The checkout line at a grocery store. The waiting room in your doctor’s office. The trendy new restaurant in your neighborhood on a Saturday night. What do these places have in common? They test your patience. You put up with the inconvenience of waiting because of the eventual reward – a stocked refrigerator, a clean bill of health, a delicious meal shared with a loved one.
Parenting also requires a great deal of patience – which is just as much a skill as changing a diaper or putting together a crib.
Here are three techniques to help you work on being a patient parent.
1. Resist the temptation to take over.
Children are sponges when it comes to information and experiences. Take a step back and watch them enjoy the satisfaction of accomplishing something on their own. It’s okay if it takes your son five minutes to tie his shoe! Allow them the space to grow into individuals – not a junior version of you – by encouraging your children to try new things without your help.
2. Recognize that you’re a role model.
People act differently when they know someone’s watching them. For better or worse, your children see and hear everything you do when they’re with you. So next time the traffic light turns yellow, hit the brake instead of the gas pedal. Stop looking at your watch every 30 seconds while the barista is making your espresso. You don’t want your child to be the one throwing a tantrum because he has to wait for his turn on the slide at the playground.
3. Slow down.
Spend a few minutes really listening to your daughter’s detailed description of the finger painting she created in art class. Put down the iPad and watch your son try over and over again to do a perfect somersault. When you find yourself getting impatient, stop what you’re doing and really think about why you feel so rushed.
Most of the time you’ll have trouble coming up with a good answer.
By Matt Freid