Practicing Patience

Practicing Patience

Parents, I know we have all been there at some point in time. Your children manage to push your buttons and get you upset and then we have a loss of control and you get upset with your child. 

I remember a time when I asked my son (at the time he was about 14 or 15) to go take a shower as we were going to be leaving soon and needed him to get ready. He mumbled a response that I didn't hear clearly and then I asked him what he said, he replied "you heard me". Not exactly what I wanted to hear at that moment because we needed to get moving and my initial thought is he was challenging me. Well, I ended up getting upset with him and I went out to the kitchen where he was on one side of the island and I was on the other. Obviously he knew I was upset and my anger had been increased, I knew that nothing good was going to come of this situation unless I just went back out to the living room and sat down to gain my composure. So, I went back to the couch, took a deep breath, gained my composure and asked my son again to please take a shower and then let it go at that. Ultimately he got in the shower and we were on our way. It was a little later than I wanted but it all worked out, but not without an episode of me not using better patience and planning.

Now what could I have done better?

First lets look at why we may have gotten upset or irritated with our children.

1. Fatigue. We quickly come to the end of our ropes when we have too much to do and too little energy with which to do it. Add to this the fact that kids seem to have a limitless amount of energy, and you're already tired when you wake up in the morning.

2. Displaced anger. Often we are irritated at someone else or about something that has little or nothing to do with the crisis of the moment. Unfortunately, our kids are the easiest, most accessible targets of this displaced anger, and it shows up in impatience with them.

3. Unrealistic expectations. We have an agenda that does not take into account the unpredictability of life in general and parenting in particular. Then when we get behind, the pressure pushes us to impatience with everyone around us, including our children.

4. Failure to plan. Many times our frustration and anger are of our own making because we fail to put in the extra effort it takes to prepare us, and our children, for the unique demands of the day. Remember: When you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

5. Distorted perspective. We assume it is us against them and that they are out to get us. We see those little charges as the enemy who has us under siege, almost as if they are purposely trying to annoy us, when instead they are really, most often, just children being children in all their imperfections.

Typically one or more of these ideas are in play when we manage to lose our patience.

Next lets look at how we can build our patience and choose a better way to handle situations with our children.

1. Re-energize. Do your best to rest up when the chance presents itself. Even if your kids don't take naps, institute a quiet time in the afternoon.

2. Deal with your anger. Ask yourself, "What am I really angry about?" When you feel yourself starting to get upset it is time to take a deep breath, take a moment to gain your composure, then explain to your child what you need them to do and why. Once this is done give them a chance to do what you've asked of them and if they haven't listened yet, explain it again and let them know what the repercussions are if they don't do what they've been asked to do.

3. Have realistic expectations. Understand that children aren't perfect and that they are still learning. You aren't perfect and neither are your children, so expect moments where you need to have a reality check of what you are expecting from your children.

4. Plan, plan, plan. As you anticipate what you need to prepare for the demands of the day. Make sure you are giving your children plenty of time to get ready or whatever it is that you need them to do. You are more than likely going to have to ask them two or more times to do something. Again, explain what you need and why.

5. Practice patience. Remember: It is your job to love and train your children. They aren't perfect and they need to be taught how to do things in a timely manner and that they can make mistakes without getting yelled at. Your children will emulate your behavior and practicing patience with them is going to help them to learn patience from you..

Yours Truly for Awesome and Amazing Kids,

Sensei Randy Kopke

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