It is no secret that life suddenly starts throwing nothing but fastballs and curveballs when you become a parent. At least that’s how it feels most of the time, and most likely, you feel like you’re swinging at the pitches blindly. As parents, we get to the point where we’re so tired of trying to make one hit that we end up getting frustrated and burnt-out. Unfortunately, this stress ends up showing itself in negative ways, like our interactions with our children. The patient parenting approach strives to adapt the way we respond to our children, and in turn, we end up feeling better.
But, being a patient parent is sometimes easier said than done, like when you discover your toddler playing fashion designer with your new dress and some magic markers. However, with a little focus on these four key areas, you can develop a patient parenting technique that works for you and your kids.
1. Stay Calm
Before you can be a more patient parent, you need to think about the basics; stay calm and breathe. Our kids have an incredible ability to push our buttons at all the wrong moments, but often, what really gets us worked up is our reaction. Although it’s challenging, focus on your response and try hard to take a breath before you react.
Whether your baby won’t go to bed, or your kid is having a meltdown in aisle three, or your toddler just won’t stop saying the word “why,” ask yourself, is this situation really the end-of-the-world? Is it worth you turning into a wild beast? Start to practice ways to help stay calm when these frustrating situations arise.
2. Relinquish Control
Many times, what tends to add to impatience is a sense that you’re losing control. When something doesn’t go as planned, yet you insist on trying to make it work, you likely end up getting even more aggravated and stressed. But, if you were able to give up the need to be in control and recognize that life will always throw you curveballs, you might be surprised to discover you don’t get as bent out of shape about the issue. Basically, you never know what might happen, so being able to roll with the punches can help you increase your patience in the long run.
3. Develop Empathy
You might already be working on teaching your child about empathy, but have you thought about your own sense of empathy? Sometimes, when you lose your cool with your kids, you might want to launch immediately into a lecture (or tirade), but what if you made the mindful decision to talk with your children instead of yell at them? Ask your child why he did what he did, what he was thinking, and try to see things from his perspective before you start to discuss the situation with him.
4. Practice Self-Care
It’s the absolute hardest thing for all moms to do, but it’s also the most important; take care of yourself. Think about it—if you’re tired, stressed, hungry, exhausted, and miserable, then how on earth can you have any hope of being patient? It’s no wonder you lose it if your kid even thinks about throwing her broccoli at the dog. As challenging as it is, self-care has to be a part of your life. Plus, if it helps, look at it as ultimately doing something for your kids because when you’re happy, they’re happy.
Indeed, patient and parenting are not often words you find in the same sentence when you’re a parent, but with a little focus and help from a resource like MamaZen, you can make patient parenting a way of life.