“There are eggs all over the kitchen floor!”
“My daughter is out late again.”
“My toddler will not listen to me!”
Patience is the key to parenting but it is easy to lose it in the midst of a household drama. Anger is apt to rise when your children meet you with outright defiance or haughtiness. Anger and impatience will impair your thought process and likely lead to you making regrettable choices.
When your heart clenches up and you feel a frown coming, try these methods to calm yourself down and meet the problem with patience.
- Walk away. This may seem like the wrong thing to do when the kitchen floor is covered in eggs and your child is happily cracking more but giving yourself time to accept the situation also gives you time to prepare mentally for the clean up. You can quietly remove your child without gasps, facial expressions, or gestures that might frighten your child.
- Breathe. Arguments can quickly get out of hand between you and your child, since children, mostly teens, often feel the need to be defensive when questioned about recent breaking of the rules or misbehavior. Taking ten deep breathes will give you the space to calm down. Instead of interrogating your child, try discussing the problem instead without offensive and defensive sides to the conversation. If things begin to mount toward frustration again, take more deep breathes.
- Give yourself time to think. Your child might be refusing to pick up his toys but why is he refusing? Maybe he feels you are being pushy and his natural reaction is one of refusal. Or maybe your face is unconsciously aggressive. Whatever it is, identify the issue and change your approach accordingly. Perhaps help your child pick up the toys and suggest something else to do after the task is done, like make that special dinner for daddy you wanted the floor cleaned up for in the first place. Children love to be engaged and included.
The next time you feel your patience ebbing away, take a moment to either regain or retain it!