Parents & Frustration – Part 1

Posted on December 10, 2011

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Why do parents become frustrated with their children?  Warning…this article is not filled with excuses to help parents justify their own personal issues and frustrations they have towards raising children.  In fact, this article will attempt to remove any and all excuses parents make for themselves and each other for difficulties they experience as a result of having children.

Children can be difficult; especially when patience is wearing thin.  Whining, screaming, crying, tattle-tailing, spilling, pushing, shoving, ignoring, asking, and behaving in ways contrary to our words has been known to incite anger in adults; especially when you are a parent.  As a preliminary reference point, and while some children are worse than others,  we can assume that none are born without the need for behavioral guidance and support.

So what is so frustrating to us as parents?  Could it be our expectations?  Is it a secret that children whine, cry, tell on each other, spill things, and test all the boundaries of anything and everything?  No…I think the word is out on that one.

Perhaps we are frustrated by our lack of control.  When kids don’t listen or break the rules, there should not be frustration because that is how they test their boundaries.  But shouldn’t that frustration be towards Mother Nature for making children all this way?  Also, weren’t we all children before we became parents?  I am sure we all tested our boundaries to some degree, but what gives us the right to expect anything less from our own children?  The answer you ask…Nothing!

The fact is that Mother Nature makes everybody unique the same way.  We all test our boundaries, but we do it in unique ways.  We all want to connect with other people, but we connect with different people in different ways.  In the end however, there is but one goal inherent to all of us that varies only in degree…and that is control.  We want to know what is going to happen.  Even though we may not be able to control what happens, all of us desire to understand cause and effect.  Some are more concerned with today while others have a greater concern for tomorrow.  Therefore, depending on your own comfort level with uncertainty, you will look to control as many things as possible while testing your own boundaries.  This holds true for every person at every age.

Confusion occurs when expectation is misaligned with perception.  However, frustration begins to surface when confusion is met with fear…specifically, the fear of ones inability to control something they want.  In other words, parents experience frustration not because of our child’s behavior, but because we are afraid of our inability to control the behavior of our children.  As such, the problem is us…not them.

Posted in: Bad Parents