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What to Do When Kids Push Your Buttons

What to Do When Kids Push Your Buttons

When kids act up, it’s a parent’s job to guide them through the difficulty. But kids’ trouble often pushes parents’ buttons. Need for control? Push. Desire for quick fixes? Push. Anxiety about what’s gonna happen with this demanding kid? Push. Inconvenient timing? Push.

The kids get treated as if they’re the only ones in trouble — but in fact, their parents are in trouble too. It’s a different kind of trouble. Harder to solve. But trouble nonetheless.

The trouble parents get in when their buttons get pushed is that their anger exposes the areas of their lives where sin still has a hold. And no one likes that feeling of being exposed. The impulse is to put the blame on the kids to deflect attention from their own faults. But something inside the kids knows this isn’t right. They know that mom or dad needs some work too. They can’t give it words. They just know. So they keep pushing buttons.

But in families that grow through the difficulties, this constant, persistent button pushing helps parents eventually understand the trouble they’re in. And once parents understand what’s really going on under the surface, they can begin the hard work needed to understand those buttons and hold onto the “truth that sets us free.


As this happens, parents learn to better honor their kids and gracefully guide them through difficulty. And those buttons begin to cool down or even disappear:

  • Need for control? Truth: “I can be okay when my child is not.”
  • Desire for quick fixes? Truth: “This is a process, aimed at long-term growth.”
  • Anxiety about what’s gonna happen with this demanding kid? Truth: “God gives grace for today and has a plan for our tomorrows.”
  • Inconvenient timing? Truth: “There’s an opportunity for growth hidden in this inconvenience.”

Are you in trouble?

Do some hard work.

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Jim Jackson
Jim Jackson
Articles: 127