Diagnostic Manual of Annoying Child Behaviors


Last week, I traveled to South Carolina to spend a few days at the beach with my parents, niece, and nephew. My brother and his family live in SC while I’m in Texas, so I only get to see them once or twice a year. Needless to say, I really look forward to these trips, and always have fun with my niece and nephew. They’re sweet, funny, and charming little children.

However, they’re also children. Meaning they do irritating things sometimes.

In a previous post, I’ve talked about the fact that I question whether or not I want to have kids of my own. Before you throw rocks and pitchforks at me, just know that I happen to love kids, and even work with them in my job. Willingly. But I haven’t yet decided whether I want to subject myself to the never-ending, 24/7 responsibility of raising kids of my own.

As much fun as  I truly had with my little look-alike minions, some events of our vacation last week further reminded me about my hesitance. From an academic (read: nerdy) viewpoint, I was sort of fascinated by some of their behaviors.

“Why are you doing that? It’s weird. Stop.” – Me, every few minutes.

Part of my role as a therapist is to make diagnoses, and I found myself wondering whether some of my niece’s and nephew’s “quirks” might fall under brand new disorders. Feeling intrigued by this idea, I decided to create some new disorders all on my own.

Again, before you throw rocks and pitchforks, this is all in good fun 😉

Selective Speed of Movement
This is similar to Selective Mutism, an actual diagnosis in which children are unable to speak in certain settings due to intense social anxiety. You may also have heard of “selective hearing,” a phrase typically assigned to middle-aged men who seem to hear only what they want to hear.

Selective Speed of Movement applies to children who (at times) can move very, very quickly, such as when you tell them, “Go change into your swimsuit so we can go to the pool.”

Other times, these same children appear to become like sloths in a vat of maple syrup: Every. Tiny. Movement. Seems. To. Take. A. Great. Deal. Of. Effort. This hasn’t yet been studied in a lab, so it’s possible that syrup-covered sloths are actually quicker than the children.

This phenomenon is most likely to be triggered when you say something like, “Go brush your teeth.”

Overwhelming Urge to Press Buttons
Children with this mental disorder have an extreme desire to press any kind of button – microwave, elevator, figurative, etc. If you come across a child with severe OUPD and happen to push a button before they got the chance, prepare for their wrath. There will be whining, there will be angry faces. There may even be dramatic proclamations that you’ve ruined their day.

Misunderstanding of What Constitutes Fun for Adults
Symptoms include:

  • Asking you to watch them play their video game
  • Wanting to poke you in the face with various objects
  • Farting on you
  • Using your body as their personal diving board in the swimming pool
  • Expressing disappointment when you turn down any of the above activities


Inappropriate Internal Clock
This is a seasonal disorder that applies to children who wake up on summer days at 6:32 a.m. for no reason.

Pointless Competitiveness
Sometimes it’s good to have a little competition – it fosters hard work and determination, and there are lessons to be learned about both winning and losing.


But Pointless Competitiveness applies to scenarios where it makes no sense to compete, and there’s no clear winner. Children exhibiting PC might do any of the following:

  • Ruthlessly fight their way to be out the door first, despite arriving to the destination no quicker than anyone else
  • Passionately argue about who is the better “shuffler” (of cards)
  • Loudly declare that they have the smelliest feet



For those of you who have kids, know kids, or were once kids yourselves, what do you think of these (fake) disorders? Did any of them ring a bell for you? What would you add to this list?


28 thoughts on “Diagnostic Manual of Annoying Child Behaviors

  1. I have 2 kids… the boy 11, the girl 8. I have had first hand experience with every single one of these things. I’ve also experienced Volume Paradox… the belief that whoever is the loudest gets their way. But I can win that one if necessary! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Don’t feel bad for not being sure about kids. I’m on the fence as well. It’s a huge thing, you just can’t dive in if you’re not all in. That’s a lifetime. You can’t bring them back. I respect that and repeat it about myself as well

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Post of Note Week 11 – A Kinder Way

  4. meanderingmav

    Great list of disorders, I think I would add:
    Interuptus Maximus (name inspired by Loony Toons) I believe the name speaks for itself.

    Absolutely hysterical blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been to Tennessee myself! That whole area of the country is so pretty. The number of trees just amazes me, but considering I’m from Texas, that probably doesn’t say much haha.

      I enjoyed it too! You asked a super thoughtful question that I plan to torture my friends with 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh man. As a Woman-Child, I believe I suffer from Overwhelming Urge to Press Buttons. It’s not so much that I, in academic terms, “literally can’t even” if someone pushes buttons before I do. It’s just that I really need to push the buttons — buttons on old-timey phones, strange buttons in new cars to figure out the purpose (sometimes accidentally calling OnStar or whatever), buttons on annoying toys at stores to see what the dumb thing will sing, then running away so no one will know it was me. I just have to know what the buttons do, and never learn from the embarrassing outcomes.

    Honestly, I’m kind of relieved to have a faux diagnosis. Fauxdagnosis.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You know, when I wrote the post, I didn’t think about the info applying to adults, too. But when I read your comment, a lightbulb went off in my head because that’s totally my brother. His OUPD applies specifically to cars, though. As soon as he gets in mine, he’s all, “what’s this do? What’s this do?” and then presses the buttons before I can even answer. I’d like to say he’s only 12 years old, but alas, he’s older than I am…

      It’s obnoxious, and yet also strangely endearing. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. In all other facets of life, I’m one who doesn’t need to touch the oven to know it’s hot. But with buttons, I never learn. I just need to push them and see the result. NEED!!

        Liked by 1 person

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