Learning to Be More Patient

Are you learning to be more patient? I say learning because patience doesn’t just happen, it’s learned and practiced.

However, when we yell, it can cause anxiety in our children and in ourselves. As a teacher, I had many years to practice that patience before I had my own kids. With my classroom, I didn’t raise my voice or yell at my class. I just set rules in place and if they kids broke them, they had the consequence.

Well, four kids and a healthy dose of reality later, I am the first to admit that despite my best intentions, patience doesn’t always come easy to me. Yes, I would call myself more patient than most, but like I said… years of practice. However, some days I’m cranky and short-tempered. Other times I’m tired and overwhelmed. With responsibility comes stress and with stress comes overwhelm. That’s when my patience is tested.

On those days, when I’m not prepared or things aren’t going as planned, I have to practice my patience more than ever. However, I’ve learned to stop yelling in order to get our kids to listen and I know that you can, as well. The reason? Have you ever looked at the face of your kids when you yell? REALLY looked? It isn’t pretty. It downright breaks my heart to know that I’ve broken theirs.

I’m all for rules and consequences, but yelling doesn’t have to be involved. Honestly, I find it to be disrespectful and scary. So… I try not to yell. I try not to become that impatient that I feel out of control and let my anger get the best of me. The key is to work on it, because for most of us, patience is a learned skill.

Learning to be a More Patient Parent

Be Aware & take notice.

The first thing I suggest when setting out to become more patient is to be aware of those times when patience is thin. When I felt myself getting frustrated with the kids, I would silently make note of I and find the reason. Usually it was when something unexpected came into play: Someone was stopping by right while I was cleaning the house, or baseball practice was going to start 30 minutes earlier and I hadn’t even finished dinner yet.
I realized that I couldn’t change things that I wasn’t aware of and recognizing when I was impatient was a huge step toward being better.

Bedtime was another time when I find that patience was thin. By the end of the day, most of us have very little energy and very little patience left for everyone – including ourselves. Realizing that bedtime was a hard time gave me the opportunity to change some of the things that caused me the most frustration. Setting a clear routine & clear expectations gave me the freedom to say “I’m sorry- you came out of your bed, so tomorrow you will be going to bed ten minutes sooner. I’m sorry that you decided to go to bed sooner tomorrow.” Then sticking to it (KEY!) made it easier to not yell. They picked to break the rules, so they picked the consequences. I was just the enforcer.

Take a Time Out to Count and Breathe

A Mommy Time Out, if you will, is a great way to get yourself together if you lose your patience. Just walk away for 2 minutes, by yourself, and think. Is it worth yelling? Picture your face when you yell… do you want your kids to see you that way? As moms, we’re so very hard on ourselves and we don’t need to be. We all lose our patience, but trying to lose it less is all about recognizing when it will happen and stopping it so it doesn’t happen as much.

Speaking of giving yourself grace… DO IT. Remember that none of us were made to be perfect. Just be what you want to be. Personally, I want my kids to remember me as kind and helpful, so I aim for that goal. My mom didn’t yell. She was firm and had rules, but she was loving and kind. I aim to be the same way. Whatever you want for your family is what will work.

Put It All In Perspective

Being a patient parent isn’t easy, but working to become one benefits not only your kids, but yourself as well. When I find I’m really struggling, I try to put things into perspective.

Right now the kids may be pushing my buttons, but this phase of life will soon be gone. Right now the situation may be frustrating, but in an hour or two things may be different.

The thing about life with kids is that it’s constantly changing. Let go of the things you can’t control. And, instead of wishing your kids could do or be more, love and accept them just the way they are right now. That acceptance will go a long way to helping you become the patient, loving, kind parent you aspire to be.

When my patience runs thin, I try to remember that our children are growing every day. Soon these moments will be memories and I want to know that I handled them well, as best as I could.

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