have patience

How to Have Patience With Your Kids

Here’s a true story: My wife and I have terrific kids, but there was a time during our children’s teenage years when the bottom essentially fell out of our life together as a family. I’ll spare you the details, but we pretty much thought we’d failed on every level, failed to the extent that we would never be the parents of happy, fulfilled, independent adult children. If we needed anything during that time, we needed patience, and we needed to learn how to have patience with our kids.

My friend Kathy tried to encourage us: “I was rebellious as a young adult,” she said. “But my parents were patient. I eventually found my way. Your kids will too.” We didn’t need a timetable, what we needed was hope. Patience provides a place where hope can take root and grow.

Additionally, the practice of applied, hopeful, deliberate patience can facilitate all kinds of healing. Patience is a great investment. Here are five ways to have patience with your kids.

1. Don’t ask for patience, practice it:

Patience is a choice, so it’s something we have to decide to do rather than something we wish we had.

2. Think of patience as an intervention:

Patience is a tool we can apply to a situation. Once we understand the benefits of patience and choose to apply it, we won’t react with anger in most cases. We don’t magically find patience one day by tripping over it, we simply pick it up and use it.

3. Keep expectations age-appropriate and reasonable:

Parents don’t lose patience when a toddler takes several months to potty-train, and we wouldn’t expect a five-year-old to learn subtraction in one afternoon. Likewise, our teens don’t always think, process, or learn exactly on dad’s timetable. It takes Patience, Flexibility, and Humor

4. Invest more in the relationship than the result:

As dads, we can be overbearingly results-oriented. Patience tends to be a natural byproduct when our focus shifts to the relationship.

5. Restate, rethink, reevaluate, relax, and regroup:

Rather than bear down, restate your expectations, rethink your timetable, reevaluate your approach, relax in the space your decision for patience grants you, and then regroup. In other words, actively work the problem rather than simply reacting to your frustration.

Sound Off

What is your best strategy for keeping your patience with your kids?

Derek Maul

Derek Maul is the author of five books, a nationally recognized men’s resource, a committed encourager, and a pilgrim in progress. He divides his time between writing and traveling to speak about the fully engaged life.

  • Jeff Dela Cruz

    I’ve noticed that a lot of learning how to be more patient is a direct correlation on how we were raised as kids. The more strict the upbringing was resulted in less patience as in my case. The hard part is understanding that there are different ways to go about parenting, and that we must parent to the individual child’s “season”. A 4-year old will have more distractions than a 36-year old. Alas, it’s all to easy to revert to how our parents parented than to take the uphill road. Great read!

    • Derek Maul

      Thanks. This conversation about patience is now an hour long podcast at Joe Martin’s “Real Men Connect.” We talk about some of what you are describing. Peace – Derek

  • Cristy Maquilang

    Thanks for posting!

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Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is hard about being patient?”

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