I didn’t realize how impatient I was until I had children. My kids seemed to bring out all these hidden emotions inside of me! How can I be more patient with kids? Especially when they are pushing all my buttons.
“I’m bored. What can I do? This is so boring” – Child
“You can play outside, build a fort, color with sidewalk chalk…” – Mom
The child whines again “I don’t want to do any of that. That’s too boring. I have nothing to do…”
With 3 kids there is always noise in our house.
Living in these times of uncertainty my stress level is definitely heightened. So when the whining comes out I start to feeling my impatience rising.
I’m already on edge and my toddler is testing my patience.
I start getting angry and think to myself “Why can’t they just play!? This is so annoying.”
My attitude and thoughts quickly spiral out of control.
Have you ever been there?
If the answer is yes, you are normal. As moms there are moments where we feel frustrated. That’s inevitable.
But there are strategies we can use to be more patient with our toddlers and kids.
Ways to find peace in our homes during this stressful time. READ: How to Create Peaceful Homes Families Want to Come Home to
Losing Patience? Lost Your Temper? There is help!
I’m going to share three ways to remain calm and not lose your temper. You can be more patient with kids!
As a psychologist and mom I’ve found a way to manage my frustration and not lose my cool every day.
So what’s the first step?
We must check our thoughts.
Usually after I lose my temper and yell at my kids, they start crying.
One day as I say with my crying kid, I became tired of feeling angry. I realized, I need to take control of my thoughts.
When my thoughts spiral out of control that’s when the anger starts bubbling up and inevitably the yelling starts.
But how do I stop myself and actually do this in the heat of the moment?
The first step to changing your thoughts is to recognize what you are thinking.
I also want to share with you the cognitive triangle. This is something I learned as a graduate student in psychology and it changed my thought life forever.
Our thoughts, behavior and feelings are all connected. If we want to change how we are feeling (frustrated, overwhelmed) or change our behavior (yelling at kids) we can do this by changing our thoughts.
It sounds simple, I know. But when we take a step back and analyze our thoughts, we may realize many of our thoughts aren’t helpful or rational.
When I start to feel frustrated about all the snack asking or the “I’m bored” talk and I feel like I about to lose my patience, I take a step back.
I check my thoughts and tell myself “It’s okay if he whines a bit. Enforce your boundary (saying no the snack before dinner) and ignore the rest.”
Or especially in these days of heightened stress I tell myself “This is hard. It’s okay if they are a bit whiney. We will get through this together. What can I do right now to bring some joy back into our house?”
Instead of focusing on the negative, I start thinking helpful thoughts.
Step 2, we must identify our triggers.
Another thing, we must be aware of our own emotions and feelings. Are we at a boiling point? How are we feeling? Are there things we can do to stop ourselves before we get to this boiling point?
FIND YOUR TRIGGERS.
For me it’s feeling tired. When I’m not getting adequate sleep I much more likely to lose my temper.
Baseline anxiety is another one. When I’m anxious it impacts my entire house. Then I become less patient with kids.
So what are your triggers?
If sleep is a priority for you, then you need to start making it a priority.
If making dinner without interruption is a trigger, then brainstorm ways to handle this time of day before it happens. Can I put out a tray of fresh veggies for the kids to snack on? What about planning screen time during dinner prep?
Whatever your triggers are, take a step back and brainstorm solutions.
How can you improve these situations? Whether it’s preventative measures or things you can do in the moment, think about it.
Every now and then it’s good to take a self-analysis and see how you are doing. Don’t let your big feelings reach a boiling point.
Take a few moments before you reach your breaking point to refresh and reset.
Motherhood is hard. We can’t do this alone. If you need “me-time” to refresh try to find ways to add this into your day.
Whether it’s asking your spouse for help, your family or friends for a few hours of babysitting. Do it. Do it for yourself and your family.
It’s okay to ask for help or ask for a break. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you human.
Lastly finding perspective can change everything.
Another strategy that has helped me time and time again is to find perspective. This is so important when I find myself losing my patience and ready to scream at my kids.
I challenge my thoughts and tell myself this stage won’t last forever.
There will be a time when I can cook dinner without interruption. A time when I sleep the whole night through. Whatever stage you are in, it will won’t be like this forever.
Also remember you are not alone in this. It’s normal to have moments of confrontation. If you lose your temper, you are not a failure.
Sit down with your kids. Have an honest discussion about emotions and apologize if you need to.
Kids have moments of anger and mommy can have them too. Consider using one of these children’s books to explain feelings.
It’s unrealistic to think kids won’t ever push back or annoy you.
It’s a normal part of life. But you can learn the tools you need to remain calm and parent your child joyfully.
Finally, be honest with yourself. Talk to your spouse about it. If you need more professional help, do not be ashamed. Talk to a counselor or doctor about your feelings and get the help you need.
So what about you? Do you lose your patience with kids? How do you deal with your anger? Impatience?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! You can be more patient with kids!
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