Patience is often in short supply with your child – whatever it is that he wants, he wants it now. He is not just impatient with you, he’s also impatient with himself.
You’ve probably observed your child trying to complete his homework, but reaching a point where he can’t manage and then impatiently giving up.
For him to be patient, he has to have these personal characteristics:
A child who is able to look ahead to the future is more likely to have patience. He can see that a long-term goal is worth waiting for, and that if he isn’t prepared to wait, he won’t achieve it at all.
Without such understanding, any delay in reaching his target will result in his irritation, frustration and impatience.
If his temper is on a short fuse and his anger is easily triggered, then he will have very little patience when things go wrong.
One of the reasons your child is sometimes impatient is his lack of self-confidence. He has to have belief in his ability to achieve what he wants, or he won’t be prepared to wait.
Another big influence on your child’s level of patience is “modelling”. Your child is attached to you, and he adopts your personal characteristics. He may use phrases, facial expressions, and even the gait that you use.
This makes him feel more secure and closer to you. As this identification with you intensifies, your child gradually absorbs your attitudes and beliefs, selecting the characteristics that he finds most desirable.
Of course, your child also imitates your undesirable traits. So there’s no point in complaining about your impatient, demanding child if you display the same behaviour in the supermarket queue.
Like it or not, impatient parents usually have impatient children.
(Also read: 5 things not to say to your kid when you’re angry)
Now if you’re ready to be a positive role model for your kid, take the following steps to teach him patience.
Tell him why he should be prepared to wait his turn. He genuinely may not think about the other person’s point of view, and your comments may broaden his outlook.
Give him explanations in basic terms, so he can easily understand them.
Telling him: “It’s not nice to be impatient” is too vague and won’t have any impact on his behaviour, whereas saying: “When you are impatient, you upset the others who are also waiting” may be more practical.
(Also read: Is your child always angry? Here’s what to do)
The most effective way to deal with an outburst of impatience is to remain steady and calm, and to talk to your child in a relaxed voice.
For instance, play a board game with him so that he learns to wait his turn.
Or when it’s time for a drink of juice and a biscuit, make sure that your child isn’t always the first in line. He can be second or third to receive the snack, behind his friends or brothers and sisters.
Shifting your child’s attitude from impatience to patience can be hard work, but you’ll get there eventually if you try hard enough.