7 Ways to be a More Patient Parent
If your child’s leisurely pace upsets you, her barrage of questions irritates you, you feel you’ve no time to explain things to her—then, you really need to practise becoming a more patient parent.
By Arun Sharma
It was 7:45 a.m. and Anita was racing against time to get ready and leave for office. She also had to drop her 10-year-old daughter Bittu at school, on her way. After placing the breakfast on the table, she called Bittu, who was getting ready in her room, and began having her breakfast.
Anita finished her breakfast; but, there was no sign of Bittu. Looking at the clock and cursing time for slipping away so quickly, she almost ran towards Bittu’s room to check on the reason for the delay.
The sight of what Bittu was doing made Anita lose her temper. Bittu was standing by the window happily watching a pair of doves.
While we can’t blame Anita for giving Bittu an earful, can we blame little Bittu?
It is tough to inculcate patience and tougher to remain patient, especially when dealing with children. However, for parents, it is a must to possess this virtue and model it.
Being patient while interacting with a child conveys to her that:
- She will be listened to with attention and compassion
- Her feelings will be validated
- Her doubts will be cleared
- Her needs will be addressed
On the other hand, when parents show impatience or lose their patience, the child:
- Feels stressed out and frustrated
- Loses confidence in parents
- Finds it difficult to connect with them
- Feels unsure of herself
As a parent, if practising patience isn’t your forte, then you should read our tips to develop this invaluable trait. Here they are:
- Identify your triggers: There is no single universal cause for an individual losing his patience. So, identify the triggers that challenge your calm disposition. For example, time of the day (in the morning when your child must get ready for school) or situations (your child is slow while eating). Knowing your triggers will help you come up with solutions to your problems.
- Analyse your child’s needs: Why does your child do certain things that make you lose your composure? Is he feeling neglected or bored or tired that he is acting in a particular way or doing certain things that irritate you? Taking care of your child’s unmet needs would take care of the problem.
- Connect with your child: Spend time with your child. Engage in conversations. This will help you understand what compels your child to do things that test your patience. During the times you spend together, encourage her to change her habits and tell her how much you would appreciate the change.
- Nurture your ‘self’: Along with shouldering your responsibilities, you also need to engage in things that would keep you emotionally healthy. For example, pursuing a hobby, going out with friends, or enjoying a few moments of solitude. Set aside some time for activities that rejuvenate your spirit and make you feel happy.
- Avoid meltdowns: When your child makes the going get tough, don’t get tough on him by giving him an earful. Move away from the scene of action for a few moments. Have a glass of water or stare out of the window. Taking a short break would help you calm down and get a grip on your temper.
- Count to 10: Close your eyes, take deep breaths and count to 10. And, while you’re doing this, chances are that your little offender would slip away. Humour apart, this is one of the oldest yet effective calming-down techniques that is still recommended and practised widely.
- Evaluate yourself: While trying to address external factors that create ripples in your fabric of forbearance, also evaluate your temperament. Ask yourself, “Am I hot-tempered?”, “Do I lose my cool often at the slightest provocation?” If you feel it is so, then seek professional help to learn how to manage your anger.
Parenting a child is not an easy task. Not only do children test our physical endurance, but some of the things they do can stretch our patience thin. During such stressful times, it is important to remind ourselves that children will challenge limits and we need to stay patient and guide them in the right direction.
To conclude, let us draw inspiration from this couplet –
Dheere dheere re mana, dheere sab kuch hoye;
Maali seenche sau ghada, ritu aaye phal hoye — Kabir Das (Fifteenth-century poet)
Here’s a loose translation of these lines:
Nature never works in haste. For, an eager gardener may irrigate a tree with 100 pots of water, but only when it’s time does the tree bear fruit.
As a parent, learn to be like the patient gardener and keep nurturing your little one…
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