Thursday, November 10, 2005

Patience pondering

The following is a post that I left in response to a patience question on yahoo groups:

Yes, I would love to share some ideas on the patience topic. Your observation of thinking before you speak is a great thought to keepin mind. It has saved me many times and there are many times that Iwish I had employed it.

Also, you mentioned the challenge of parenting when you are tired or cranky. It is good to know when you are tired or your blood sugar is low. When I am operating in this mode I consider myself in the danger zone or Orange alert. I try to remain extra vigilant with my patience.
The classic patience technique is counting to 10 and taking deepbreaths. It is easy to say, but I think it is really hard to do in the heat of battle. It feels weird to stand up and walk out of the room without saying a word. It feels like you are giving in,somehow. But the several times I have utilized it, it has been a real homerun. It diffuses the situation and the adrenaline clears from my system.

Another physical cause of patience failure is when the kids are screaming and causing actually pain in your ears. I believe this is a biological reaction that causes us to become hyper alert.Adrenaline is again released into my system and I have to become consious of my actions. I have to consciously realize that the pain in my ears is simply temporary. My ears always feel better moments later.

Often times the kids will rope me into their arguments. One is crying because they were hit or one of the kids is yelling at their mother. The anger spreads through the room like wildfire. It is Ariel emotional master that can keep it cool in these situations. Don't take sides. I remind myself that this is not my anger, it is theirs. They are angry. If I can remain impartial and see things from all sides then I can offer healthy alternatives. Again if I am worried about my ears, or my peace and quiet then I am doomed. Also if I pick a side I am also not doing one party much of a service.

Another patience trigger is when I perceive that the kids are making work for myself or my wife. Intentionally spilling water. Making tons of noise after I have just put our youngest down. These actions really challenge me. I have to remember to breathe deep and recall that they are only children acting as children are supposed to. I also try to remember that the perceived work is seldom as much as I expect.

Whenever I put myself in the kids shoes I generally achieve the empathy that I need to successfully manage a challenging situation. I think of these things as patience "swing thoughts". At any time one of them may come in handy and I hope I am aware enough to bring it to the forefront of my mind.

Does anyone have any other good suggestions on patience?


Caleb said...

It might sound pretty morbid, but we've had a few scares regarding our children’s’ health and when I'm feeling tired or impatient, I remind myself of all our many blessings (we are all healthy and very fortunate). And while the moment might be difficult, the rewards of staying patient and helping the little one work through the problem while ensuring their emotional well being, is well worth the effort. I also find that these little “tests” at home help me maintain my perspective in other parts of my life.

DaveFlynn said...

That makes a lot of sense. Along those lines our kids won't be young forever. One way or another they will not be with us when they leave the house. We should enjoy these times now.
Yeah, the emotional coaching for the kids is so worth it. I try to envision 3 Ivy league grads heading off to the peace corps with their self confidence in tow. They will help the world much more than I will.
With regard to how they help in other aspects of life... I think it is hillarious to image someone at work folding their arms and yelling at me like my 5 year old does. If I can handle that scenario diplomatically, I can sure handle any problems with my coworkers.
Thanks for the comments.