I always considered myself to be a patient person until I became a Mother. That is when I truly realized what patience means and what being patient could entail. Raising a high needs kid who is pretty big on creating drama is not always easy and makes me test my parenting skills every day.
Whether it is strewing her toys all over the floor just when I had finished cleaning the room for the nth time or climbing on that ledge which mom has told her not to get on hundreds of times or refusing to put down the IPad even after watching an hour of Barbie and the Dreamhouse. (Yeah, it’s THAT phase now!)
The fact is that it can get challenging to be patient when you’re a parent! Kids seem to have a gift for pushing our buttons.
While becoming a mother redefined patience for me, I have a few tried and tested tips that will help you even if you are naturally short on patience. This is today’s topic in Positive Parenting.
5 Tips to Become a More Patient Parent
Take a timeout.
If you’re stuck inside the house with your child 24/7, you’ll need a break to refuel and recharge. Without some kind of break from the monotony, we tend to be more impatient and angry which leads to our emotions blocking rational thinking.
After experiencing a strong emotion like anger, it takes even the best of us around 30-45 minutes to return to a “normal” emotional state, even though you might feel calm after a few minutes. However, research has shown that after this happens, you’re still physiologically “agitated” and more prone to becoming angry again. Try to take a break and get away from the kids.
May be a walk around the block or a small drive to the local market can take the edge off your feelings. Or you can just go outside in your garden or to your terrace for a while. I prefer to go sit in my porch and listen to my favorite music till I have achieved my calmness back.
Pause before you react.
If you’re not in a position to get away even for a little while, the next best option is to switch your focus. Try concentrating on your breathing. Pay attention to the act of breathing 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 something you can control to an extent and it’s an excellent meditative practice. Since I love meditation in any form, I recently bought a singing bowl, which I play every time I am feeling stressed. What’s more, I taught Sam to play it too so when she is feeling agitated or angry she tries to play it and it does calm her down a lot.
Remember, kids are kids
Although it’s hard to believe, your child probably isn’t trying to make you lose your patience. Your kids just look at the world differently. Sometimes throwing a tantrum is their way of gaining attention and other times their mischievous acts are just plain curiosity. If they’re too young to speak, crying and screaming are genuinely their only way to communicate.
The time they broke your favorite set of china mugs, they actually might have been trying to learn how to juggle. It’s just that they don’t know what to start with.
Being “difficult” is simply a part of being a child. A child’s brain is still developing so they don’t always know what is right or wrong, even if you have told them hundreds of times. Not giving you an excuse for poor behavior, but it might save your sanity when you’re at the end of your rope.
Practice your patience.
There are two ways to practice your patience. You can mentally walk through a stressful situation and see how you can handle it patiently or you can actually rehearse your patience in low-stress situations.
If you know that your child might throw a fit in a mall, practice various ways you can deal with the situation, without you throwing a fit too.
Think back to a recent incident when you lost your patience. Now, imagine the situation differently, with you being more patient. What could you have said differently? What could you have not done? Practice this exercise several times a day. Try being more patient in low-stress situations. This will come handy when you are in a stressful situation and about to lose your cool.
Be Patient towards YOU.
Remember, you need to be patient with yourself too. It’s impractical to think that you can completely avoid losing your patience. Especially if patience has not been your strongest virtue for years.
Also remember, even though you’re a parent, you’re also a human. If and when you do lose your patience, don’t beat yourself over it. Learn a lesson from the incident and try to tackle the situation in a better way.
Although being a parent is bliss, it can also get frustrating. However, the same challenges that make it frustrating also provide an opportunity to grow and develop into better human being. Like any other virtue, patience can also be learned, but it takes time.
I hope these tips help you to develop your own treasure trove of patience and enjoy parenthood more than ever.
Let me know in the comments, if you have any tips you would like to share for being more patient as a parent.