Patient parenting is something that I am, admittedly, still working very hard on. Some days are great. Others? Well, I’m hiding in the bathroom, taking deep breaths because I can feel my last nerve slowly withering away. I am the furthest thing from a perfect mom, but I love my kids more than anything in the world. I decided that something needed to change so that I can be a better and more patient mom.

The first thing that you need to do is identify what stresses you out and gets you really frustrated. Pay really close attention over the next few days, note them in a journal or a notepad on your phone or computer. Realizing what makes you frustrated is probably one of the most important steps.

Are there any certain times of day that you get frustrated? I can feel my patience growing thin when it’s night and I’ve had a long day, or when I’m hungry. Just know that getting impatient and stressed is normal, you are only human, and you have human emotions.

Once you understand what your trigger is you can observe how you respond to it, physically and emotionally. Do you want to yell and cry? Does it feel like there is a rock sitting in your stomach? These observations can help you identify when you are starting to get way too stressed; realizing that can help you start to reverse the cycle of getting stressed and snapping.

One of the easiest ways that you can help to reverse the cycle is to take a deep breath, count to ten, then try it again. This will get your mind distracted so that you’re thinking of something other than what is frustrating you. It’s like a quick reboot for your mind, a clean slate. Once you have a clean slate you can try to tackle the problem again.

Try this when you’re not stressed as well. Practice makes perfect, and practicing will help to reinforce the technique in your mind.

Talking out your frustrations is another good way to be patient. Find a mom friend, whether she’s online or in person, and just talk about your frustrations. Getting it all off your chest is so important, because that will keep it from building up until you burst like a balloon with too much air. You’ll also probably find that your mom friend has some of the same frustrations as you. Maybe you can share tips back and forth of how you stay patient and calm when life gets chaotic.

When my kids are acting crazy, and I can feel myself getting more and more frustrated after telling them to stop seemingly a million times, we have a dance party. By acting silly not only am I distracting my mind and changing my outlook on the situation, I’m helping them channel their energy into a more positive outlook. It’s also a great bonding moment for you and your children because you’re doing something fun together.

Being a patient parent is a lot of work, and it will take a lot of practice. Don’t get frustrated with yourself when you have a bad day. Don’t beat yourself up because you, and your children, are human and you will have bad days. Practice being patient with not only your children, but yourself as well.

Stephanie Stinnett is the mother to three young kids in Roseburg.

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