Jan Marie Mueller
Being a patient parent isn´t always easy…
I can remember when my daughter was a toddler thinking she’d come into this world knowing just which button to push to make me blow my top!
It seemed like we were in a constant battle of wills and the struggle made me feel completely out of control. By the time my two boys arrived – with their own unique personalities and the ability to test my patience in different ways – I knew I had to do something to increase my patience (and save my sanity!).
Here are some of the valuable techniques I´ve learned over the years. Not only have they helped dramatically improve my level of patience with my own children, they´ve been tremendously helpful in my business of teaching English to very young children as well.
Timeout For Mom
Your child´s last tantrum is still ringing in your ears. You can feel your heart racing and the knot of frustration lodged in the pit of your stomach. You lean back against the kitchen counter and try to calm your mind…
After a few minutes or so, you may think you´ve calmed down enough but did you know studies show it takes the body roughly 30 minutes to return to what´s considered a “normal” emotional state after experiencing such strong emotion?
So, even though you feel calmer, the truth is, your system is still agitated – which means it will take less to spark your anger the next time around.
If you´re a stay-at-home mom like I was and spend a lot of time with your kids, making the time to recharge your physical and mental batteries can go a long way to ensuring you have the energy you need to be the patient mom you want to be.
That´s why mom needs a timeout, too!
Shift Your Focus
Of course, there will be times when can´t manage a timeout, so, luckily, there is another option.
Learn to shift your focus.
This can be done in different ways. You can count to 10 or you can pay attention to your breathing. Focus on the way your chest lifts and falls. Feel how the oxygen flows into and out of your body.
While trying to control your pulse, temperature or blood pressure can be extremely difficult, you do have it within your power to control your breathing.
So, breathe deeply. Count each breath and focus on breathing slowly and evenly. Clear your mind and relax.
This is an excellent way to balance your emotions so you can calm down more quickly.
Look For The Positive
Sometimes we feel like our kids are being difficult on purpose, which doesn´t make the job of parenting one bit easier!
But the truth is “being unreasonable” is just part of growing up…
Did you realize a child´s brain isn´t fully developed until roughly 21 years of age?
Don´t get me wrong; I´m not trying to excuse bad behavior. Still, it´s something to keep in mind next time you´re having a battle of wills with your toddler or teenager!
Whether you want to accept it or not, kids see the world from a different perspective. Young children may not be able to express themselves well enough for you to understand what the real problem is. Teenagers are trying to discover their place in a complex world.
That´s why we, as parents, need to listen, pay attention to nuances and focus on extracting the positive from every situation. After all, negative emotion doesn´t do anyone a bit of good. It is our job to take our experiences with life and use them to be strong, positive role models for our kids.
Practicing patience can take two forms. You can repeatedly run through patient responses, mentally. Or you can practice patience in low-stress situations.
Let me give you an example of each:
If you want to rehearse responding patiently, think of a time when your reaction wasn´t as patient as you might have wanted it to be. Now replay the situation with you reacting in a patient manner. Make a point of running this scenario through your mind over and over again throughout your day.
Practicing patience in low-stress situations can make it a lot easier to keep your cool under real pressure. Next time you´re waiting for your child to tie their shoes or pick up their toys, try using the ideas I shared in the “shift your focus” section. (Planning a bit of a cushion time-wise can help as well.)
Be Patient With Yourself
As parents, we often put ourselves under a lot of pressure. We reprimand ourselves when we fly off the handle and worry about always doing the right thing. All that added tension can make it hard to be patient when you need to be.
That´s why it is so important to cut yourself some slack and remember that no one is patient all the time.
Still, if you practice the suggestions I´ve shared with you here, patience can become a very positive, natural way of dealing with the everyday challenges and stress that come with raising healthy, happy, well-balanced children.
Jan Marie Mueller is the founder of http://www.ThinkBrilliantly.com and a lifelong advocate and firm believer in the value of personal growth and development for a better, more productive life. She has authored dozens of articles on a wide range of topics including motivation, people management, success, stress, and parenting.