Here is what I feel so strongly about:
It is our job to teach our children. We need to teach them patience. Love. Respect. Understanding. How to talk. How to count. How to use a fork. Our job as parents is to teach. We need to teach them what plastic wrap is for. Is it so hard to say, "Plastic wrap is used to cover leftover food, Honey."? No. It's really quite simple.
Is it really so easy to be angry at our kids? Or better yet, is it really so hard to be happy with our kids? Caleb sees a balloon in the rafters in Walmart, and while I'm busy trying to decide which brand of potato chips costs less, he says, "I see a balloon way up there stuck in the ceiling!" Why on earth would I shout, "SHUT UP!" because I'm looking at something else? Is price checking chips so vitally important that my child's self confidence and happiness is worth risking? I can easily say, "Yes! I see it, too! What color is that balloon?" And he gets so much satisfaction out of telling me that it's red. It's true, I know exactly what balloons are stuck where in the local Walmart. A balloon shaped like a baby is above the sewing section, a Christmas balloon is by the jewelry section, a heart balloon is above home goods, and countless red "clearance" balloons are everywhere else. I could get tired of playing the balloon game. But why? It does no harm. It keeps Caleb happy and occupied, and it's good for his brain. Why is it so easy to talk on the phone to a friend while price checking chips but we can't talk to our children?
What is the point in criticizing our children? In snapping at them? In ignoring them? Seriously? Our Heavenly Father, the perfect example of a parent, who always has our best interest in mind, would never correct us or teach us by snapping or insulting. Because it's mean and it doesn't help. It doesn't help one single thing. You wouldn't treat an adult like that if they said something that you didn't want to hear at that particular time, would you? Why wouldn't you give the same respect to your kids? They deserve the same respect. In fact, children are so pure and perfect and sinless that they never deserve to have their self confidence squashed. They only deserve to be lifted up. There is nothing about a little child that is intended to be annoying. They are just learning to communicate. Help them!
So does that mean that we should spoil our kids? NO. We can be kind and caring and considerate and respectful without spoiling. I put a bag of chips in my shopping cart and Caleb says, "I hold this?" (Happens every time.) I don't say, "Of course, Sweet Boy, because I can't do anything to make you sad because you are too precious!" That's just silly. I say, "No, because they're fragile and I don't want them to break. Maybe we can find something else that you can hold." And he takes that for an answer. If he were to have a meltdown because he wanted the chips and holding the chips was the only thing in the whole wide world that could possibly make him happy, then he gets to have a fit. But when he's done having the fit, he gets to hold the can of formula.
I have come to realize that every tantrum that Caleb has is either because he is overtired (and thus wound up) or because we are not communicating effectively. He loves to look in the fridge when I open it. He stands there saying, "Hmmm..." as if he is contemplating what he wants to eat (which is just funny since he can only eat ten different foods!). If I try to push him out of the way to close the fridge, he flips out. I'm talkin' a real terrible two's tantrum. But if I say, "Please close the door, Sweet Boy," then he usually closes it. But sometimes he's just having too much fun, so I say, "We need to close the fridge so the food can stay cold," and then he will close it. He respects my wishes and I respect that he is two and he has fun doing silly little things like looking in the fridge. We have a mutual respect. Yes, sometimes he earns a time-out for not listening, but that's because he isn't respecting me and I need to teach him how to do that, through showing him respect and through giving loving and easy-to-understand consequences when he doesn't show me respect. But I never discipline through anger. If I did then I might end up doing something that I would later regret.
I think when a parent's patience is being tried a lot of people forget that they want their child to communicate with them, and they're doing just that. We just need to learn their language and teach them ours. Children deserve patience, communication, understanding, time, and respect just as much as adults do. If you don't give your child respect, they won't give you respect because they won't know how! Your young child learns behaviors from you. Which behaviors are ok, which aren't, and how to react to different situations.
Remember, kids aren't inherently annoying. They're inherently wonderful. You just need to recognize and bring out the best in them.