How to Become a More Patient Parent
When it comes to raising a child, there are a few things one parent should consider arming themselves with, as it will sometimes seem more like a battle than a relaxing journey! Assets such as kindness and mindfulness are very important when dealing with a growing child who is just starting to develop their own personality and attitude towards the whole world. Your attitude towards their behavior will change across the years as well, and you may sometimes switch from using forgiveness on something they did, only to use a punishment instead to teach them a valuable lesson as they grow up and get better at understanding what they should and should not be doing.
However, something you should never lose sight of is your own patience. As well all know it, being patience can lead to many great results in various cases and situations, and raising a child is no exception to the rule. Your patience can serve as both a weapon and a shield when in conflict with your growing toddler, and it can also serve you well when attempting to teach them lessons or ways to deal with their own issues.
The most important bonus that your own, well-trained patience can bring (and not only to you but to the whole household) comes in the form of a harmonious relationship with your child(ren) and your spouse alike. The less prone to overreacting you are, the more your relationship with your household will improve. A calm parent means that they are willing to not only talk but to also listen to their child’s problems before they will attempt to offer any solutions or jump straight to scolding them. It inspires a better feeling of mutual trust between every party involved and can greatly help improve the child’s comfort level around their parent. After all, a parent should be their child’s confidant, guardian, and best friend, in order to be able to help them during their own development and later in life.
What’s more is that exercising your own patience, whether individually or as you go through different situations with your child, can really help you in the long run as well. Patient people take better decisions when under pressure, as they prove to be calmer and as such, more collected, and is there even any need for me to mention the stress caused by different situations or given tasks in the workplace? When your coworker complicates your job by accidentally doing something that inconveniences you or how you do your job, or when your boss decides to add things to your workload in the last minute, despite you having more than just enough on your plate already – all those moments could be taken care of with a lot more tact and the results would be so much better if only we all exercised our patience.
Because of all that, here are a few ways through which you could improve your patience and as such learn to enjoy a calmer life.
Number one: They’re not doing it on purpose.
You have to keep in mind, at all times, that your children are not trying to annoy you on purpose. They’re learning things by trying out different stuff, so if they ruined your lipstick trying to make themselves look like a princess, then remember they couldn’t possibly have known that lipsticks are expensive or that you still needed those high heels. It’s just the child’s nature to discover things by exploring (and ruining things).
And if you had any doubts or concerns, then yes, all children are equally as naughty as your own, it’s a normal behavior while they grow up. Nobody has a child that just stands still all day doing nothing, so their behavior shouldn’t worry you all that much, so long as you don’t let it become a habit and you teach them as they progress. They start as a lot more disinhibited than all of us, and way more disorganized, but as they grow up, their character will shape into leaving the mess-making attitudes.
Number two: Take a deep breath.
Keep your cool at that moment so you don’t react out of proportions. It’s not the end of the world if they broke something or messed up. Objects can be replaced, regardless if they were just a $5 picture frame or an expensive ornament (because let’s be real, you probably shouldn’t have left something that expensive or fragile near a child’s reach if you didn’t want accidents to happen, so again, it’s not really their fault).
Another helpful way through which you could try to keep yourself calm at the sight of something that went wrong is to count to ten in your mind, or you can do it out loud if you want your children to know that it’s time to end play time and start putting things back.
Number three: Teach, don’t yell
Your train of thought when addressing an issue should be “has this technique ever worked on me before?” So next time you want to start yelling at your child to teach them something, just know that it doesn’t work, as nobody turns more willing to listen when spoken to on such aggressive terms. It didn’t work on us as children, it won’t work on our kids, and it most likely will not work on their own children when they grow up either.
So instead of yelling or scolding them restlessly, try to actually talk to them, try explaining why whatever they did was so wrong and why they should not do it again. Tell them about whatever bad outcomes there could have been if it was something dangerous that they did and make sure they understand what you say, by asking them to offer you feedback in a way. Don’t ask “understood?” as they will most likely just say yes to get out of the scolding or get back to playing quicker. Instead, try going on the “so why should you not do that again?” route, where you are able to check what information stuck with them from everything you said. Then, try sticking with this technique for a while and help yourself develop a habit of successfully communicating and educating your child rather than resorting to yelling again.
