Patience for Parents

Posted on May 28, 2012

Parents and children are incredibly different beings.  Adults are capable of self-control, deep thinking and reasoning, verbal communication, and regulation of emotions.  Children, on the other hand, are still learning adult mannerisms and rely on adults for their learning.  So why do we expect children to act like adults and understand our requests when child development is a process of physical, emotional and mental growth.

Yes, I agree, that the world of parenting would be much easier if our kids followed through on our requests without fighting back or pretending like they didn’t hear.  After weeks and months of struggling with our kids to comply with our requests, we are no longer patient and our kids are still not listening.

Below you will find some suggestions that will help you be patient and encourage your kids to use their listening skills. Remember, your kids are not capable of adult reasoning and understanding, so it takes a little extra to help them understand our desires.

Telling yourself it will only take 10 minutes to clean up after a three hour play session with every toy in your house is simply stress waiting to happen. 

Remind yourself that you could pick up all those toys in 10 minutes but that your kids will need extra time.  Their attention spans are much shorter than ours and I guarantee you that they will pick up about three toys before they want to quit or begin playing again with another toy.  Take the 10 minutes it would take you and multiply that by 3.  It’s always better to have extra time than not enough.  Sing a song while cleaning or turn clean up time into a race.  These ideas will help you remain patient and will allow everyone to clean up with low stress.  If you have extra time after cleaning, spend it talking with your kids, reading books, or just hugging on them.

Tell your kids when and where you need to be.    

Remind your kids of the schedule for the day.  The more they understand where you need to be the less likely they’ll throw a fit when it’s time to stop their activity.  Involve them in your plans and make them feel included in the day’s schedule.  Running a bunch of errands can be much more fun for kids when they are involved.  Split the items on your grocery list and let each of your children find certain items in the store.  Allow them to push the cart and place items in the cart.  If you are going numerous places in one day, let your kids pick a stop along the way.  Maybe they’ll want ice cream or want to play at the park on the way home.  Within reason, allow them to be creative with their requests.  Remember, listening to your kids isn’t giving in; it’s managing your stress and ability to be patient.

Walk away when you feel overwhelming stress, anger, or can no longer remain patient.

It is not helpful to yell at your kids if you yell because of stress or you are no longer patient.  When you feel impatient, let your kids know that you need to take a 5 minute break.  Tell them that you are feeling angry or stressed and want to calm down so you don’t yell.  This allows you time to cool down and shows your kids that they are important to you because you don’t want to yell at them.  It also teaches them about emotions and positive ways to manage their emotions.  The most important piece of walking away is that you walk back.  Resolve the situation with your kids and talk about creative ways to handle the situation better next time.  Share your emotions with your kids and speak with them about their own emotions.

Being patient with your children is one of the best gifts you can give them.  No parent is perfect so you won’t remain patient all the time, but remembering the tips above will help you manage your stress as you continue to teach your kids.  Be creative when you teach them and remember that any situation can be used to learn.

 

Written by: Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Associate at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are parent child relationships, grief and loss, and pregnancy related struggles.  If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie would be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com or (317) 474-6448 x 108.    

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==