If this is happening to you, you can maintain greater harmony with your children by practicing the art of patience. When you do, you’ll also be helping your children to learn patience - a skill that will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Here are some methods you can use to learn patience with your kids:
What are your triggers? Be as specific as possible. Once you learn to understand what causes you to lose patience, you can try to avoid these situations, or at least you’ll know when it is time to start practicing your patience skills.
How do you respond? What happens when you lose patience? Do you get sweaty palms, or perhaps experience an increased heart rate? In the future, these warning signals will alert you to react positively.
Step away from the situation. If you do find yourself about to lose patience, it’s best that you walk away from the situation rather than reacting negatively. Take a moment to yourself and practice some deep breathing exercises to calm yourself down.
You must be patient, not just preach it. Actions speak louder than words. Also, it takes action to practice your patience skills.
Patience is an intervention. Patience as a tool that can be applied to any situation. Once we understand its value and apply it correctly, we will no longer react in anger to frustrating situations.
Have reasonable expectations. You can’t expect your toddler to learn to potty train overnight, just as you wouldn’t expect your five-year-old to learn calculus. It’s important to understand that many things just take time (and patience).
Think about your relationship rather than results. It can be easy to become side-tracked by results. However, if you focus on your relationship with your child, results will become less important, but may improve anyway as a result of the improved relationship.
Restate, rethink, reevaluate, relax and regroup. Instead of reacting with frustration when your child fails to complete a task, use these 5 “R’s”:
Restate. Tell them what your expectations are.
Rethink. Think about your timetable.
Reevaluate. Is the task reasonable?
Relax. Think about how you are approaching the problem and whether you would change anything.
Regroup. Actively work on the situation instead of losing your temper as you would in the past.
Be prepared to apologize. Some may think that apologizing to your child will lessen your authority, but nothing could be further from the truth. You are the role model, so it’s important to take responsibility for your actions when your own behavior is less than stellar.
When you apologize, you are teaching your children how to take responsibility, too.
Take care of yourself. Look after your own needs as well as those of your kids. Sometimes we put ourselves at the back of the queue when it comes to care, but this can be to your detriment and your family’s.
Take time for yourself, get a hobby, or just have an hour off occasionally. This will give you time to recharge.
Realize that you are human. We all lose patience occasionally, and while it may not seem like a positive thing at the time, it may show you that you’re feeling overwhelmed or under appreciated. Perhaps there is something you can do about that issue too.
Kids can be frustrating, but practicing patience can strengthen your bonds, lessen your frustration, and teach your children valuable skills.