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276: Tap Into The Power of Informed Annoyance

No parent loves to admit feeling annoyed by their kids. It’s tempting to dismiss little problems, and try to ignore the frustration they cause inside us. This is extra hard if we’ve experienced gaslighting in the past. If we’ve gotten the message from partners or parents that our emotions aren’t trustworthy, it can be so easy to repeat that pattern and not trust our reactions. But if we pay attention to them, small frustrations can give us big info about what’s going on with our kiddos. And if you approach the annoying behavior with a curious, understanding mindset, you can address the root causes before they turn into bigger issues down the road.

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • A real-life example of a small annoyance that could have turned into a big deal if this Mastermind mom ignored her feelings.
  • Why it’s so important to treat a kid who’s acting out like a teammate rather than an adversary.
  • How to listen to your inner voice when it’s telling you that a little deal behavior is hinting at a bigger problem.

And much more! 

As always, thanks for listening. Head over to Facebook, where you can join my free group Mastermind Parenting Community. We post tips and tools and do pop-up Live conversations where I do extra teaching and coaching to support you in helping your strong-willed children so that they can FEEL better and DO better. If you enjoyed this episode and think that others could benefit from listening, please share it!


About Randi Rubenstein

Randi Rubenstein helps parents with a strong-willed kiddo become a happier family and enjoy the simple things again like bike rides and beach vacays.

She’s the founder of Mastermind Parenting, host of the Mastermind Parenting podcast, and author of The Parent Gap. Randi works with parents across the U.S.

At Mastermind Parenting, we believe every human deserves to have a family that gets along.


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Audio MMP 276 – Hiding Kid

[00:00:00] Randi Rubenstein: My name is Randi Rubenstein, and welcome to the Mastermind Parenting Podcast. At Mastermind Parenting, we’re on a mission to support strong-willed kids and the families that love them.

[00:00:10] Hi everyone. How are you this week? I have a topic this week I was inspired by a mom that I coached recently and she brought a topic and she said, this is really such a silly little thing. It’s nothing, but I just, it’s, it’s this thing that keeps happening and kind of annoying.

[00:00:35] And I’m not going to tell you all about that scenario because I’m actually going to share the coaching back and forth between me and her and her husband, because I think it’s such a good example of when we think something’s not, you’re like, uh, I don’t even want to waste anyone’s time. 

[00:00:55] But when we check in with ourselves, we’re like, but this thing, it’s really freaking annoying. And, we sort of gaslight ourselves like, but it’s not really a big deal. It doesn’t really matter. It’s so tiny. Other people have real issues. 

[00:01:13] And for this mom who’s in my groups where she hears people that have much bigger issues. She hears scenarios where there’s people who have teenagers that are really struggling. And this is a mom who has younger kids. I think her oldest is maybe like eight. She’s also kind of a, like, my life is so good. just like a grateful, positive, upbeat human. 

[00:01:42] And so I know when she speaks up, even though it’s something that’s a little deal, it’s something that’s bothering her. It’s something that’s causing tension. It, she’s feeling annoyed inside.

[00:01:58] And so 

[00:01:59] I was really pausing for applause for her more than anything that she spoke up, that she raised her hand, that she listened to herself, that even though this might be a tiny, itsy bitsy topic, the feelings in her body we’re not to be dismissed.

[00:02:20] When we feel annoyed with our kids and the behavior that’s annoying us never seems to get better or it’s just continuing to intensify. So we know that the way we’re handling it doesn’t seem to be working or we don’t know how to handle it. So we’re just not, you know, we’re just not handling it. When you learn to, to listen to how you feel and you don’t dismiss yourself and you don’t gaslight yourself. 

[00:02:53] Which I think it’s easy for many of us to dismiss ourselves or gaslight ourselves because chances are somewhere along the way we had feelings of annoyance or frustration or anger or whatever. And it was, you know, we experienced gaslighting. We were, somebody either tried to convince us that we shouldn’t feel that way, you know, whatever happened, we, the person that we were having the feelings around when we were younger didn’t know how to hold those feelings. 

[00:03:24] And so now, and I have done this myself over the years, like I realized only in the last few years, like I was like, wow, I was raised with a lot of gaslighting and I gaslight the shit out of myself a lot. Like, come on, settle down. It’s not that big of a deal. 

