I’ve found that getting irritated with a kid (teen/toddler, take your pick) who is irrational is pointless. It’s like arguing with someone who’s drunk. That’s going to go nowhere. There was one Sunday when the fatigue from a couple of very late nights caught up with one of the girls and she was reduced to tears at the slightest frustration. I tried to redirect her, I tried to feed her. She wasn’t screaming crying – it was the tired cry. So I calmly helped her into the shower to get cleaned up (she sobbed the entire time). Then I helped her upstairs to her room (still sobbing) and calmly put her in her bed. She didn’t want to take a nap but I gave her a kiss and told her to just rest. She slept for 2 hours. Then got up, had dinner, did her homework and went back to bed.
I think about the time the kids were little and a bad mood would hit one of them in the middle of a shopping trip to Target. I think about when these would occur and I was the one who was tired. How easy would it be to ‘cross the line’ simply out of sheer frustration? That’s the point of keeping perspective. It's not easy. In fact it's damned hard sometimes.
As the kids have gotten older, they can comprehend this a little more. So on the days that I’m the one having the bad day, I make sure they are aware of it, as well as aware that it’s not because of anything they said or did. But I do ask them to be considerate of my situation and how much help it would be if they too, would keep perspective and to help by simply doing what they’re told. It can be very enlightening for the child as they grow to discover that the world does not actually revolve around them!