Children Learn What They Live #9

~ by Dorothy Law Nolte ~


There will always be moments when we lose our patience with our children. But we can recover, regain our composure, apologize, and forgive ourselves.

By finding-and holding on to-the serenity that we need to be patient with our children, we can create a home in which the daily struggles of life may be challenging, but are not overwhelming.

Growing up in a family that teaches tolerance for different ways of doing things and different opinions prepares children to enter a world full of new ideas with greater openness and acceptance.

A tolerant attitude is usually a more relaxed one. Children thrive when they are allowed, and even encouraged, to be patient with their own mistakes and the 'goofs' of others.

When we take the time to listen to our children, patiently and carefully, we are teaching them how to be tolerant and helping them become a more understanding person.

We may need to apologize to our children - sometimes even several times a day - for being impatient with them. Fortunately, children are forgiving, especially with parents whose hearts are in the right place, and who are trying to do their best.

Our children will learn how to be tolerant of others by living in a family where differences are accepted and respected.

The lessons in tolerance that you model to your children will reach beyond your home – into the neighborhood, throughout the community, and out into the world.

When we allow plenty of time for our children to complete a task, rather than rushing them, we are demonstrating patience.

Being tolerant with your children doesn't mean seeing how much aggravation you can take. You have a right – indeed, an obligation – to set limits.

Saying "be patient" to your child isn't quite enough. As parents, we need to show them how to do so. When they're very young, we can help by distracting or entertaining them. When they're older, we can teach them to take deep breaths to calm themselves.

Ideally, tolerance means more than just "putting up with." It means accepting others and treating them with patience and kindness. This is what our children need from us.

Vague expressions of time – "in a little while," "in a few minutes," "soon" – are difficult for a small child to understand. Try making a connection between the amount of time a child must wait and concrete events in a real world – "when Baby wakes up," "after lunch," or "when the big hand is on the 12."

Don't get impatient with yourself when you're feeling impatient. That's a double whammy! Let it go and relax. You’re doing the best you can.

Don't leave things for the last minute and get caught in a rush. A certain amount of planning ahead makes maintaining a patient attitude much easier.

Enjoying each season of the year teaches young children about the passage of time and the stages of life, and it instills the idea that change is a natural part of life.

It's up to each of us, as parents, to become aware of our own prejudices so we don't teach them to our children. If we demonstrate tolerance toward others, the generations to come will have a better chance of living together in harmony and peace.

Most of us live with far too much tension and stress in our lives. We'll do better as parents if we're more patient with ourselves.

As parents, we need to be aware of how much we are pushing ourselves. Remember, we are teaching our children how to live by our example. Try listening to your own inner voice, and if you're being too hard on yourself, lighten up.

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