breath and think about your response. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with taking a timeout. Just make sure to let your child our your family member know when you’ll be able to return to the conversation. You can say something like “I need to take a quick break from our conversation to calm down a bit. I’ll be back in 5 minutes to finish our conversation.” This will set a great example for your kids to follow.

Frustration in a family setting is inevitable. But screaming, yelling, and destructive conflict doesn’t have to be. Instead of feeling bad about frustration, let it cue you to take a time out and have a healthy response. This has the potential to help your family face frustration in a healthy way.

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