Learn how to deal when your child is annoying
Annoying kid in school

Do you hear from parents, teachers or other children that your child disrupts activities or bothers others? It can be a tough pill to swallow, but the best solution is to help your child develop better social skills.

What to do when your child annoys peers

When someone says your child is annoying, it’s OK to feel defensive or even angry. Once you’re done reacting, step back and work on ways to help your child correct his behavior and improve his social skills.

Come up with a gentle way to alert your child

Mom Sherri Kuhn recommends frequently modeling appropriate behavior, especially before social gatherings. ”It helps to have a ‘signal’ with some kids that is a sly way to let them know they are being annoying,” she says. ”Then you aren't calling them out in front of others, but they can change their behavior.” Many kids genuinely don’t know they’re being annoying, and a simple reminder can help. It’s OK to let your child know that her behavior is annoying, but don’t talk to her about it in front or others or in an embarrassing way. Be blunt but gentle.

Talk about feelings in basic terms

If your child struggles with understanding emotions, start with basic terms. You can slowly build your child’s vocabulary as she develops more nuanced language about feelings. Using a chart or book with basic facial expressions may help for younger kids who are having trouble grasping concepts like annoying, embarrassed or frustrated. Some kids don’t respond well to explanations. When that’s the case, try to suggest appropriate behaviors instead of explaining why the inappropriate ones are annoying. Always verbally praise appropriate behavior.

Learn about raising a sensitive child >>

Get support from teachers and experts

When your child frequently annoys other kids or adults, it can be a frustrating, puzzling situation. Some children do it for attention, while others aren’t aware that they’re being annoying. As a parent, you may not have all the answers. That’s OK. Reach out to your child’s teachers and guidance counselor. In some cases, your child may benefit from an evaluation with a speech-language pathologist or child behavior specialist.

Read more about when it stops being cute: Behaviors you should nip in the bud >>

Work with your child’s needs

Some developmental and cognitive issues in children directly affect behavior, especially in social settings. If your child has special needs, develop social strategies related to those needs. Dr. Jeffrey Deutsch is a speaker and life coach. He has Asperger's syndrome and founded A SPLINT — ASPies LInking with NTs. ”Most folks pick things up by osmosis — much like your laptop or smartphone gets automatic updates,” he says. ”Aspies more often need to be told things — including awkward stuff like ‘Please let the other person go back a step or two from you,’ ‘Please don't stare’ and ‘Please use inside voices inside.’” Offer guidance in basic, direct ways.

More on child behavior

Nervous about school or true separation anxiety?
Signs your child is (or isn't) ready for preschool
Managing ADHD without medication


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Comments on "Help! My kid is annoying"

Lauralee Hensley September 19, 2013 | 2:01 PM

My step-son was the perfect angel when we were out in public, just annoying and a brat at home. Then when he grew up and went to live on his own I guess he just had to be annoying somewhere, so that perfect angel was too annoying to his bosses more than once. I think he's finally figured out how to behave now that he's been knocked down a pew pegs in life a couple of times. Sometimes hitting bottom is the best teacher. You can raise them right. You can go to family counseling if you're having problems at home or for some school, but if the individual (even a child I feel) doesn't want to change they won't. They have to figure out on their own eventually (because I feel you can try to tell or alert them kindly, but if they want they'll still turn off and tune out even kind communication) what they are doing that triggers negative reactions in other people and then have to truly desire to want to change. So, if your child doesn't have a physical health problem or a mental health problem, then sometimes I think it is best to let them suffer the negative effects (such as staying after school, principals office, etc.) of their behavior rather than shielding them from such. Better I personally think for them to learn early rather than having to learn as an adult. My husband would always be a break point and not let his son as a child have punishments for bad behavior. So the behaviors at home just continued to get worse. I felt our son was looking for his Dad to put boundaries, but he didn't. My suggestions were ignored, except when I put my foot down about needing family counseling. We went. It was useless, my husband and step-son just played mental games with the counselor who didn't see any problems and told us to give our son a car. The problems just got worse because once again NO BOUNDARIES, NO LIMITS. So unfortunately step-son grew up, moved out and had to learn life lessons as an adult rather than as a child. So, yes, he's lost more than one job, because he didn't want to follow rules or schedules. However, now I think he's got it together.

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