I Get So Frustrated With My Child – Help!!!

Frustrated motherI recently had a Facebook message from a friend, who wrote:

“I'm really struggling with my son, he's 8 this next month and frankly most days I'm struggling just to not lose my cool with him. He's very aggressive, he does not handle change well, and even when he's the one that causes a problem he doesn't see his fault in the situation. He loves to pick on his sister, which I know is normal, but he ends up kicking her or hitting her or squeezing her as tight as he can. At this point, it's beyond me and I'm extremely frustrated.”

Most parents have been in this same position at one point or another. My friend is not alone, but the fact that you are not alone is no consolation for your frustration.

Why Are You Getting Frustrated?
Frustration is a precursor to anger, but it is not the same as anger. Frustration stems from our inability to control something, or from the failure of set expectations. Let us not forget that our relationships with our children are two-sided, and for every act there is a reaction. Sometimes our very frustration and subsequent response is the greatest contributor in perpetuating the frustrating behavior. Parents generally struggle most with children who display defiant, “power struggle” behaviors. The problem in a “power struggle” is that, generally, the child is just as frustrated as the parent. He thinks, “Why can’t mom see this my way?”

We need to protect ourselves from the two main causes of frustration.

Inability to Control
Focus on the things you can control, rather than the things you cannot control. It is no secret that we, as parents, cannot control our children’s behavior or attitudes; but we can control the triggers and consequences, as well as how we behave.

When parents start to get frustrated with their children’s behavior, they need to step back and evaluate what needs to change. Ask yourself, “What can I control in this situation? What can I do?” rather than asking, “What does my child need to change? How can I make him/her comply?”

Usually, parents become frustrated when several behaviors or problems have piled up over the course of a day, week, month, or year, which we have not wanted to deal with or have felt unsuccessful in dealing with. It’s important to remember to deal with the behaviors individually, rather than as a lumped group. Rather than thinking of your child as an uncontrollable, aggressive boy who doesn’t handle change well, simply deal with him hitting his sister right now. Saying things like, “You’ve been very bad today! I get so frustrated when you act like this!” is not very helpful in producing positive change. It focuses on things we cannot control. It’s more effective to deal specifically with hitting or kicking his sister, by saying, “I’m sorry you chose to hit your sister. It stinks to have to be separated, so you can’t play together.”

The parent can control the consequence of the child’s actions. It’s important to allow the consequence of your child’s actions to teach your child; and if the behavior continues, be consistent and continue to enforce. Allow the consequence to teach. Some children take longer to learn than others. The important thing is to address the behavior when needed, rather than waiting and lecturing, in order to coerce things we cannot control.


Failure of Set Expectations
Parents can evaluate their expectations for their child and the tasks at hand. Are your expectations developmentally unrealistic? Sometimes, it is our impatience that gets a child in trouble, more than the child’s defiance. If you expect a six-year-old to complete a chore independently, in the same timeframe and manner as you, you will usually be disappointed and frustrated. If we have reasonable, positive, and child-specific expectations, there is greater likelihood of our children meeting our positive expectations.

Set up your child for success, rather than challenging him/her to fail. For younger children, that often means expecting that they will need assistance from you to complete tasks or follow certain directions. It also means that we manage things that trigger common behavioral problems. We make specific plans to prevent or deal with specific behaviors occurring regularly, and consistently follow that plan.

What do you think?

I Get So Frustrated With My Child – Help!!!

Tell us what you think!


  1. Celia says:

    At the age of 8 you have to evaluate HOW LONG has this behavior been occurring. Most times the most discipline, structure, and boundaries need to be set since newborn into toddlers. Trying to nip 8 year old tantrums, aggression, and other social/emotions problems may be too late, esp on their psyche. Talk to the child, find out WHY they are behaving this way. It could be lack of essential attention from the parent. How old is the sister? Is she more than 2 years younger than him? If he is the oldest and used to being alone for a while and a new baby took his attention away, it will not be surprising that he would act out a little a time where now the sister or anyone else is a target for aggression. Communication with him like he is an adult (do not baby 8 year olds!) and seek a child therapist!

  2. nancyk says:

    My 8 year old can be quite a handful, too. There are days that I just want to scream. I think my biggest problem is that I know that she is a very smart girl, so when she does things that just seem stupid I get upset because I expect more from her. I need to remind myself (and the hubby) that she is still only a little girl, and that she will do really stupid things sometimes. It’s part of being a kid…

  3. Stephanie says:

    Everyone gets frusterated but it is all about how you handle situations that will have a lasting impression on your kids

  4. mommy nhoj says:

    We would want to be as good parents as we can be. Husband and I often talk about how should we want to raise our future kids. We want them to learn the values that we have learned

  5. LIZ says:

    it so difficult to raise kids in this days i hope i can handle mine good

  6. Kyle Gammill says:

    My daughter is 4 years old. She is a very bright, imaginative little girl who finds herself in some situations where she should get in trouble…..if there were a precedent. But you have to set the boundaries with your children early. You have to let them know when it is okay to push boundaries and when it is require that they do not. My 4 year old minds very well. We do have some issues every once in a while, which is to be expected. Sometimes these issues involve her being a little selfish. She can’t be punished for doing what comes instinctually. She can only be guided to understand that picking on her brother or teasing him is not going to bode well for her in the future. I know I brag a little in this post, but it is because I am so proud of her. She has been a huge help with her younger brother and hopefully she has taught him how to be a good brother to the new addition we have coming. Through all of this there has been a lot of frustrating situations. I can imaging that it would be difficult if she were 8 years old and behaving that way, but I think that you always need to take a calming breather and examine the situation from their point of view.

  7. Dario says:

    People don’t discepline their kids anymore? If you can’t control your 8 yr. old your going to have big problems in the future

  8. I agree, a good old fashioned whoopin’ usually straightened my brother and I right out.

  9. momof3 says:

    I’m sorry but do you know what happened to kids in my generation who did things like this article talks about we got our butts busted and for some of us it taught us to think about what we did and then we started learning hey if I act this way I will get in trouble. So all this coddling is what is wrong with kids and society today. Forget timeouts and redirection, bust the kids butt and ground them and when you ground them take their stuff so that way they can really feel and learn that they did wrong.


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