It can be challenging to be patient when you’re a parent! Kids seem to have a gift for pushing our buttons.
While you might consider yourself to be naturally short on patience, you can easily change if you have a plan of action.
Follow these tips and dramatically boost your patience level with your children:
1. Take a timeout. If you’re home with your child 24/7, you’ll need a break to refuel and recharge. Without patience, we tend to become angry and our emotions block rational thinking.
- After experiencing a strong emotion like anger, it takes most of us around 30 minutes to return to a “normal” emotional state, even though you might feel calm after 10 minutes.
- However, research has shown that after this happens, you’re still physiologically “agitated” and more susceptible to becoming angry again. Try to take a break and get away from the kids.
2. Pause before you react. If you’re unable to get away for a bit, the next best option is to switch your focus. Try counting to ten or concentrate on your breathing. Pay attention to the motion of your chest and feel the air moving in and out of your lungs.
- It’s tough to control your body temperature, pulse, or blood pressure. However, your breathing is one of the few bodily functions you can control.
- Breathe deeply and slowly. Count your breaths and keep your mind occupied.
3. Keep a positive perspective. Although it’s hard to believe, your child probably isn’t being problematic on purpose. Your kids just have a different perspective of the world. If they’re too young to speak, all they can do to communicate displeasure is to cry and scream.
- Being “unreasonable” is simply a part of being a child. A child’s brain isn’t fully developed until about 21 years of age. It isn’t an excuse for poor behavior, but it’s something to remember when you’re at the end of your rope.
4. Practice your patience. There are two ways to practice your patience. You can mentally rehearse being more patient or you can actually practice your patience in low-stress situations.
- Think back to a time where you were less patient than you would have liked. Imagine yourself behaving in the way you’d prefer. Practice this exercise several times a day.
- Try being more patient when you’re only slightly stressed. If you practice in lower-stress situations, you’ll be more successful during those times when you’re about to lose your cool.
5. Remember to be patient with yourself too. It’s unreasonable to expect that you can completely avoid getting upset. Even though you’re a parent, you’re also human. Give yourself a break and remember that it isn’t realistic to be patient at all times.
6. Structured consequences. Have structured consequences for disciplinary actions. There needs to be and understanding that there will be disciplinary actions for lying and deliberate disobedience.
- Example: Your son lies to you and so he loses all electronics for a week. As he begins to complain about is you simply ask him if he would also like to be grounded for that week as well. If he continues then you simply ground him for the week too.
- You should always have the punishment increase if the child keeps escalating it. Your consequence levels should be all planned out in advance so that you your spouse and the child knows what is next if they decide to “keep it up”.
Although being a parent is rewarding, it can also be frustrating. However, the same challenges that make it frustrating also provide an opportunity to grow and develop. Patience can be learned, but it takes time. Practice these tips every day and you’ll soon develop a treasure-trove of patience.