Dear Moms: Don’t Take Your Kids’ Behavior Personally

I spent a generous portion of my first 16 years of parenting letting my kids’ annoying traits (um…) annoy me.

Many days were filled with tension headaches and pleas to God for help — sometimes through tears after locking myself in my room. Those years were m.i.s.e.r.a.b.l.e. In the mornings, the thought of getting out of bed to relive another stressful day with the kids that seemed to be playing on repeat made me want to hibernate until they all grew up a bit (or a lot). Having kids with special needs and a few with strong “leadership skills” only exacerbated the situation.

Why was this so hard?

I have a big bunch of kids — yes. We were struggling with some individual behavioral issues — yes. There’s only one of me — yes. But really, did it have to be this difficult?

There had to be something that could help alleviate life as we knew it. Even though my daydreams said otherwise, I knew a nanny, running away, or a vacation wouldn’t solve anything, so I began to pray and truly seek God about it.

The answer the Lord helped me see was one I think I knew all along: I was taking my kids’ behavior personally.

I was reacting to them as if their sole mission in life was to see how annoying they could possibly be and how crazy they could make me.

It took me a decade and a half to realize it doesn’t have anything to do with me at all.

My kids are their own beings who are learning to wield their gifts, conquer their sin, and who need loving and grace-filled guidance as they do so. I’m a work in progress and so are they.

It has helped for me to detach myself from their behavior and give consequences from a place of mercy rather than annoyance or anger. That way, I’m able to keep my emotions from becoming entangled in their issue.


I began to respond carefully to their poor choices rather than react impulsively.

Amanda Bacon
Amanda Bacon
Amanda is the mother of eight kids through birth and adoption and has been married for seventeen years to the most helpful man on the planet. She is an encouraging voice for moms everywhere through the written and spoken word. Amanda is co-creator of The Masterpiece Mom blog and podcast available on iTunes. 

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