8 Ways to Cultivate Parental Patience
We’re only human, which makes us the perfect fit when it comes to raising other humans. Because of our humanity, we are susceptible to impatience. The times when our impatience makes its presence known may not be some of our most shining moments of parenthood, but these times need not define us. Like anything else, patience can be cultivated and developed. That’s good news for all of us!
Patient parents have happier and more well-adjusted children. If you’re patient, your children are more likely to be patient with others as well, including your future grandchildren. That’s good news for everyone, as it has a ripple effect reaching far beyond the confines of our homes.
Here, we share eight ideas on cultivating patient parenting:
1. All the world’s a stage. Here’s a classic tip that really works. Everyone’s behavior improves when they believe they have an audience. Maintaining your composure is much more likely if you pretend that someone is watching you.
2. Remember back. Sometimes we forget that we were young once, too. If you can see things from your child’s perspective, you’ll be more likely to keep your emotions under control.
3. Take a break. Sometimes the smartest move is to disengage for a few minutes. Give yourself a chance to collect yourself and then return with a calm composure. Notice how much better your conduct yourself after taking a few minutes.
4. Focus on the long-term. Kids are just kids. We all know they’re not perfect. You’re their teacher, so use a challenging moment to teach them something valuable.
· Demonstrating patience in a tough moment will show your children what patience is like. Point out to them how they can use the same positive techniques for beneficial results.
5. Review session. When the situation is over, ask yourself how you could’ve handled the situation better. Then visualize yourself handling the situation in the new way. If you do this enough times, you patience will continuously improve. This is the road to developing a high level of patience.
6. See things in the context of development. Children’s brains aren’t even close to developed…not in the least. They rely on you to help them manage BIG, over-the-top feelings. Stop punishing children for not knowing how to manage big emotions. Avoid reprimanding children for their skill-deficits. Instead, focus on skill-building for a better tomorrow.
7. Count to 10 or take 10 deep breaths. Even better, do both at the same time. You can avoid your initial impulse to overreact. You’ll be able to feel the frustration melting away. Taking a moment to calm yourself provides an excellent model to your children about how it’s done. Taking deep breaths help you unhook from your own emotional brain and access your prefrontal cortex (the area of your brain that makes good, solid decisions).
8. Set a goal to be more patient. Intention counts for a lot. Start each day with the intention of being a more patient person in general. Practice patience with everyone in every situation. If you’re a more patient spouse, friend, and employee, you’re bound to be a more patient parent, too.
· Having a goal creates a target and helps to bring about focus. It’s challenging to become more patient if you don’t have patience as a goal. Give it a try.
Patience can be nurtured. You have to take the first step and be very intentional about it. An added bonus is that patient parents build stronger relationships with their children. Don’t delay…start being more patient today!
How do you practice patience? We’d love to hear about it!
Wendy Young, LMSW, BCD, is the founder of Kidlutions and co-author of BLOOM: 50 Things to Say, Think and Do with Anxious, Angry and Over-the-Top Kids. She is the creator of numerous workbooks and resources to help from the preschool through the teen years. Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook! She'd love to see your smiling face there! Affiliate links may be used in this post. Please see our full disclaimer, located at the top of our page for more information.