An Annoying Child


One of my dear children, and I refuse to say who, is going through a bit of a phase at the moment. This child, though still sweet and loving and wonderful, has picked up some habits lately that I’m not so proud of and in the process become a tad… annoying.

I know, I know, it’s as hard to write as it was to read. This is my own flesh and blood, for crying out loud! It’s so very wrong to admit it, but it’s true. (And, tad was a complete understatement. This child is annoying with a capital A.)

We’ve been ignoring the behavior, hoping it quickly passes and brushing it off as a phase. What else are we supposed to do? The kids grew out of pooping in the tub and out of control pacifier habits and eating nothing but grilled cheese sandwiches, so this must be same kind of thing… right? Lately, however, the possibility has hit me and it’s hit me hard: Maybe it’s not just a phase. Maybe I’m actually raising an annoying child. It’s a horrific thought.

As parents, we work so hard to instill common sense, basic knowledge, and core values in our offspring, but what about their personalities? Is one of our most important jobs really making our children as likable as possible? I’m beginning to think it might be.

I’ve started picturing all of the unbelievably annoying adults I know and realizing that likely their parents are to blame. Parents just like me who naively assumed that the annoying habits would disappear, but instead, they stuck around forever. The children with mildly annoying habits became those horribly annoying adults who nobody ever wants to be around. The overachievers, the center of attentions, the loud eaters, the incessant question askers, the ones who always have to win, the ones who can’t make a decision… All of those horrible habits could have been derailed by well intentioned parents not wanting to overreact.

Well, I may not be able to teach my kids how to dance and they certainly won’t benefit from my mathematics skills, but I’ll do my best to make them likable, dammit. Annoying phases are one thing, but annoying people with my DNA? That’s just unthinkable. Now, I just need to come up with a plan of action, but I know one thing for sure: Things are about to change around here. It’s the least I can do for them.

OK, for me.


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  1. 1

    Jennifer says

    I’m pretty sure my child has annoying in her DNA. She’s a “joker.” (aggravator, picker, teaser) She gets it from her dad. I battle with do I try to change her or or do I just let her be who she is. Right now I’m going with let her be who she is while trying to teach her that everyone doesn’t appreciate that particular personality quirk. (that was the weirdest sentence ever)

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  2. 2

    Angela says

    My daugher has been saying “shitty” for about three weeks. All the time when she gets mad. she is four. Tried ignoring it, time out etc. Nothing is working. It is getting bad and embarassing!!!!

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    • 4

      Karlas says

      My younger brother thought it was funny to teach my son the word “shit” when he was about 3. We had the hardest time breaking him of it until one day out of frustration I blurted out “that he should take his potty talk into the bathroom” (we tried time outs, took toys away nothing worked). We started allowing the potty words as long as he said them only in the bathroom. He got into the habit of running to the bathroom and spilling out “shit, shit, shit, god damn it!!” After awhile it stopped. I think once it was not taboo it was not fun. (I was so relived because I was sure he would be expelled from his first day of kindergarten for cussing in the bathroom).

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    • 6

      Headacheslayer says

      Soap. The most organic out there (or hey you could take your chance with LifeBuoy–a la Christmas Story). I would make my daughter hold it in her mouth–not just for cussing but for being very rude in the way she talked. Used it a few times, and it worked.

      For those who think it’s abusive, WTF-ever.

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      • 7

        Amber says

        I’ve done the same when my kids used curse words. After the first time of doing it they didn’t curse again. In my experience the longer you “overlook” or “ignore” the issue the longer it takes to break it.

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        • 8

          Headacheslayer says

          Whew, thanks for replying to my comment. Even here I was worried about being honest. Too many people cry abuse when parents are taking a strict position on discipline.

          Now 16, my daughter uses curse words appropriately and NEVER in the prescence of relatives. But my son is a little less restrained so we’re more strict. I’ve threatened him with soap and that’s been enough ;)

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    • 10

      Kellom says

      My kids have not had a prob with cussing so I have not faced it, but I cussed once infront of my parents and once only. My mother tanned my hide! Now there is nothing wrong with time outs in gen and I would try that 1st, but if a kid knows they will be spanked they behave better. at least for the most part.

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  3. 11

    Jessica says

    Oh God, do I know this well. My 7 year old questions EVERYTHING and when I answer her I am wrong – ANNOYING! If you figure out how to change these annoying traits, please let me know.