Number four: Switch perspectives
Try to see things from your child’s perspective every now and then, in order to find out why they are acting up. That way you could even be able to correct their behavior by addressing the root of the problem, not only the outcome. You will be able to find out if there is something that’s bothering them, or if they have some sort of insecurity that makes them act out whenever they feel embarrassed, or even if it’s a kindergarten or school-related issue that they took home with them, unable to resolve back there. Losing your patience and aggravating everyone’s moods can even worsen their problems.
Number five: Pretend that you are in public.
If you know that you have a tendency of overreacting, you can try and imagine that you have a public, or that you’re in a crowded area instead of just back home with only your child and the issue at hand. In public, such as in a shop or at the doctor’s, you would try your best to not make a scene, just as you would try to pacify your child from being loud as well, so why not try it in your home too? Exercise your reactions wherever you can, for the moments when it would be best to keep your cool, and not only.
Number six: Step back.
Whenever you feel yourself getting angrier or just generally unable to calm down, it means that it’s time to step back and let yourself calm down. It’s no shame to say “give me a minute” while you go sit down and have a little breathing exercise or while you go to the kitchen to drink some water to cool yourself down. Your children will most likely get a feeling of how bad whatever they did really was, and how much it upset you too.
Number seven: Be prepared.
You’re not supposed to make plans when you’re tired, nor carry out an argument when you start to feel yourself getting angry because in both cases, your words and actions will be influenced by your current state. You will avoid to make plans to hang out with friends or go anywhere if you’re tired, because you will be under the impression that you will be just as exhausted in the following week, and when you’re angry and someone else is trying to talk to you, there’s the tendency to be brutally honest or irritable, which may put a strain on your relationships even if you didn’t mean to say what you did in the heat of the moment.
As such, you should make sure you’re in a mood that will allow you to take reasonable decisions and that will give you the opportunity to react according to the gravity of the situation. If you’re hungry, snack on something before or even during the confrontation – eating might just distract you from yelling as well!
Number eight: Get help.
If you feel like you’re slowly consumed by anger or the situation is getting out of hand, it’s no shame to ask your significant other to come to lend a hand, or any other family member you think is able to help can do just as good of a job. Sometimes having another person’s input and perspective and help a lot when dealing with a problem as well, and it gives you the opportunity to step back a little and collect yourself.
Number nine: Take yourself into account.
When you react to something your child did wrong, think about what you’re about to do and most importantly, think about what your actions say. If you lose your cool and immediately get angry, that only teaches your children that it’s fine for them to do the same, even for the smallest inconvenience. They mirror every move of ours and they adopt our behaviors as they grow up. So since you’re their role model, make sure you act like a good one.
Number ten: Help rather than scold
Ask yourself if whatever you’re about to say or do will help your child in any way rather than make them cry. Try to offer solutions to their problems rather than offering ways to ground them and help build their trust in you a little more. The more willing you are to sort something out and fix it rather than getting mad at them, the more they will develop a habit of asking you for advice or opinions before doing something, and it could save you a lot of stress, trouble, and money in the long run.
In the end, there is no set recipe for how exactly to improve your patience when dealing with a child, so it depends a lot on your parenting style and on your child’s behavior and willingness to listen to you. However, the above tips should help you get started on your patience training, and it will be worth it in the long run. Remember that, at the end of the day, parenting is one of the most difficult jobs out there, and nobody has managed to put a step-by-step manual for all new and experienced parents yet, so it’s all a matter of discovering what works best as you go, while you keep in mind that your child’s well-being and proper development is the most important focus you should have at all times and that your whole household should be aware of that. A good idea would be to involve your whole family in the patience training, so you will have support through the most difficult times and be able to ask for another hand every now and then.
Good luck and enjoy your improved lifestyle as you get the hang of a calmer life!