Answer: My initial response to how to increase your patience was, “Even great parents are impatient from time to time!” Then I realized, that true as that statement may be, my answer would frustrate you so I decided to push on. Here are 5 things I think will help.
#1: Change the way you see your patience
Be honest with yourself. It’s pretty rare that someone is impatient 100% of the time. I know it certainly feels that way. But are you really impatient from sun up to sun down? It’s easy to blame yourself. However, shaming and blaming will not increase your patience.
Solution: Give yourself a break. You’re not a bad person. You’re a human being whose focus is spread way too thin.
#2: Live in the moment
Stop focusing on what will be on your plate in 20 minutes. Instead focus on what’s on your plate right now. This will help you far more than you realize. Your brain is crowded, and that causes your emotions to remain stuck on overdrive. Then when your sweet one innocently has a need, you explode because you can’t handle one-more-thing in that moment. Your brain and emotions are full.
Solution: Stop. Breathe. See what really requires your attention in the moment and spend your energy on that, and only that. Try this for one week. Frame it as an exercise. That way the cynical part of you that says, “She’s nuts. This won’t work. She doesn’t live the life I live.” can have a timeout for a week as you try this.
You’re tired. I know your pain. New research [Kurzweil Accelerating Intelligence News, “How the brain ‘takes out the trash’ while we sleep”] shows us that our brains have a cleaning system that is only activated in our sleep. It washes away, so to speak, what isn’t needed that’s accumulated during the day. So it follows that lack of sleep keeps our brains full causing our patience levels run dry.
Solution: If you can’t get more sleep during the week, then take turns on the weekends so each of you gets one day to sleep late.
Take a nap. “A short but intentional period of sleep during the day…produces measurable improvements in mood, alertness and performance.” [The Telegraph] Keep the nap to 15 minutes and no longer than 30, and watch your patience level increase.
Added sleep allows you to feel more like yourself, and that, in and of itself will increase your patience level.
What expectations do you have about family life? Do you believe that children shouldn’t misbehave? Do you believe children should listen the first time?
Solution: If any of that rings true, please read our free eBook, Why is Yelling My Go-To Tool? AND purchase Stop Reacting and Start Responding so you get a reality check on kids, parenting and solutions to help. Knowing what can and can’t be expected when raising kids will truly increase your patience.
Any parenting expert will tell you that unacknowledged emotions are the motivation behind misbehavior.
Solution: Look for the source of the feeling, what’s happening that’s causing your child to be sad, mad, frustrated, scared, etc. Don’t just pay attention to the end result, the misbehavior. When you get into the habit of looking for the emotions that motivate misbehavior you’ll not only have more patience, you’ll also be able to handle things in a much calmer way.
Parenting is not a perfect science. It changes from moment to moment. By staying in the now, getting more sleep, watching your expectations and paying attention to your child’s feelings, your patience will increase.
For 108 ideas that can help, read Stop Reacting and Start Responding: 108 Ways to Discipline Consciously and Become the Parent You Want to Be. For an in-depth roadmap for raising kids ages 5-18 listen to The BreakThrough Series, it address the details your questions reflect.
Happy Parenting! Go hug your kids!