For many moms and dads, being a patient parent takes an added dose of chocolate. But having patience with kids is easier when you use these practical tips.
In the middle of the afternoon, my house suddenly grew quiet. A sense of panic crept up my spine as the realization hit my brain.
“What are they doing?” I thought as I darted down the hallway.
As I rounded the corner, I could hear a strange noise: slewp, plop, slewp, plop.
And then I saw it. The floor was covered in books and atop the pile was my 18 month old son, reaching for the final few still left on the shelf.
I had spent all morning organizing that bookcase and now, I had to start all over.
And in that split second, I had a decision to make.
Did I lose my temper and yell at this child who was grinning wildly and chanting, “Books, momma. Books!?” Or, did I sit down beside him as a patient parent and show him how to line the books on the shelf?
I would love to say that I always make the right decision when faced with chaotic parenting situations, but sadly, I’m a recovering angry mom. Having patience with my kids is like learning to skate in a minefield.
It has taken many years to realize I can get my kids to obey without yelling at them like a banshee.
But despite the struggle to be an even-tempered mother, I have learned a ton about having patience with my children.
How to be a More Patient Parent
In the heat of the moment, it is hard to respond like a patient parent. Growing your patience bone will take effort before your patience is needed.
So begin practicing these tips for having more patience with kids now to be prepared for later:
“Oh no!” you are thinking. “Here she goes with that C-word… consistency.”
As annoying as it is to have all parenting and discipline issues point back to our ability to habitually enforce the rules and consequences we create for our children, consistency in parenting is essential for creating an environment where children know what is required and what to expect.
The need for patience is lessened because children can easily anticipate our reactions.
Take a time out
In moments when your fuse is short and your temper is ready to fire, take time for self-care.
Step away from the chaotic situation and readjust your mindset to that of a patient parent. Ask yourself, “How should I react to this situation?” Take a deep breath and re-enter the room with a clear head and focused heart.
Break the momentum
When more than one child is involved in a disagreement and you feel the need to intervene, it’s easy to revert into the yelling mom. But screaming at your children rarely gets attention. Instead, you are contributing to the noise.
So, change the momentum of the argument by removing a child from the situation or re-directing the children to something different. By interrupting the argument and changing the focus to a different activity or location, you are stopping the avalanche of verbal vomit.
Choose your battles
Can we take a moment to recognize that not every situation needs parental involvement? Having more patience with kids also means knowing how to pick your battle.
When my children are fighting, they are learning how to deal with other people. This is a life skill they will need throughout adulthood. If I am constantly stepping into the argument, not only am I growing impatient and more apt to yell, but I am robbing them of the opportunity to grow problem-solving skills.
Consider the character that you want to develop in your child. If his action is in direct opposition to that characteristic, the incident deserves your attention.
However, if your child’s behavior does not involve something detrimental to his health, physical well-being, or future character, ignore it.
“It’s not an option.”
If you want to be a patient parent, adopt the mantra, “Impatience is not an option.”
Each time you feel your blood begin to boil and your patience with your kids begin to crack, say this to yourself: it’s not an option.
This verbal cue is the equivalent of giving yourself a solid shake. The words focus your mind back to your long-term goal of being a more patient parent.
If you need more help keeping your temper under control, be sure to grab my free printable, Flip Your Mood Fast, a guide for taming your temper in five minutes or less.
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Tabitha Philen, mom to four children ages 14 and under, is overcoming mommy rage and depression. Although not perfected, she continues the journey to complete recovery and invites you to join her through her book, Even-Tempered Mother. You can also find Tabitha writing about raising a family with sense on cents at MeetPenny.com.