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  4. 12

    Heather says

    My daughter has been using the word “Facebook” to replace the more obvious swear word and when I tell adults about this they think it’s cute and now I hear the word Facebook at work all day. Not a way to encourage a child at all but it’s getting annoying.

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  5. 14

    Jacki says

    My ten year-old son has been especially annoying lately. And he is doing it on purpose. He says he is preparing me for when he is a teenager. I think if this is what he is going to be like, I may just let his dad have custody in 3 years.

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  6. 16

    Angel_DWMW says

    I’ll take “annoying” if you take “rude.” My oldest has developed a habit of being rude and just plain mean — not just to his little brother (toward whom we would expect such behavior), but also to his teacher! Despite the consequences, he continues. So, please, Trade with Me. I’ll be happy to take annoying.

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  7. 18

    Isla Cunningham says

    You are hilarious and oh so right!! We should all try a little harder to raise likable children and stop offending with our DNA. This is a lesson in evolution and I love it! Good luck!

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  8. 20

    Carrie says

    Maybe that annoying stuff is a learned trait.

    I think I might have it. And I’m cool with that.

    Anytime it’s not going my way, I can get pretty annoying till whatever it is goes my way. Especially if I’m responsible for it.

    Not everyone calls it ‘annoying’ though. I’ve heard it referred to as ‘bitchiness’, too.

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    • 21

      cc says

      I’m cool with that too, as long as you keep your douche bag-i-ness away from me. I for one make a point to stay far away from people who tend to suck the joy out of life. Who needs them?

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  9. 23

    Theda says

    SO glad to know I’m not the only one. But terrified, just like you are, that it’s not just a phase. My daughter is 6.5. I won’t admit the annoying things she does. LIke the other mother said, if you figure out a way to stop this, please inform us.

    I decided it’s the kids at her school, not me. So I kept her home one day as punishment to get her back on track. She did do better the rest of that week. Being at home all day with just me is NOT her idea of fun. That’s my current plan. Threaten her with staying with me all day…she gets so bored with me that she literally cries.

    Good luck to us all, and if we fail, good luck to society when they encounter our annoying kids.

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  10. 24

    Kelly says

    I know kids with multiple symptoms, you described and their parents think they are raising “fabulous” kids. Problem is, the parents are just as annoying as the kids and think they are “fabulous” too. I tell my 11 year old that there’s a difference between funny and annoying and when she (and my husband too,for the matter) reaches annoying, I call them on it and then ignore it, it usually goes away and the episodes are few and farther in between.

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  11. 27

    Stephanie says

    I give the whole thing no power. Seems to work everytime with my daughter. Best parenting tacticI have when they are acting out. I do believe annoying adult get it from their parents.

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  12. 29

    lynne kemmer says

    holy mother of god (old Irish expression) my 5 yr old has e*v*e*r*y annoying habit you mentioned except eating loudly [replace with talking, more like spitting, with mouth full]

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  13. 30

    Arnebya says

    I try to ignore too but sometimes my face balls up and I can’t unball it. It is hard to admit. I don’t even want to admit it, but here I am: I have one too. I won’t say which, but I am fairly certain that it is unconscious for her. If she were to read what I just wrote, she would not immediately think that I was talking about her. Oh, but I am. And it’s been going on for a while, but is intermittent. It’s brought out at the most inopportune times and isn’t constant. But when it’s shown OH HELL NO. Let’s us have ourselves a lil’ talk.

    But I will say this: our kids can simply be tenacious little creatures and no matter how hard we try to counteract they will do what they will do.

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  14. 31

    Adrian says

    Yes, I have one of those too. Maybe two of them. The interesting thing is with kids nearly 10 years apart is that I can see how the story plays out, especially when they have nearly identical personalities. People say their kids are like day and night. Not mine. Mine are like afternoon and later that afternoon. My 13 year old will interrupt you at any and all times of the day or night. It doesn’t matter if you are sleeping, reading, on the phone, watching TV, or in the bathroom. If he has something important enough on his mind, he WILL bother you – and he won’t give up unless you physically make him leave the room. I count that as a VERY annoying habit. Sadly, my 23 year old is almost the same way. He knows enough not to bother me in the bathroom or when I’m sleeping, but any other time is fair game. The good news is they probably will make fabulous sales people, so they can support me in my old age (which is scheduled for next week!). The bad news is that with these two around, I can’t get a moments peace, ever in my life!

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