[00:03:41] But what you know, when you’re annoyed with someone, it’s hard to show up. Like it’s faking it. When you’re annoyed with someone, they know you’re annoyed with them. Like none of us are, are great actors and people can feel that energy. Like you know when you’re with someone and they’re kind of in a mood and you’re thinking, I wonder if it’s me. Because you feel their mood even when they don’t say like, look, I’m super annoyed with you. Most of us are like, I wonder if they’re annoyed with me. So when we’re annoyed with our kids, they know. They know that we’re annoyed with them. 

[00:04:17] So I thought that this little thing, right, which wasn’t such a little thing because mom feeling annoyed with her kid and there’s a behavior that is consistently showing up that is annoying her. Right? Like that is a bigger thing. 

[00:04:37] Feeling annoyed with your kid or feeling on a regular basis, like you just don’t like them or they’re getting on your nerves all the time or it’s hard to see them in a positive light. Like those feelings, they matter. They matter. 

[00:04:53] And so I thought that this might be just the thing that you needed. And if you’re dealing with little things or big things I think the main message I want to convey here is the body doesn’t lie and your body is always whispering to you. And so whatever emotion you are feeling, it is valid. And there’s more to the story. There’s something more to figure out. There’s something more to figure out. There’s a different way to either look at it. There’s something to get curious about. There’s a conversation to be had. There’s something to figure out. 

[00:05:34] So have a listen to this little teeny tiny coaching scenario with this mom. And I think you’re going to relate, I really think you’re going to relate to it. 

[00:05:47] Masterminder Diane: Evan and I have kind of a interesting question about something that keeps occurring with Charlotte, and just how we should approach the topic with her. 

[00:05:57] Charlotte likes to hide things, and it’s happened several times. I read Harry Potter with Sam at night, and one time when we were reading Harry Potter, we could not find the book. And I was like, where did it go? Where did it go? I ended up buying another first book. We couldn’t find it. I found it like months later, and she had hid it. 

[00:06:16] And, um, she hid something else of Sam’s before. Like, and we had to like use our Nest cams to like replay the footage. And then we saw Charlotte – I don’t remember what it was, it was a long time ago – take the item and like hid it. And like, we were like, okay, go look in the tent, like, based on the nest cam footage. Or she’ll hide things from Elizabeth. Today we’re looking for another item where I can’t find it. Can’t find it. Can’t find it. Something of Elizabeth’s and found it behind the couch.

[00:06:43] My hunch is that this is attention seeking behavior, or she just thinks it’s like funny or fun, but it’s like real annoying, like looking for stuff. And we’ve told her before, like, stop doing that. So I just I’m kind of going in my head. Like, okay, how can I approach this to have a productive conversation. 

[00:07:03] So, I’m thinking and tell me if this is right or what you would do. I just kind of want to pick your brain a little is, you know, have the conversation with her do the SAP. I guess see her perspective, like, you know, I noticed Charlotte, I know, you know, we noticed you’ve been hiding things. Like, I just wanted to, like, learn more about, you know, how come you’re doing that? Like, is it, fun doing that? Do you like doing that? I’m not sure. 

[00:07:24] Um, and then hear what she has to say. Active listening. Oh, okay. So, you know, you think it’s fun or maybe you’re, you know, you get jealous. I don’t know if she’d even be able to vocalize that. And then problem solved like another way, maybe that she could, whatever, you know, she says it is, that she could either get her needs met or get attention or whatever.

[00:07:41] So that’s kind of what I’m thinking, but if you have a different idea or you kind of have a hunch, like maybe she’s, this behavior is happening for a different reason, I’d love to hear it.

[00:07:53] So anyway, it’s kind of a different problem, but I’m not sure what’s behind it, but it’s like, she’s hid it like four or five things to where it’s like getting annoying. Like, we’ve been late somewhere before cause we haven’t found it. And she won’t fess up to either. Like, we’re like, Charlotte, do you know where that is? She’s like, no, no, don’t know. It’s like, oh my goodness. So anyways, silly little girl.

[00:08:11] Randi Rubenstein: Oh, kids, kids, kids. They always do something for a reason. So I want to just pause for applause at you doing your detective work. Like, I know there’s gotta be a reason. How do we get to the bottom of this? Like, how do we figure this out? You know, what need is she trying to get met? Maybe it’s attention. Hmm. I wonder what need. 

[00:08:36] So, you know, productive conversations are, it really is our roadmap for… so, you know, they’re always collaborative. When they’re truly the most productive, we find out information that we didn’t know ahead of time. 

