7 Ways to Practice Patience with Your Kids

Photo by: Lizzie Heiselt
Smile!
When you feel the frustration welling up to the point where it is almost out of control, using that last bit of reserve to smile can stimulate the tide to turn in the ... more 
Photo by: Lizzie Heiselt
Smile!
When you feel the frustration welling up to the point where it is almost out of control, using that last bit of reserve to smile can stimulate the tide to turn in the other direction. "Fake it till you make it" is just as true for these situations as it is for any other. It can keep you from feeling a lot of regret later, and even fake smiles can decrease your stress levels almost immediately.
Photo source: Lizzie Heiselt
Related: 7 reasons why it's good to be a "mean mom" less 
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Tue, Jan 14, 2014 4:36 PM EST
It happens to the most patient of us: we're going through our day, and even though it feels like the world is out to get us - a dish breaks, a playdate is canceled, the store does not have the one specific ingredient we needed to make that meal we'd been looking forward to for weeks - and then one of our kids innocently places the straw that breaks the camel's back. For just a moment the "mean mom" comes out, yells in frustration, and then huffs away, leaving a stunned child in her wake, and a load of guilt and regret on her own shoulders. I'm sure I'm not the only parent who has resolved and recommitted to being more patient with my kids this year. Yelling at them is something I have never wanted to do and have fought against their entire lives. I've always thought it did more harm than good, causing fear, diminishing their self-confidence and self-worth, and straining our relationship in the long run while also making us both feel horrible in the moment - and likely not even causing much of a change in their behavior, either then or in the future. Additionally, recent research has shown that yelling at kids can be just as bad for them as physical punishment, leading to depression and antisocial behavior. Oy! But yelling at kids is not just detrimental to their mental, emotional, and social development. It's physically taxing for parents, too. Expressing anger negatively can increase the stress hormone cortisol and lead to ailments like high blood pressure, which in turn can contribute to greater abdominal fat, heart attacks, strokes, and lower immunity. Sounds like a lose-lose to me. If we're going to stop yelling at our children, we should probably come up with a calmer, more productive, healthier way to approach those maddening situations. Here are some ideas on how to release the tension of the situation, maintain composure, and become a more authoritative and less reactionary parent. Maybe you'll even make some happy memories in the process. -By Lizzie Heiselt


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