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Child Patiently holding a baby

The Gift of Patience

What kind of parent are you?

When you hold a baby in your arms for the first time, isn’t it an amazing, overwhelming feeling? Are you bursting with love? You wonder how this tiny miracle of life is going to grow up. You consider your hopes and ambitions for this miracle.

You may contemplate what kind of parent you will be. Maybe there are aspects of your mother and father you truly cherish and want to emulate. However, maybe there are some aspects that you promise yourself you will do differently. Who was the disciplinarian in your family? What was the tone in your household? Did you have a helicopter mom, hovering over your every move? Did you have a drill sergeant dad, criticizing how you performed? The goal is to be more of a consultant parent.

How can you be patient as you raise your child?

How can you demonstrate love without spoiling this child? How can you instill safety and security and promote the child’s appreciation? How can you teach this child to be respectful and cooperative while their own ideas, values and personality flourish?

The following article by Dr. Charles Fay, a Love and Logic Educator and Psychologist, highlights the value of being patient and expressing thankfulness.

The Gift of Patience

Over the past month or so, I’ve found myself feeling thankful… time and time again… for the patience I’ve received from others. It’s been a true gift.

It’s made me think of how each simple act of patience leaves others with hope. It’s made me realize how much I struggle with providing it to others. It’s made me realize, anew, that this gift is more valuable, and difficult to provide when we all need it the most.

Like most commodities, the value of patience increases with its scarcity.

When times get stressful, patience often goes into hiding. It gets lost in the shadows. As our minds try to wrap themselves around a world turned upside down, we begin to lose sight of what it means to love others and ourselves.

If you can lose your keys or your smartphone or anything else, you can
lose your patience. No one is immune.

If we’re all at risk of losing our patience, how can we up the odds of holding on to it for the sake of the ones we love?

Take good care of yourself by setting limits with others.

When we try to do too much for others, we often end up with very little to give. Healthy limits allow us to remain loving, and they keep us from becoming resentful. Examples include:

• I’ll be happy to help you when I see that you’ve already tried to figure it out for yourself.
• I’ll listen when your voice sounds calm like mine.
• I allow kids to keep the toys they pick up.

Take good care of yourself by setting limits with… yourself.

Another irony: When we’re critical and demanding with ourselves, we tend to share the favor. Few of us do it on purpose, but we do it nonetheless. We set unrealistic standards for ourselves, stress ourselves out and then find it difficult to provide patience to others. If this applies to you, here’s a question you may need to contemplate:

Would I feel okay treating others the way that I am treating myself?

Setting limits and boundaries with love and logic minimize feelings of resentment or negativity. When you maintain patience, stay in control, show your child who is boss without sounding “bossy”, you will emulate a positive role model. You will confirm that your child can flourish in an environment of love and respect. Gratitude becomes shared.

That is when you can pat yourself on the back with pride of a parenting job well-done!