I feel, as a parent, quite fortunate to have stumbled across an excellent article with advice on how to become a patient parent. As a parent, one of the most important qualities one must acquire is patience. Losing ones temper with a son or daughter never goes well and does not help matters in any situation. It is certainly not helpful when it ends with screaming from the parent or, worse, any kind of violence be it in spanking form or otherwise.
The guide to becoming a patient parent is housed at a blog that is all about Zen habits and it makes sense for it to be there — zen is often associated with calm and patience, like a person sitting peacefully by a steadily flowing river. Unfortunately, I suffer from a strong lack of patience, particularly when it comes to how long things take — and even more so when I have a preconceived notion on how long they should take.
For example, there is the act of putting our son to sleep. The first few months of evenings were maddening, because there was absolutely no consistency in getting Chaim Yosef to sleep. On some nights it would take half an hour to get him to sleep, and he would be up every two hours after that. On other nights, he would take even up to two hours to get to sleep, and then he might sleep through the night — or he might still be up every two hours, crying and crabby.
When my wife would ask me to rock him to sleep, sometimes even the third time that evening, she would sharply remind me to stay calm and patient if she observed me rocking him in a more aggravated manner. She is very sharp that way in her observation.
In any case, I wish that I had found this post sooner, because it is chock full of fantastic advice, much of which I have been using. To me, one section stood out in particular —
How does this help? When I’m about to say something to my kids, when I can remember, I ask myself, “How does this help my child?” This helps me to re-focus on what’s really important. Yelling or getting angry rarely helps any situation.
When I feel that I am about to get impatient over something like it taking seemingly too long for Chaim Yosef to fall asleep, this is exactly what I ask myself. How does it help? It doesn’t help him, and it might even keep him up longer if I am not lovingly rocking him.
As Chaim grows older and he begins to look to us more for guidance this is even more critical to follow. Impatient parents showing off impatient tendencies — this is not the example we wish to set for Chaim Yosef. How are we going to sit and tell him how important it is to be patient and then act out in the opposite manner?
Parent or not I believe that this is an excellent guide to patience — definitely worth a read!