Before we Indians become parents, we are rather judgmental of others and their methods of parenting. We make many claims such as “mera bachaa esaa nahi hoga”. Sounds familiar? Well, same was the case with me. And guess what? I was massively disappointed.
It is quite easy to judge when you haven’t even begun the parental journey. If you think your kid, who is brought up well, wouldn’t throw a tantrum in the market and embarrass the wits out of you, you are wrong. Any parent with a child will tell you that it doesn’t work that way. Children will irritate you. They have minds of their own, and yes eventually, they will have to listen to you because you are the parent. But accept that they have a mind of their own and you cannot always control them.
Sometimes, no matter how reasonable you are or understanding, they would act as the ultimate brats. Right parenting methods cannot control children entirely. Kids test your limits and can take you to the verge of your patience. It is just for a few years, they won’t stay that way forever. But if you are never patient with them, your relationship with them will suffer.
So here are a few ways that could help your child and you to become a more patient parent:
The first thing is acceptance. You have to accept the fact that children will want you to pull your hair. You cannot really reason with them like adults, they yell when they don’t get what they want and, in most cases, they don’t even know nor are able to communicate what they want.
But at the same time, they are our very own bundle of joy. They make us laugh, warm our hearts, and inspire us to be better people every day. So, rather than losing patience and feeling guilty later on, accept the fact that they cannot act like a responsible adult because they are not. They are children and all of the things which drive you nuts, won’t stay forever.
Take a break
It is important to take a break and get some me-time. Yeah, for mothers who have toddlers, this sounds like a dream. But come to think of it, if you spend all of your time with your child, when would you get a recharge? Yes, little kids need supervision all the time, but you can leave them in a safe zone with their toys and things. Lie down, read a book, catch your favorite show. And keep on checking on them as well.
If you spend every second of every minute with them, eventually you will run out of patience, and then you won’t be able to make a sound decision as strong emotion blocks rational thinking. Whenever you feel you are becoming angry, your mind and body would take about 30 minutes to fully calm down. Even if you think you have calmed down in ten minutes, you still might not have cooled down psychologically which means, you would get angry again, and lose your patience with your child.
Recognize what triggers you
I am sure most exhausted Indian mothers would say almost everything to that. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Take some time, and identify what triggers you and find out when do you lose your patience the most? Some get annoyed easily when they are tired, some lose it when they are hungry (come to think of it, we are toddlers in grown-up bodies). So, once you have recognized and understood what triggers you the most and makes you angry. You can follow the next tip.
Observe your Response
Now, that you have realized what triggers you, observe your actions. What do you do when you get triggered? Do your palms begin to sweat? Your heart rate gets increased? What runs in your mind?
He never listens to me. Why do I have to deal with this? Dheet hochuka yeh bilkul.
How do you act with your child then? Remember, all of these are like puzzle pieces and you when you are able to create a picture, it helps you in determining your tipping point. Like for example, when I lose it, I feel very anxious and feel my heart beating really fast.
So, when these things begin to happen, I know that I am about to lose my patience. Another thing mothers often do is going for the all-or-nothing thinking. They think in extremes and then often end up exaggerating how bad or good the situations are. We drive ourselves crazy with our overthinking and extreme thoughts.
Count to 10 (start again if necessary)
If you see that you are becoming angrier and angrier by the minute, try diverting your mind. Switch focus for a moment even if your little ones are in a hyper mode as if a puppy on caffeine. Breathe. Breathe in and out and count from one to ten. Take it slow and breathe out long and slow. Repeat the process a few times.
Our natural breathing response when we are angry is a sharp intake of breath, and we keep doing that. But when we are stressed or tired, we are slow in breathing out. So, one can say that it is nature’s way to help us de-stress. When you breathe out slowly, it will calm your nerves and soothe you. You would find yourself becoming calm gradually. You can even practice it while reading this. The counting thing is only to keep your mind engaged so, you don’t think about what is making you angry. This reduces your anger further.
Be patient with yourself too
You are human too. Repeat it to yourself “I am only human”. Stop trying to be the perfect parent. Because no one is. Stop blaming yourself that if you were the perfect parent, your child wouldn’t be acting like this or you would not lose patience this fast. Let me tell you a raaz ki baat, the idea of perfect parenting is a delusion. There is no such thing.
I mean wouldn’t be strange if you never got angry? That cannot be normal. Unless you have the perfect angel child who never pushes your buttons. So, give yourself a break. You are no superhero with superpowers. Give yourself a break and repeat to yourself that “I am only human”.
Try to see the bigger picture
When our children don’t listen to us, we tend to think that they are doing this on purpose. They are being difficult on will. What we forget is that young children aren’t too concerned about what people think about them. I wish more humans were like that). But, really they don’t care what will people say when they are wailing all the way dragging themselves along with the trolley in the supermarket.
It is not until your child is 5 or at least 7 years when they develop the ability to reason. The development process happens between 5 to 7 years of age when are able to appreciate or bother that other people might have a different point of view. What’s more? The prefrontal lobes of the brain do not get fully developed until you are 21 years old. And this says a lot about why teenagers act the way they do.
All children are and are supposed to be absolutely unreasonable at some point during their childhood. It is all part of growing up. Although it is not an excuse for bad behavior, just accept the fact that your children won’t be like this forever.
Practice being more patient
I am sure many mothers reading this would find that it is easy for me to say all this. But I have been through this. My children are all grown up now. You can get annoyed and snap at your children in the heat of the moment no matter how much you read stuff about being patient. What you can do is rehearse the typical thing which triggers you. Envision it in your mind and see yourself not reacting, or losing your patience. Remain calm and control. Train your brain to have more self-control. Eventually, you would see a considerable difference in yourself. Good luck.