Dealing with Annoying People: Kid Edition

Yesterday, the Boy complained that a kid in his class was bothering him. “He makes fun of my name,” he said.

“How so?” I flashed to Cadillac’s description of pretty much every male, from high school to basic training, making fun of the last name. The name caused the drill sergeant, apparently, to double over in tears of laughter. I was not surprised to hear someone made fun of our name.

“He called me Dalloway and he knows it’s not,” he said.

Mrs. Dalloway? The Virginia Woolf novel? This struck me as not a particularly creative or sadistic name-calling effort. Perhaps this kid didn’t know.

“And he annoys me at recess,” my son continued. “He gets in our games and he won’t play by the rules!”

At his age, this is highly annoying to my son. I mean, it’s annoying at any age, but eventually you learn how to deal with it. The other day, in a different incident, he was enraged because two kids were helping a third play chess against Boy.

“Say, ‘If it takes three of you clowns to beat one of me, it’s not worth playing,’” my husband told him. I don’t think the Boy did; it’s not his style. I think he just told them they were cheaters and stopped playing.

At any rate, this kid who was bothering the Boy sounded more like a pest than like a bully. Bullies require a different and more serious tactic, but this kid didn’t sound so horrific. Either the kid lacks social skills, or he just likes getting a rise out of people.

I told our son, “Look. People like that just say stuff to see if you get mad. If you stop getting mad, I bet he’ll stop.”

I was also thinking of a great child-rearing book, THE BLESSING OF A SKINNED KNEE .* This book basically tells you, that as a parent, you must let kids deal with crap on their own. Your kid needs to learn how to excel despite obstacles. Whether it’s a less-than-stellar teacher or a kid who sits behind you making hooting sounds all day, these kinds of annoyances never stop.

Annoying people don’t magically go away when they reach adulthood. In just about every workplace, there’s an egoistical maniac, a pestering fool, a pendulum-mood coworker, a clique leader.

Learning how to deal with these people now is a good thing. And not becoming one of those people—even better.

*The book uses Jewish teachings, but the lessons are applicable to every family who wants to raise self-reliant and respectful kids, regardless of faith. I especially like the part that says you should make your kids clear the parents’ dinner plates. Put those kids to work already!

Published by Margaret Dilloway

Middle grade and women's fiction novelist. FIVE THINGS ABOUT AVA ANDREWS, (Balzer + Bray 2020); SUMMER OF A THOUSAND PIES. MOMOTARO: Xander and the Lost Island of Monsters (Disney Hyperion); TALE OF THE WARRIOR GEISHA and SISTERS OF HEART AND SNOW, out now from Putnam Books. HOW TO BE AN AMERICAN HOUSEWIFE was a finalist for the John Gardner fiction award. THE CARE AND HANDLING OF ROSES WITH THORNS is the 2013 Literary Tastes Best Women's Fiction Pick for the American Library Association. Mother of three children, wife to one, slave to a cat, and caretaker of the best overgrown teddy bear on Earth, Gatsby the Goldendoodle.

8 thoughts on “Dealing with Annoying People: Kid Edition

  1. I like that…pendulum-mood co-worker. I have worked with many people who fit this description. Also, clique leader…know a few of those as well.

    That’s great advice for kids dealing with annoying people.

  2. Hi Margaret. I see this is a very old article. But I discovered it when I was doing searching on bullies. I have come a long ways but I have had to be in counseling for over 20 years. You see the biggest bully in my life was my own dad but I had to get away from home to realize that. Please tell Keith the one time he met my dad he had a very wrong impression of him. Also tell Keith I said thanks for being a friend of mine in college when I was as messed up as I was. You are a great Writer by the way. Best regards to you and your family. Sincerely Eric (long lost friend of Keith’s from his FIJI days).

  3. Hi Margaret. This is Eric H again. So full confession. I’m fairly new to the blog concept. First my original comment went under an article about annoying people instead of under the bullying blog. Not sure how that happened. I hope I’m not too annoying. Then I forgot to check the little box that says notify me of any updates. Then I assumed you as a blogger could see my email address which according to a friend of mine who has a blog that is not necessarily the case. Lastly for a comment like the current one I’m not sure if I’m supposed to contact you through the literary agent or just here. On top of that I think my original comment came out kind of cryptic and weird. I think i was in a state of deep thoughts as I was studying bullying for a few hours that night. Sorry if it came across weird. The last time Keith saw me was at a party he had before he went off to the military. I moved from California and have not been back. I would say that I have two phases of my life the one in California and the one after. I’m not really in touch with anybody from the California phase including my family but if there was one person from that phase I would have interest in talking to it would be Keith. So I guess I have two questions. First can you see my email? I’m trying to avoid actually putting it on the post. Secondly is Keith open to touching base with me? If not I understand. I’m sorry if I did anything that offended him. I did kind of “disappear” but there are reasons for that as there are reasons why it took me so long to even look back to then realize “Hey I wonder how Keith is doing.” Then I found your blog. Go figure. Thanks again.

    1. Eric, I can see your email (I didn’t know I could, either! ) and I will pass it on to Keith. He says he just remembers you going to medical school and didn’t think you’d disappeared. So, no worries. Have a great day!

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