I have a problem. It goes like this. My wife will be pointing out something my kids need to finish. It’s often about chores. I’ll overhear my wife and kids talking and then I’ll wrongly decide to pile on other things that need to be done. Tonia will point out that the girls need to finish folding their laundry. I’ll jump in and say they also need to get their room clean—and quick! Not only is it the wrong time, but it also annoys my kids. It’s a bad habit that I’m working on.
Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger…” If there is a verse I need to hear with a teen, a preteen, and a five-year-old in my home, it’s this one. Have you ever thought about the things you do that annoy your kids? What follows are some ways parents annoy their kids that you may not have thought of but that you can change. These things are your responsibility—not your children’s. Here are 9 ways you’re annoying your kids.
1. Being Inconsistent With Discipline
This may mean saying one thing and not carrying it out. Maybe you’re always threatening. One of the biggest ways we make this mistake is when we don’t carry out a discipline quickly after something happens. Ecclesiastes 8:11 talks about how a wrong should be disciplined quickly rather than letting it fester and get worse. The longer we wait, the more likely we are to be inconsistent. Our behavior can often create a wedge unless our rules are clear and our discipline is consistent.
2. Having Double Standards
In dealing with each child, resist the urge to have a different set of rules for one kid over another. This sets up a world where siblings feel more or less loved based on the rules you have for the other kids.One of the most powerful things you can do with your kids is admit when you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness.
3. Not Admitting You’re Wrong
One of the most powerful things you can do with your kids is admit when you’re wrong and ask for forgiveness. Matthew 7:3-5 talks about getting the log out of your own eye rather than constantly noticing the speck in another person’s eye. Model humility in your home early and often.
4. Constantly Finding Fault
Guard against constantly picking your kids apart. Proverbs 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Don’t be the dad who has his kids constantly walking on eggshells for fear of doing something wrong. You aren’t creating confident kids by always judging them.
5. Not Listening to Your Child’s Opinion
This dad will often take the neighbor’s kid’s opinion over his own kids’. Or, he’ll never listen to his kid’s side of the story. Proverbs 18:2 talks about how a fool does not delight in understanding. As a dad, it’s vital you seek understanding and want to know the truth. Don’t be quick to judge. Your kids should see you as an even-keeled person who assumes the best in them no matter what.
6. Comparing Your Child to Siblings or Other Children
This might happen at church, school, or in the community. Avoid this at all costs because it often causes division among siblings. And, depending on the comparison, it can cause a rift between you and the child involved. Comparison is not only annoying, but it ultimately leads to a performance-based life, meaning, “If I do this, then my dad will love me.”
7. Failing to Keep Your Promises
Matthew 5:37 says, “But let your ‘yes’ mean ‘yes,’ and your ‘no’ mean ‘no.’” When we say what we mean and mean what we say, our kids learn that they can trust us. I don’t know if anything creates a closer relationship than trust. Your kids will ultimately come to you for anything if they can trust you.
8. Punishing Your Kid in Public
When you do this, you rarely have the effect you think you’re having. Matthew 18:15 says that when someone does wrong to you, you go to that person and point out the issue in private. If we are constantly punishing our kids in public, we aren’t just being annoying dads, but we risk creating insecure and embarrassed kids.
9. Showing Favoritism to One of Your Kids
Don’t create an unfair environment in your house. Your home should be a place of even-handed discipline and love. James 2:1 says, “Do not show favoritism…” and as dads, we need to be careful that we aren’t doing things that show differing amounts of love, affection, or care to certain kids. Kids will often compare themselves to their siblings without us. We do not need to do anything to encourage comparison or create insecurity among our kids.
Sound off: Which of these nine things do you do the most?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “How do you feel when I ask for your opinion? How do you feel when I don’t?”