I got some feedback on the recent post I wrote sharing tips on how to discipline your child, focusing on positive parenting. One of the tips was to be more patient and on Facebook a whole bunch of moms commented about how that is the hardest part.
I totally agree with all of you. I am far from the most patient mother and the thing is that the more stressed out, tired and impatient I am the more my kids act out. I am sure that you have experienced the same thing.
My children’s moods seem tied in to mine. The happier and more relaxed I am the easier my kids are. When I am at the end of my patience and really need my kids to behave they just don’t.
My parenting journey is not a smooth journey. It is up and down and all around with curve balls coming at me when I least expect it.
One of the things that has helped me the most is to learn how to be more patient. When I start feeling stressed out and like I am losing it a little it is important for me to know how to balance myself out instead of trying to reel my kids in. If I can successfully balance myself then my kids follow suit.
Here are some things I have found really help me to be more patient.
1 Recognizing Triggers
What exactly is it that pushes me over into that crazy zone? When I can recognize these things I can see them coming and consciously tell myself not to get upset by it.
This is a big one, when I get up in the morning and tell myself not to get upset when my kids take their time getting ready I find it a lot easier to be patient with them.
I now have a long list of things that my children do every day that try my patience but now that I have my list and I know it is coming it doesn’t get to me as much.
Another important thing to think about is what is it about this behavior that upsets me so much and how much of it really has to do with my kids? Very often the things that upset me have very little to do with my children but to do with unresolved things in my own past.
This technique can be applied to anything in my life really. Most times I get upset it has very little to do with the actual incident that has happened and more to do with something else in my past.
2 Be Proactive and Positive
Once you have identified your triggers decide how you will act in the future when those things happen, in a more proactive and positive way.
A good example of this is that every morning for months I would have to beg my son to brush his teeth. When I finally got him into the bathroom to brush his teeth he would throw his toothbrush with toothpaste at me and mess on my clothes.
Then I would lose it, yes every morning. Like a disc stuck on repeat. We got stuck in a rut.
One morning I changed my tactic. The first thing I did was not get dressed until after we were all finished in the bathroom. When I got him into the bathroom I quietly told him if he threw his toothbrush I would take away his favorite toy for a day.
He threw his toothbrush at me dirtying my pj’s. I took away his favorite toy without a fuss and no shouting. Then I got dressed.
The fact that I didn’t have toothpaste streaks on my clean clothes made me start my day on a better note and gave me a sense of accomplishment that the morning had gone smoother than usual.
The next morning I gave him back his toy and told him to come and brush his teeth. He came and brushed his teeth without any fuss. We have not had another incident.
If something is not working change it, simple.
Make a plan and stick to it.
3 Don’t Sweat the Small Things
It is also essential to decide what is worth trying to change and what isn’t. There have been days that all I do all day is tell my kids not to do things and correct their behavior.
This can do my nut in. Rather decide on what is really important and what should just be left for another day.
It is not nice for you to hear your own voice moaning all day, and on that note it is not nice for your kids to hear you moaning all day.
You don’t have to correct all your kids behavior in one day and you can’t. That much is obvious already.
So work on one or two things at a time and consciously decide to let some things slide for a while.
4 Have More Fun With Your Kids
Kids need attention and the times that they are really pushing your patience is most likely when they are trying to get some attention.
If your patience is low and everything seems to be falling apart perhaps it is a good time to take a step back and just go have some fun with your kids.
So just stop what you are doing and do something fun with your kids.
This works like a charm. Yes whatever it is you were trying to do will have to wait but really, if you keep fighting to get it done you may achieve it…. but at what expense?
I had a day about 6 months back when I was trying to get supper cooked and I also was trying to get some work finished at the same time and my kids were fighting for my attention.
I felt like I was about to explode with irritation and I very nearly did.
Instead I looked at them and said “let’s go build a sand castle”. Their faces lit up with excitement, happiness and surprise.
I can tell you that just took all the pressure off immediately. I turned off the oven and we went to play in the sand.
We landed up eating sandwiches for supper instead of the healthy meal I was fighting to prepare, but we were a happy family again and really that is what is important isn’t it?
5 Look After Yourself
How much of yourself do you give to your family? And who looks after you?
Chances are high that like me, you give almost everything you have to looking after your family and there is just not much coming back.
You cannot keep just giving and not receiving anything back. It really is important to take some time out for yourself to do something you enjoy or to do something that relaxes you.
It is important to look after yourself so that you can in turn look after your family to the best of your ability. If nobody is filling up your reserves how can you really expect yourself to be a happy and patient mom?
Taking time out to pamper yourself every now and then is not being selfish, it is actually absolutely essential.
So if you have been daydreaming about having a full body massage but you never seem to have the time, make the time available just like you would somehow make time available to take your child to the doctor if you needed to.
Quite frankly you need it and you deserve it!
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Also published on Medium.