Jan 292015 8 Responses

Your Kids Yelling Really Does Bother Your Husband

It drives my wife insane.

The kids are yelling, whining, or just being kids and I don’t move. I hear them, but I don’t care. They aren’t in danger and do not require my intervention in their activity. I can drown them out as though they aren’t saying a word.

For Jenny, it’s impossible to ignore the kids yelling.

Their bickering is like fingernails slowly progressing down a chalkboard. She shivers at the sound and, nearly without thought, runs to negotiate the fight.

The only thing which irritates her more than the children bickering is my apathy toward it.

“Does that not bother you?” she asks.

“Nope,” I respond. (See: Obey Your Mother, Respect My Wife)

“Do you know how irritating it is to me?” she asks.

“Yep,” I respond.

“How? If it doesn’t bother you, how can you possibly know how much it irritates me,” Jenny says.

The answer is simple. What a child’s voice can do to a mother, a wife’s voice can do to a man.

I can write with my children sitting right beside me. They can be hanging on my arms, watching cartoons, or playing with a toy. I know they are there, but I can still get lost in whatever story I’m creating.

I struggle to write with my wife in the same room. And if she is seated next to me, I might as well close my computer. It’s impossible to write with her near me.

What’s the difference? (See: Three Ways Parents Discourage Their Children)

I think it is biological.

A healthy mom is naturally bent toward hearing her children. Men are as well, but not nearly to the extent of a woman. A mom has a heightened sense of protection for her children which causes the fight or flight mechanism to kick into gear. This is a wonderful gift. It protects the children and allows a mother to be aware of danger before any one else realizes trouble is near.

However, this gift has a negative consequence. The heightened awareness also causes a woman to get more easily irritated at the bickering, complaining, and whining of children. They can’t help but hear the kids yelling.

A healthy man is naturally bent toward hearing his wife. We have a heightened sense of protection for women which causes the fight or flight mechanism to kick into gear. This, too, is a wonderful gift which allows men to use their strength and sacrifice themselves for the sake of those they love.

However, this gift also has a negative consequence. The call of a woman is not easy to ignore and if the call is not deemed an important threat, it can irritate a man.

It’s the same protective system in both male and female, but it expresses itself in different ways. Ironically, the similarities frustrate both parties. (See: One Things Parents Control)

Women are frustrated because their husbands seem not to care as much for their children.

Men are frustrated because their wives are irritating them the same way their children are irritating their wives.

While there isn’t a great solution to this dilemma, just understanding its existence is often enough of a salve for most situations.

A husband’s ability to ignore a child’s voice (within reason) is not a lack of love. It’s a different biological make-up and responsibility.

A wife’s frustration with her children (within reason) is a reasonable response. It’s nearly an unpreventable reality.

Men and women are not created the same. These differences cause us to see the world in unique ways and respond to circumstances differently.

Healthy couples learn these differences and appreciate them. Unhealthy couples assume these differences are a failure of heart or mind and judge their spouses as incompetent.

It’s a common scenario–a kid whines, a mom’s heart rate rises, and a husband continues doing what he is doing. Don’t allow this response to cause a fight. Communicate your feelings and adjust to your spouse. Just don’t assume they have to respond exactly as you do. You are different for a reason.


8 Responses to Your Kids Yelling Really Does Bother Your Husband
  1. I'm Gonna Cook That Reply

    What about the man adjusting to his spouse? Maybe it’s biology, or maybe it’s just a cop out for not getting up and helping out. I kind of feel like you just gave every man reading this blog permission to not only ignore their kids, but also ignore when their wife is in need of support with the kids.

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      This was not my intent. My hope was to give understanding to both spouses with the hope that they would adjust to each other.

  2. lizabettarose Reply

    i think your article was well written & I’m glad to hear it from a man’s perspective.

  3. Wendy HInman Reply

    Love your blog Kevin. I read it every time it pops up in my email. But this one stumped me a bit. I am the one who could work away and ignore the kids bickering or just their amped up noise. It grates on my hubby though. He had to go to his cave or jump in and deal with it. But he could work for hours with me by his side. He loves just having me in the same room. Are we bending gender norms? :O I am wondering if this is more of a personality thing than a gender one.

    (We raised seven who are all now wonderful adults. We have no idea how our bickering little ones all became loving adults who like to spend time with each other. 😉

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Wendy, this would probably fall into gender stereotypes which are generally true. For example, I write on occasion about sexual desire. 70% of the time the husband has the higher drive. Yet 30% of the time the woman does. I think the same is true hear. From a percentage standpoint men are more likely to have the more “laid-back” approach toward children, but there are clear situations where the relationship is reversed. I could be wrong but that is what it feels like when I talk to couples.

  4. Kathryn Reply

    I’ve got three boys and must have one of the quietest houses on the planet. The only one yelling around here is me, and that, not often–although when it does happen, my (now teenage) sons hide under their respective beds.
    Wonder if there is a correlation with that? The boys have been mostly homeschooled. I wonder if that has anything to do with the lack of noise?

    • Kevin A. Thompson Reply

      Every home is a little different. Personalities and family dynamics means sometimes stereotypes don’t apply.

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