‘I’m selfish, impatient and just a little insecure. I make mistakes, I’m out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” Marilyn Monroe.
It’s sometimes very tricky to be a patient parent isn’t it? It’s the hardest job in the world to keep calm when your child has broken a window, hasn’t slept all week or tipped pasta all over the floor! But no one ever said parenting would be easy and no one gives you a manual when your children are born. How can we be more patient as parents?
Here are my top 5 tips for being a patient parent.
1. It’s a stage.
My mum would forever tell me this but it was difficult to believe her when you’re in it! It’s so true though. As a mum of older teenagers, I now see that each stage in my children’s life was varied, brilliant yet sometimes very, very challenging! I especially found the 18 months to 3 years old stage hard followed by the 5 year old boy stage! The teenage stage is just so different to any other as it’s such an emotional time but it also be challenging to be a patient parent of teenagers. Each child is different and each child will prove challenging at some point as they grow up but that is a normal part of their development so try to remember this when things get tough.
2. They are not doing it on purpose.
My lovely friend once told me to see parenting as a job as it was the only way she could get through the difficult parts! I thought that was such good advice! You wouldn’t be on your phone for hours when you are at work so don’t do that when you have children. I’m not saying don’t take a break but, you know that feeling of -“I can’t do this anymore….” Well, think of parenting your children as a job and do the best you can. Your children are not being annoying/challenging/difficult on purpose! They are exploring the world around them. The other way to look at it is they are difficult with you because they feel they can be and that’s ok. Children often just want our time and attention and that is why they are being challenging. Engage with them, talk to them, play with them.
3. Breathe and hug.
I remember a terrible moment on holiday when my son was about 4. We hadn’t slept as the plane had been delayed and we hadn’t eaten properly either (the dreaded double whammy!). He absolutely kicked off, having a massive tantrum over something really random. Now my son was huge at 4 (he is over 6 foot 3 now as a 16 year old). He was strong too. I was on holiday without my Hubbie so I had to carry him to the car as he kept trying to run away from me and there was a very busy road. Let’s just say I locked him in the car for a few moments as I nursed bleeding arms where he had scratched me. I cried by the roadside taking huge gulps of air! My patience was in tatters and I was also tired and hungry! In the end, when he’d calmed down, I hugged him tight and we both cried together. Breathe and hug. I was cross but there was no point in being angry with him as he had lost control and I needed to be in control for the both of us. There was no point in me loosing control too. That would not be helpful to anyone! That day was awful but I learnt NEVER to be without adequate snacks!!
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself!
This is a tough one isn’t it? We worry about everything as parents because we just want our children to be happy and healthy. Being stressed out by the small stuff can make us impatient. Well sometimes, a packet of crisps followed by 3 satsuma may have to be tea on the way to parents evening or your child may have to go to school wearing his sisters socks. It’s ok. Don’t be too hard on yourself! Parents cannot be perfect all the time. I sometimes watch parents of the children in my class getting very stressed and they apologise to me because their child hasn’t got their trainers/book bag/snack. It’s ok! We’ll manage. The important things matter, the rest really doesn’t.
5. Walk away.
This is my newest one! You can’t walk away when your children are younger and being difficult but as Teenagers, this is your greatest strategy when things get really tough and you feel like you may lose it! Teenagers like to go on (and on) if they feel like they are right (which is all the time!). On occasion, I tend to take a deep breath and walk away. They know now that I’m done at this point! Later, when it’s all calmed down, I will go back and talk about whatever has been annoying them but by then, I’m calmer. To be honest, I rarely lose my patience in front of my children now as they are so much older. I think now they lose their patience with me!
I hope you have found these tips helpful.
A blog about my life in The Old House, a mum to teenagers, a primary school teacher and my passion for gardening.