Having Patience in Moments of Struggle

patience with kids

It’s so hard to be patient when your child is throwing a fit because you said no candy before dinner.

I know how hard it is to be patient when your child is taking forever to get ready for preschool or has lost their shoes and now you’re running late.

And it’s extremely hard to be patient at the end of the day when your kids refuse to eat their dinner or are acting silly at bath time or bedtime, refusing to cooperate with you. 

Your patience wears thin and now you’re feeling stressed, overworked and exhausted. You’re yearning for just 30 minutes of downtime to sit in silence, spend time with your spouse, or relax watching your favorite TV show or catch up with social media posts.

It’s moment like these when we’re struggling to manage family life that raising kids feels like an endless chore. We snap! We loose our minds and being patient, calm and kind with our kids goes out the door and we’re screaming at our kids.

The reality is that it is incredibly hard to be patient in moments of frustration and struggle with your kids. It’s a struggle we’re tested with almost daily (or multiple times every day). 

As parents we serve as models for our children in how to act in times of stress. Over time your children will adopt your behaviors and the way they were dealt with in times of stress as their own.

Your interactions with your child can either be patient, reflective and responsive driven by your goals and values, or reactive, driven by your feelings in the present moment. What will you model for your child?

Here are 5 things to help with having patience in moments of struggle

  1. Don’t take behavior issues personally. Look at misbehaviors as opportunities to help your child develop.
  2. Consider your limits and boundaries. Often, we get angry at our kids because we haven’t set a clear limit and now their behavior is annoying us and we’re getting angry. Set limits BEFORE you get angry and prevent the situation from escalating and your anger from erupting.
  3. Be aware of your anger rising. Stop what you are doing and take a deep breath. That breath is your pause button. It’s in this moment you can make the conscious choice to keep calm and remain reflective and responsive and be there for your child.
  4. Have a mantra. Having a mantra you can repeat to yourself during trying times can help restore your calm. My mantra when my kids were little was quietly singing over and over the song, “You are my sunshine – my only sunshine.” Choose a mantra that’s meaningful to you and calming for you (you’re welcome to use this song too).
  5. Wait before disciplining. Rather than giving in to your strong feelings and becoming reactive and punitive toward your child, take a ten minute time out of your own to calm yourself down. Come back when you can have a constructive response to your child and their behavior.
  6. Practice empathy.

We will all get angry at our children sometimes. We’ll get frustrated and we’ll be impatient. That’s life! You have 18 years of consistent parenting with your child before they’re maybe out the house or off to college. Make sure you’re balancing your times of impatience with more moment of patience, connection and responsive parenting.

Changing patterns of behavior is hard and it can be confusing and challenging to try new things. It’s also easy to give up when something new doesn’t work out and then to come up with plenty of excuses about why it doesn’t work.

I need you to know support is always available. If you relate to any of this information and want to learn more about how I can help you, or if you want to schedule a free phone conversation to see if my coaching is right for your family, please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Heart of Connecting

My work is dedicated to supporting parents and early childhood educators in understanding and reducing challenging behavior in young children at home and in the preschool classroom.

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