Dear Lord, grant me more patience. I pray this every day. ALL THE TIME.
The Bible says love is patient and kind…so why am I the least patient with the people I love the most???
I don’t know where you are on this, but many parents I know share a similar struggle. Parents of clients. Clients who are parents. Friends. Family. Me.
So what to do? Here are a few ideas I’ve known to work, both personally and in working with clients.
- Self-care. This is airplane mask theory. Put yours on before trying to assist other passengers. For me it means getting up earlier than my kids to work out, hiring out help (childcare, housecleaning, take out), and date night.
- Prepare. When is patience the hardest? For example, if you’re snapping at your child at dinner because he is being whiny, look at setting yourself up for success through planning. Maybe he needs a snack earlier so he’s not so hungry or maybe your family needs to go over the expectations regarding table manners. Either way, prep time in advance can help parents stay level-headed.
- Hit pause. I’m working on some mindfulness practice at the moment. For me it’s very basic, just pause to take a step back from the situation, breathe, and look at my thoughts and feelings in a way this is non-judgmental. It’s both really easy and really difficult.
- I use Conscious Discipline (www.consciousdiscipline.com) in teaching clients who are parents ways to manage themselves first so they can then respond to their children. Dr. Becky Bailey, the creator of Conscious Discipline, has some really sound ideas about parenting. And even though I know those strategies as a parent myself, I don’t always use them. Sometimes it’s good to go back for a refresher. These ideas stood out to me regarding patience:
- Power of Perception: No one can make you angry without your permission
- Power of Free Will: The only person you can change is you
- Power of Acceptance: The moment is as it is
- Power of Love: Choose to see the best in others
Wishing all the other parents out there patience. And should you find yourself not always using patience, know that 1) you’re in good company and 2) it’s never too late to start developing skills to become more patient.