Positive Parenting: 3 Parenting Strategies for Greater Patience

As parents, we all know how difficult it can be to keep our patience with our vivacious children, especially in their innocent moments of exploring their world at full throttle. Parenting with patience can be challenging when our child is misbehaving, especially when we don't know how to redirect children's behavior without squelching their spirits.

What parenting strategies lead to positive discipline and greater patience? How do we prevent losing it with our children? And are you a bad mom when you are impatient?

An infant sleeping on her father's chestParenting Strategies and Tips to Increase Patience

I remember a dad telling me one time of a blissful experience of his infant son sleeping on his chest. He was reveling in the miracle of life and how awesome it was being a dad ... until his stomach growled and his hunger turned his pleasant thoughts to anxious desire and impatience.

Impatience sprouts from our perspective.

In the above scenario, the only thing that changed was the dad's perspective and the focus of his attention. Change your perspective, change your response!

Below are tips and parenting strategies to help you respond to your children with love and patience.

Parenting Tip #1: Shift Your Perspective

If you're frustrated with your child and you want to express calmness and patience with your child's behavior, shift your perspective. Chances are that you're perceiving your child's behavior or the situation from a negative stance.

I remember when I was a young mother and stressed. Some days felt like my children were trying to make my life difficult. Of course, they weren't; they were just being children.

What we see as parents is a lot like magicians tricking their audience by directing people's attention to seeing only what they want them to see. They use deception with every trick and exploit our visual limitations and the way our brains work. The audience misses things happening on stage because they have been looking in the wrong places. Preconceived ideas or mindsets can be tricking you, too.

Check in with what you're saying to yourself. Make sure that you're not seeing your child inaccurately. Shift your perspective, and you will shift the way you feel. For instance, instead of "I wonder how Michael is going to get into trouble today," reframe his behavior and say, "I love Michael's strong and energetic personality!" Then make sure you model respect and give him tools to deal with his temperament trait.

Related reading: "Why It's Critical to Understand Your Child's Temperament."

Stressed mother losing her patience

Parenting Tip #2: Get Curious.

When my daughter was only five and her younger brother three, they were sitting at the dining room table enjoying snacks. My son had been given a Rice-Krispie treat from a friend that was tightly wrapped in cellophane. After leaving the room to change out the laundry, I returned to find the treat in my daughter's hands. Immediately I jumped to the conclusion that she had taken it from her brother for her own enjoyment. She hadn't: "I was only helping him unwrap it, Mom." Boy, did I learn to get curious instead of assuming that day!

Get curious and ask your child what they are trying to accomplish with their actions. Often, their answers will pleasantly surprise you!

Parenting Tip #3: Act Early Before You Get Impatient

A common mistake that many parents make is to be too nice for too long. Then impatience and irritation build, and it’s more likely for a parent to react harshly. Of course, we want to be kind and refrain from yelling, but sometimes, it seems children ignore us when we’re nice. If you assume your child is deliberately ignoring you, you’ll feel disrespected. However, the child may just be absorbed in play and not intentionally ignoring you.

Try acting sooner with love AND firmness! Don’t wait until your frustration causes you to say or do something that you’ll regret. Sounds simple? It is, but it takes practice to catch yourself early when you sense the first sign of irritation. The sooner you act, the less likely your emotions will build.

Related reading: "Create Healthy and Happy Life with Effective Boundaries"

You're Growing in Patience When...

If you can remain calm when . . .
your 6-month-old baby bites you while nursing with his newly discovered teeth and giggles with glee when you jump from the pain!
…you’re growing in patience

If you can remain calm when . . .
your preschooler sits on a newly purchased bakery cake because he thinks the cake box looks like a cool booster seat!
…you’re growing in patience

If you can remain calm when . . .
your five-year-old takes a brand new book from Grandma, titled “Bathtub Book of Science” and dunks it in his bath water believing it is to be some kind of experiment!
…you’re growing in patience

f you can remain calm when . . .
Your teenage son calls you with his first car accident and you have to ride your bike to the scene because it's your family car!
…you’re growing in patience

The above stories are a sampling of my own experiences as a parent. Feel free to send me stories about your own parenting adventures!

P.S. And NO! You're not a bad mom even when you lose your patience—you're human!

If you'd like parent coaching and support along the way, call us at Heartmanity 406-577-2100 or email support@Heartmanity.com

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Jennifer A. Williams / Parent CoachJennifer A. Williams / Parent Coach
Jennifer’s mission is to create thriving relationships at home and work. She coaches children, teens, and their parents in her private practice located in Bozeman, Montana. Jennifer is a parenting instructor of Redirecting Children's Behavior and an Instructor Trainer for the International Network for Children and Families. She's been a parent educator for the past twenty years. Jennifer is also the author of "The Building Blocks of Emotional Intelligence for Children" and co-author of "Hacking the Teen Brain" courses. She frequents homes and schools as regularly as a behavioral consultant to help with challenging behaviors. Jennifer is married to her beloved husband of 39 years and is the mother of three grown children.

Posted in Perfectly Imperfect Parenting