[00:08:49] And I think 

[00:08:49] this is where many parents get it wrong. It’s almost like they use productive conversations as sort of manipulative empathy. They really don’t have empathy. They’re not really curious. They just want to make it stop. 

[00:09:06] But if we bring curiosity into it. Isn’t it interesting? Kids turn things into a game. So this has become a game of hide and go seek with objects, right? Or like, she’s creating her own little scavenger hunt. Um, there’s something gamey about this. And she’s doing it for a reason. This is where when you sit down with her, if you really aren’t charged about it, and you come into it with curiosity, who knows? Like, interesting. I’m going to sit down with her and see what I can find out.

[00:09:46] I mean, that’s the beautiful thing about little kids is when we don’t have a pretend empathetic agenda, but really it’s control and manipulation. But when we are truly curious, they will feel that authenticity. They will sense it. And they’re so literal and they’re so honest. They tell on themselves. They tell you. They’ll tell you all the things. 

[00:10:13] When we take a guess at things, it’s because we’ve got a kid that’s shut down. They’re in a defensive state. But if we have a kid that is generally connected, attached, isn’t in shutdown isn’t in freeze mode. We have, like, a kid that is in a state of being regulated in their body and the nervous system, and we sit down with curiosity. Hey, I noticed this little, hide and go seek game you keep, I don’t know, or like a scavenger hunt. Like, tell me more about that. What’s going on? 

[00:10:52] And if she’s defensive, you got to back it up, and if you truly are curious about it, you back it up and you’re like, you’re not in trouble, babe. I just noticed that you keep hiding little things or playing a little game with us, but we don’t realize you’re playing a game. 

[00:11:12] And then, you know, games are supposed to be fun. It ends up not being that fun, but I want to understand more about this game. Or more about, if it’s not a game, you know, why you’re doing it. I’m your mommy. You can tell me anything. You’re not in trouble. You know, you’re a creative little kid. I just want to understand this little amazing brain and how it works. That’s all. And so, see what she tells you. 

[00:11:38] And because there has been a lot of sibling rivalries, specifically between her and Sam, it very well may be, well, when Sam rents Harry Potter, you stay with him longer than you stay with me. Oh, you see, so Harry, yeah, you see, it feels unfair. You want to stay up and do those things and you were feeling maybe a little jealous? Super normal, babe. 

[00:12:09] I know you’re a sweet girl and sweet sister. You just want special time, too. Okay. You don’t have to hide Sam’s book to get your special time. Maybe it’s time that you’re growing up. Maybe you’re ready to start, you know, having us read some chapter books with you. Or maybe you want to start, I don’t know, like, you know, you just problem solve with her. what sounds fun? What sounds good? 

[00:12:38] Okay, so your bedtime is 7:30, but you want special time, what might be good? What do you think? It’s kind of rush, rush in the evening to get your body the rest that you need. What if, what if our special time reading together was at a different time during the day? How would that feel? 

[00:12:59] We’re letting our kids know, like, we can talk about anything. Everything’s figure-out-able. And you’re showing her how to get her needs met in a way that doesn’t have her being sneaky and annoying, really. Because I guarantee you girls that, or anybody that learns to get their attention needs met through being sneaky and annoying, you can translate what that looks like in middle school or upper elementary school.

[00:13:32] So this is a really good opportunity to help her learn some new skills to get her needs met. And that you’re her mama and she can talk to you about anything.

[00:13:43] Let me know if you have questions about that.

[00:13:44] Masterminder Diane: Have a quick little update for y’all. Um, my conversation with Charlotte about the hiding went really, really well yesterday. So I was happy about that. Um, you know, I approached it just kind of, you know, with curiosity and interest where she wouldn’t think she was in trouble. Just like we talked about and she said, yeah, she thinks it’s like, kind of fun to, like, hide things in a game.

[00:14:06] And I was like, oh, my gosh, like, you know, that is so fun to play a game. I love hide and go seek. That’s, you know, such a great game. Let’s think of a way. What do you think we could do? Let’s think of a way where we could hide something, but not something important like mommy’s phone where, you know, then mommy’s late where she needs to go or we can’t, you know, we have to spend money in, buying a book again that we already had instead of using that money to do something, you know, different for our family. 

