Tantrums, attention seeking, consistent crying, noise, refusing to listen to you – come to think of it, children are quite difficult to deal with. Sometimes understanding your little bundle of joy drains you out of your patience. You find yourself being harsh, shouting or even worse, beating up your little one, only to regret it later. But guess what? You are not alone. Patience in parenting is something we all struggle with and it is something most people develop only with time. By patience, we mean remaining calm, even if your child is acting out in an extreme manner. It means you be the bigger one and keep your emotions in check AND respond in the most appropriate manner rather than yelling, cursing, or saying things you will regret later on.
One might wonder if it is even possible to achieve that level of patience. The answer to that is YES. Patience in parenting is an achievable goal, but you need to have an action plan to achieve it.
Action Plan: How to practice patience in parenting?
- Know what triggers you
You are only human and your certain situations can make you lose your cool. Identify those triggers. What is it about your child that sparks your anger? It could be your kids squabbling over something minor or your daughter asking for something for the umpteenth time when you’ve already said NO. Also make it a point to understand when you are most likely triggered – when you are running late to work, when you are hungry, when you are exhausted beyond measure? Once you understand your triggers, you’re ready to move to step 2!
- Understand how you respond
The more you understand yourself, the more you’ll master patience in parenting. So what goes on in your mind when you hit your trigger? What thoughts do you have? How do you respond when this happens? All these answers are the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle which when put together, define YOU.
- Strategize and gain control
Once you’ve understood YOURSELF, it’s time to gain control. Through the Qurán, Allah repeatedly emphasizes the value of patience – “So be patient with gracious patience.” (70:5), “Verily Allah is with the patient” (2:153). Examples are many. The crux is to do whatever it takes to develop that patience. The first thing you can do is pre-plan. Think about how you can improve your response to your trigger situations? Maybe allow yourself some time before you respond?
The next thing is your “In the moment strategy” – when it’s happening, step away, do some deep breathing or anything that diverts your mind.
And finally, after the tempest has stopped raging, sit with your child and go over the situation. Explain your stance to them in a manner they will understand and apologize if you do happen to lose your patience.
- Have some ME-TIME.
Take care of yourself. Often we put in so much effort for our children that we forget that taking care of ourselves is as important as taking care of them (much to the detriment of ourselves and our children’s emotional well being). So take time to do things you love – it could be a night out with friends, a hobby you’ve always cherished.
Also Read: Top 7 tips for Muslim parents