Wound Up Parent Syndrome (WUPS)

by Sarah Cottrell
Originally Published: 
A girl is hysterically crying while trying to mix a pot with meat whose parent is experiencing wound...
Image via Shutterstock

WOUND UP PARENT SYNDROME (WUPS): A state in which a parent is flustered by her/his children to the point of wanting to scream, run away, speak in tongues, send the offending child to Abu Dabi to live with Nermil, or drink. This generalized condition of parental disbelief is often characterized by boiling blood, pulsing veins in the forehead, premature gray hair, a complete loss for words, exhaustion, and an acute and comprehensive existential crisis.

Causes may include but are not limited to the following parental experiences and situations:

1) Children asking the question, Why? Continuously for more than 30 minutes.

2) Child claiming to have claws after watching Wild Kratts and makes 173 attempts to use them on people, furniture, the car, food, the table, laundry piles, and Mom or Dad’s butt as she/he walks out of a room.

3) Children demanding snacks because they are hungry even though they refused to eat breakfast/lunch/dinner citing a feeling of fullness and which occurred less than 10 minutes ago.

4) Sibling bickering.

5) Sibling jealousy.

6) Sibling rivalry.

7) Siblings. Period. (Holy Shit.)

8) Intentionally making weird or gross sounds with their mouths that include licking, clucking, smacking, sucking, or repetitive popping.

9) A child who is running – generally stark naked – while simultaneously making loud siren sounds and does not stop even after the ominous 1, 2, 3 warning.

10) Sass talk.

11) Sass talk during timeout.

12) Sneaking out of timeout.

13) Telling Mom or Dad that timeout is stupid.

14) The sudden inability to follow directions during bedtime.

15) Using Mom’s lipstick as a marker in Mom’s brand new book that just arrived from Amazon two hours ago.

16) Using a Sharpie to draw tiger stripes on his own face right before Mom needed to get him to the dentist.

17) “Accidentally” “Spilling” “Only a little bit” of chocolate milk on the couch because “the dog really likes it!”

18) Screeching, begging, shouting, yelling, crying, fighting, whining, loud talking, or leg pulling that is apparently triggered only by the ringing of a telephone.

19) Refusal to get into a car seat.

20) Refusal to take a bath.

21) Refusal to eat.

22) Refusal to do anything that Mom or Dad has requested, demanded, or irrationally begged of the child.

Immediate treatment through a traditional parental holistic approach is recommended. Commonly cited therapies include the following:

1) Date Night.

2) Eating large amounts of ice cream, popcorn, chips, or chocolate while in solitude.

3) Drinking wine in the bathtub after the kids have gone to bed. Include the use of bubbles, magazines, Candy Crush, and candlelight for full effect.

4) Venting on a parenting blog site.

5) Excessive swearing out of earshot of the children.

6) Blaming the spouse, society, or the grandparents for creating such monsters.

7) Repeating the mantra this is just a phase.

While the phenomenon of Wound Up Parent Syndrome is widely reported, cases vary greatly based on individual experience. It is the view of this researcher that parents approach their children with humor, benefit of doubt, and a healthy respect for guilt-free hoarding of all the chocolate while hiding in the laundry room or pantry.

Advanced stages of WUPS are often expressed as early symptoms of Empty Nest Syndrome. It is not uncommon for the complication of Mid-Life Crisis to be diagnosed within the later stages of this complex and often misunderstood diagnosis. For more information please refer to Appendix A, which outlines the various ways in which parents express their rage through poor hygiene and clothing choices.

Related post: The Badges of Motherhood

This article was originally published on