Obnoxious Kids and How to Handle Them

obnoxious What makes an obnoxious kid.

We’ve all been around obnoxious kids. Sometimes they are our own kids, and sometimes they belong to someone else. Sometimes, if we’re honest, we’ve been the obnoxious kid.

The easiest thing to do is turn them off, tune them out, ignore them, or tell them how obnoxious they are – directly or subtly. Any way you slice it, obnoxious kids are not fun to be around.

You know what I think? I think we do them a disservice by just writing them off. Shamefully, we place our focus on their behavior instead of on their hearts or their minds.

Sometimes kids are obnoxious because they’re so smart and their minds are miles ahead of ours. They have information they want to share, information they feel everyone else must know. They might be oblivious and not even realize how they come across to others, and they only want to have friends who understand how they think.

Sometimes kids are obnoxious because they’re just plain insecure. They don’t get the attention or the positive strokes every child needs for his self-esteem to be healthy. This can relate to birth order or the temperament of the child. Sometimes insecurities are actually the neglect of the parents, and sometimes events trigger insecurities in kids when no one is aware.

Sometimes kids are obnoxious because they always get their way. They expect everyone to cater to their whim and fancy because that’s how they are raised. That’s a hard one to swallow, especially if you’re the parent who gives in because you don’t want a scene or a tantrum.

How to handle obnoxiousness

As adults, it’s too easy to write off the kid and not look deeper at what is happening inside. Sometimes we can’t even figure out what is happening, but most times, if we take time and ask God for wisdom, it will be clear to us.

It’s easier to love a kid when he is pleasant, kind, and cooperative. Yet, the unpleasant child is often the one who needs the most attention and most positive strokes. Remember that when you’re tempted to write off an obnoxious kid.

Look deeper, beyond the obnoxiousness, to what might be going on inside. It doesn’t mean you must cater to and give in to every whim. It does mean you show patience and acceptance for the child even when you find him unpleasant. He will know how you feel about him, so don’t fake a pleasant response. Be real and pay attention. The more true attention he gets, the less he will demand it all day long.

Circumvent catastrophes and unpleasantness by planning ahead. When you know an obnoxious kid is going to be a problem at an event or in an assignment, plan a roadblock he won’t recognize as such. Make him change course by how you plan ahead and he won’t even know it happened.

obnoxiousPlanning ahead with an obnoxious child

I did that, one weekend. Dave was going out of town and the idea of five meals alone with my five kiddos was unbearable because I had an obnoxious four-year-old who thought he was in charge right next to his parents. He as much as said so, and (had we let him) ruled the conversation at every meal. I did not want to spend meal times handling conflict from his self-imposed opinions and thoughts to his older siblings while caring for a two-year-old and a newborn. 

I recognized that this kid was smart and that, by visiting neighbors on our side street, his self-importance was inflated. These senior citizens doted on this four-year-old who could talk politics with them when he knew nothing about politics (they told me so). In addition, he could talk circles around his five and seven-year-old brothers. He developed this ability in an effort to make up for his lack of physical prowess compared to theirs. He could not run as fast as they, but he made up for it by out-talking, oh yes he did!

That weekend, we had “story time” at every meal. This kid loved to be read to, as did his siblings. Each mealtime I came prepared with a stack of books. Once the food was on everyone’s plate, I read, and everyone listened. I think those were the quietest meals we ever had in our house. Instead of bickering, arguing and discord, there was harmony. I circumvented chaotic mealtimes by implementing story time at mealtimes, just for this weekend.

Instead of putting out fires, I read. Rather than staying on my toes to prevent eruptions at mealtimes, they listened to story after story. Instead of accusing with, “Since you can’t eat without causing a commotion, you’re going to have to be quiet so I can read while you eat,” I introduced story time as something fun and different.

Adult responsibility with obnoxious kids

Whether you’re the parent, grandparent, babysitter, or teacher, you are the one responsible to negate explosions from obnoxious kids. Begin with a good attitude and recognize that one day, most kids outgrow that stage. Our child did. In time, he became popular with his teachers and peers. I know that none of them would have believed we could possibly have experienced difficult days with this charmer.

Help obnoxious kids find their way by providing security and love, and giving strokes instead of strikes when appropriate. Recognize that your responses will set the tone for the day or the year – and sometimes for a life. Don’t withhold affirmation because you are frustrated the evening before or even hours before. Rise above the obnoxiousness and find ways to channel the good in the child. You might not be able to change the world, but you can change lives, one obnoxious child at a time.

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