[00:14:33] And so she came up with the idea on her own. She would like some rainbow yarn like a cat plays with. She said, and she wants to hide that rainbow yarn. So I was like. Great. Amazing. That’s such a good idea. Every time you can hide it, and every time I find it, I’ll think of you and laugh and smile and oh, my God, she’s so fun. How did she think of that hiding spot? That was so creative.

[00:14:55] So she ate it up with a spoon and we, uh, she wants to go with me to get the yarn. So we’re going to go to Joanne’s this weekend and pick out some rainbow yarn. 

[00:15:06] So, um, anyways, I’m glad I investigated that. It was kind of a problem that I was like, you know, I don’t is, is this Mastermind? Like, do I need to get advice on this? But it happened so much that, um, it’s just kind of a neat example of something like little that I could, like, problem solve with her. And then we’re both feeling good about it. So thank you.

[00:15:25] Randi Rubenstein: You know, what you were thinking before was like, this is really annoying. But then, your mindset shifted, like, hmm, wonder why she does this. That’s when I said, like, when we can add curiosity, but like, for real, you know, like we don’t know why. We won’t find out why until you sit with her and, and, and ask and create a safe environment for her to, tell you what was going on. And so then you guys problem solve together. 

[00:15:50] See, so, this concept of pack leadership, it really is all mindset. Because if we go into it thinking, why does she have to do annoying things like this? Like, why does she have to be difficult, or she’s constantly making us late. Or why does she have to be, you know, for somebody like me, I don’t think this would be you. Diane, because I think you’re just naturally sweeter, but I’d be like, why does she have to be such a pain in the ass? 

[00:16:15] But when we’re going into it thinking that, then that’s the energy we bring. Right. And so automatically the other human being, no matter what their age, they’re not going to feel like we’re seeing them in a positive light. They’re not going to feel like we’re on their team. And so then they’re probably going to double down, you know, and do it more or shut down or whatever it is. 

[00:16:38] And so here’s, it’s like such a teeny tiny, simple example. And it seems like such a teeny tiny, simple thing that could have grown into a much different thing if you hadn’t been able to so quickly shift your perspective and your mindset, which allowed you to show up in pack leadership energy, right?

[00:17:03] So I love simple examples like this, because let me tell you something, you are setting the foundation. It’s like big deal, little deal. You know, how many people with like teenagers are, I mean, Evan can probably attest to this. Where parents have made little deals into big deals for so long that now, all of a sudden, it is a big deal by the time they’re teenagers.

[00:17:30] And then we have teenagers who are tanking in lots of different ways. As I’m sure his coaches have learned like a kid who was tanking in school, quite often it’s not just learning differences. Quite often it’s a kid that is shut down, a kid that doesn’t have agency because they don’t have any confidence, a kid that hasn’t been taught the skills, but also hasn’t felt safe because they have felt so misunderstood for so long that they don’t feel safe. So, therefore, they can’t access their executive functioning skills.

[00:18:07] And so it’s all connected and related. I mean, if parents, when they have little teeny tiny kids like this, could be setting the foundation and really, truly stepping in and shifting their mindset into becoming this type of pack leader who doesn’t turn a little deal like this, like easy solve.

[00:18:29] We’re going to the yarn store, we’re picking out rainbow yarn and now we’re going to have this fun little game that’s between the two of us. It’s going to be this special thing. She’s going to love it. It might end up even turning into, you know, you find it and then you hide it for her. So now that she gets to be the, you know, the hider and the seeker. Who knows what it’ll evolve into, but it’s like this simple, you know, little kids, little problems.

[00:18:53] But I promise you bigger kids, the little problems turn into bigger problems. So I loved this example.

[00:19:01] Thanks for listening today, guys. I hope you picked up some tips, tools, maybe some baby steps for creating more balance and boundaries in your life. And I just wanted to let you know, if you want to continue moving the needle forward in creating this for yourself, having a happier household, I want you to go to my website and check out We have three beginning programs, and if you need some accountability and more support then please look for the one that would be a good fit for you.

[00:19:35] And, as always, we’re on all the social channels under mastermind parenting, on Instagram it’s mastermind_parenting. And, you know, periodically I do pop up on different Instagram lives, Facebook lives where I give you teaching and coaching and I love engaging with you live to help you help your strong-willed kids so that they can feel better, because when they feel better they do better, and I love, love, love getting to know you guys. 

[00:20:08] So thanks for listening. If you like this podcast, please don’t forget to subscribe, rate and review. Super super appreciative

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