"5 Ways to Develop More Patience with Children"
by Lori Radun


Which of the following situations send you over the edge? You ask your child to do something three times and he is still not listening. Your four year old is having a complete melt down over something you see as insignificant. You've had a long day and your teenager won't stop arguing with you. As moms, we all have a patience meter. The gauge goes up and down depending on our mood, our personality, and our triggers. If there is one thing that moms wish they had more of, its patience (and time, of course). Just like there are time management skills you can learn, there are also patience management skills.

Examine Your Expectations I know I am stating the obvious, but children are not adults. They don't think like adults, act like adults or even have the same brain development as adults. As a matter of fact, their brains are not fully developed until about the age of 23. The last part of the brain to develop is the part that is involved in rational decision making.

So it makes sense that the expectations we have of our children needs to be age appropriate and situation appropriate. To expect a child to always remember his homework or other items that belong to him is unrealistic. Many adults have a problem with forgetting things. If you know a two year old and a teenager's main focus is asserting their independence, then it can be helpful to put tantrums and strong wills into perspective. Sometimes we lose our patience because we are expecting our children to behave in a way they are simply not capable of. Take time to examine the situation and try to put yourself in your child's shoes. How might she be feeling? What is important to your child in the moment? How might her perspective be different than yours?

Don't Take Things Personally Kids are like us; imperfect. And they are going to do things that are seemingly directed right at us. Your child might stare you down and defiantly say "NO". He might not listen to your words of wisdom because he would rather do things his own way. Your daughter might even get pregnant, even though she knows how much it will hurt you. Some of a child's misbehavior may be intentional and some may be unintentional, but none of it is personal.

As soon as we become personally attached to our children's behavior, we begin using their behavior as a measurement of our adequacy as a mom. If they behave nicely, we are a great mom. If our children misbehave, we have somehow failed. These feelings of failure evoke an emotional reaction in us that can cause us to lose our patience. Instead of being emotionally involved in child misbehavior, practice being a curious observer. It's a great opportunity to learn more about your child as well as yourself. Your child may need to learn some new skills and you may need to look at changing some of your own behaviors. We are all creatures of habit and we're all learning how to master life. Taking child misbehavior personally will not serve you in finding a solution to the problem.

Adjust Your Parenting Style I don't believe there is a one size fits all style of parenting. Every child and every situation is different and learning to be flexible and open to what is working and what is not can make a world of difference in managing our patience. For instance, if you have a strong willed child, an authoritarian style of parenting is probably not going to be very effective. Being overly strict and controlling with a strong willed child will create more power struggles than your patience will be able to handle. That style of parenting, however, may work with a passive child.

Just like every child has a different personality, each situation needs to be treated independently. If you are in the middle of a situation that is escalating, examine your approach. Is what you are doing right now helping or hindering the situation? Be willing to adjust your approach to help the situation diffuse. There are always alternative solutions to losing our patience.

Develop a Consistent Discipline Strategy Most of the time when we lose our patience, it's because we have waited too long to discipline our children. If we think about the child behaviors that grate on our nerves, we usually think of behaviors such as whining, tantrums, arguing, not listening, and disrespectful talking. All of these and more are behaviors that need a consistent discipline strategy.

If you know your child has an issue with arguing, after examining your own tendency to argue, put a plan in place to handle this issue every time it comes up. For instance, if your child begins arguing with you, you patiently remind her that arguing is not allowed and if she continues she will be sent to her room. If she continues, send her to her room. If you do this consistently, she will eventually learn what the boundaries are. By being proactive and addressing the misbehavior immediately, you save yourself from the regret you feel when you lose your patience.

Take a Mommy Timeout Even moms can use a timeout. There are two ways to take advantage of this strategy. First, take a timeout in the middle of an emotionally charged situation. It is okay to walk away if you are beginning to lose your patience. You might think your child is winning the battle if you walk away, but the opposite is true. Your child wins the battle when you lose control of your emotions. Some battles are not worth fighting and some battles need a timeout. You can always go back when you are composed.

The second way to use timeout is to take regular time for you to engage in self-care. More often than not, moms lose their patience when they are tired and worn down. Know your limits and when it's time to take a mommy timeout. Go for a walk, have lunch with an inspiring friend, spend time in prayer/meditation or laugh yourself silly in a funny movie. Do whatever refuels and refreshes you. You will then return to motherhood with a whole new outlook and a healthy reserve of patience.

Patience is not something we are born with. It's a skill that is developed with time and practice. With the right approach and the right attitude, we can all learn patience. What is the hidden gift of learning to be more patient? Our children model our behavior.

Contact the Author

Lori Radun, The Momnificent! Coach, is a certified life coach, inspirational speaker and author of The Momnificent! Life – Healthy and Balanced Living for Busy Moms. A guru to conscious mothers everywhere, Lori’s mission is to help moms raise their energy, raise their morale, and raise their consciousness while raising great kids. Her website www.momnificent.com is a place where mothers go to receive expert advice and unconditional support on living magnificent lives.

Lori Radun

Site: http://www.momnificent.com

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