Doesn’t the title alone make you cringe? I lose my patience with my boys and yell, snap and say completely ridiculous things, like, “If you don’t stop that, I’m going to hang you by your toe nails!” often with a nasty tone. Do my kids think I would do such a thing, probably not. What in the world has me uttering such menacing words? Be truthful, you yell, scream and say bizarre threatening phrases too. It’s convicting of where I fall short and struggle as an effective parent. When my patience is gone no one wins. Because, there is the lingering guilty feeling from my reactive behavior and my kids feel the sting.
Practicing patience is an art form or better known as a virtue. It’s a skill of morale excellence and self control (another virtue). Virtues don’t suddenly arrive. We have to earn them through practice, effort, thought and some sweat and tears. Unfortunately, when the stork dropped our bundles of joy he didn’t give us auto-patience. But, patience we must have if we are to be the empowering parents we want to be.
Why is it so important? A general constant lack of patience creates a tense environment, possibly producing anxiety in our children and establishing unhealthy relationships. We all desire warm, positive connections with our kids, but if we are in a perpetual state of annoyance with them (or the world), we are then disconnecting from them. I want to enjoy this ride of parenthood, don’t you? Remaining patient allows me to savor the sweet moments and find strength when I want to have my own tantrum.
Losing patience with our children often has less to do with their actions or behavior than it does with us as individual adults. Children can and will test a parent or teacher’s emotional boundaries, but how we handle those emergency broadcastings is the difference between behaving like a trusting adult, modeling appropriate behavior or lashing out like a toddler. Join me in practicing, patient parenting through these three helpful tips.
1. REST Get your rest anyway you can because the #1 reason everyone on this planet loses their poise is feeling tired, fatigued or sick. Sorry, sleep is not overrated and keep in mind restricting sleep is used as a torture technique for a reason. It’s to break a person’s will, self-control and sanity. If you need that midday nap for 20 minutes to go the extra 10 hours in the day with a calm disposition, do yourself and your kids a favor- get the sleep.
2. MANAGE SENSE OF URGENCY If you find each day you are bribing or badgering your child to get ready for the day and dragging them by the shirt collar to get to work on time, your patience has already been lost before you walk out the door. If it’s the morning madness you are coping with be proactive and manage it before the morning by reducing distractions and creating focus. No TV in the morning and give a short, simple check list to your child the night before. Kids feel accomplished as they cross off each task. Be sure to acknowledge their efforts even if they did not complete the list but you see them trying, and allow them to try again the next day.
3. FORGIVE & REFLECT When you do snap, scream, yell and threaten, be sure to apologize for your behavior. Do not give into the “mommy guilt” with overt gestures. Pacifying your guilt by buying the latest video game does not equate to a meaningful apology. What you owe yourself and the child is a sincere apology and some retrospective thought. Give the situation some attention, “How could I have handled that situation differently?” Hopefully, we can learn from the mistakes we make but do not obsess, that is not true forgiveness and stifles growth and change.
The beauty of practicing patience is that we never truly arrive, unless you are the Dali Lama. We will always have those obstacles to push through, but if we keep practicing with the goal of being the parent we really want to be, I believe we will reap the reward of having a more loving relationship with our children. Remember, love is patient!
For more information on TURNING STONEchoice and its process, visit http://www.turningstonechoice.com
~Sammy @TURNING STONEchoice