Title: Parental Frustration


Before my wife and I had kids, I looked at parenting very differently. We would go out for dinner and there would be a family with young kids crying or misbehaving and I would think to myself,

What kind of parents would allow their kids to act like that?

I wouldn’t say that I thought I was a parenting expert, but I saw the frustration on the faces of the parents of those kids and thought, 

How hard can it be?

It seemed so easy until I actually had kids of my own. Then I realized the frustration that comes along with being a parent.

The problem is that when we get frustrated, we think of ourselves as terrible parents. That’s simply not true…it means that we are human beings. Being frustrated is part of parenting.

I found some tips on how to deal with those frustrations:

First, give yourself some grace. You’re only human, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling frustration. What’s unhealthy is allowing that frustration to turn into an anger that leads to damaging conflict. 

Second, it’s better to “respond” than 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 response 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.

“…let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” James 1:19

Finally, take a break from the conversation if you need one. As parents, we feel we need to respond immediately to everything. It is OK and healthy to tell your children that you are taking a break and you will continue the conversation later. This will help give you time to respond instead of reacting. Consider it a Parent Time Out. Frustration is inevitable, but you can help determine whether you respond in a way that is healthy and productive or react and risk saying things that you do not mean or can be hurtful to your child.

I hope these tips were helpful and encouraging. Until next time…

Your partner in ministry,

Jeff Brown
Family Life Pastor