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Make Your Kid Cry in 9 Easy Steps

Ever look at your dirty, smiling child's face and try to clean it off, only to be rewarded with an ear-piercing wail?

Or perhaps you see your precious baby slumped over in the car seat, snoozing, her head lolling at an unnatural angle. You think, Aw. Poor thing. She must be so uncomfortable! You want to fix it. In fact, as the mom (or dad), you are compelled to fix it. You lift her head gently, trying to find the "tipping point" between front and back and side to side. You think you've got it. Ahhhh. The head is balanced. Success!

Then the wake-up—and the SCREAM!

My point is, every day our children are fairly happy. It's just hard to accept. So we embark on a quest to make their lives more pleasurable, more comfortable—quite simply, happier. We shift, we move, we change, we sanitize, we anticipate their unspoken needs and respond instantly.

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And what do we get? A migraine for our efforts.

The best parenting advice I ever got was from a cousin who had TWO sets of twins. Upon the birth of my first child she said, "Heed my words—never make a happy baby happier."

I didn't get it at first, but more than 10 years later, this has become my parenting mantra.

For many parents (me included), it can be hard to accept that our help won't make our children's lives just a little bit better. But believe me, it won't.

To illustrate my point, I've compiled a list of the 10 things you can do to an otherwise content baby or toddler that will make them miserable. Just try one. You'll see (and hear)!

1. Moving your sleeping child from the car seat into the house for a more comfortable nap.

Abide by the 5-second rule (or stretch it out if need be) and give the precious object back.

2. Waking your child to change a wet diaper in the middle of the night.

3. Adding to a picture they're working on, just to make it "prettier" or neater, or color in the lines. (Step away from the crayons.)

4. Paying for expensive seats to a live kids' show and insisting they watch every last second of it.

5. Adding salt, cheese or ketchup to your child's food without asking first.

6. Not returning a baby's lovey, blankie, stuffed animal or toy after it falls on the ground. A little dirt never hurt anyone. Abide by the 5-second rule (or stretch it out if need be) and give the precious object back. Quick. Before the screaming begins.

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7. Fixing her shirt.

8. Brushing his hair.

9. Popping a puzzle piece into place because you see your child has been struggling to finish. This is definitely a "no good deed/puzzle piece goes unpunished" moment.

Now go forth in peace. You're welcome.

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Image via Twenty20/JazzyMay81

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