Can we blame the little guys for testing boundaries, challenging authority, or pushing the limits? After all, it’s in their job description. And it’s a big part of how they learn and grow. All good, but there are limits.
Naturally, it’s up to us parents to clearly define those limits. And, unless we’re programing little robots instead of raising creative and wonderfully flawed people, we have to expect the boundaries we set to be tested from time to time. This is where it gets fun.
How children push their boundaries, our reaction, their reassessment of the situation and subsequent attempts to apply what they’ve learned is all a natural, necessary part of their childhood development. Understanding that eliminates a lot of frustration.
Through the above process, our kids are learning about social norms and effective communication. They’re developing confidence and defining the world around them and their sense of self and how they fit in it.
OK, but what does all of this have to do with patience?
Patience, when combined with the understanding of a child’s current stage of development, provides a positive, enriching environment for a child to do his/her “job”: experiment and learn about him/herself and the world, to grow, to thrive.
It’s the parent’s job to guide, educate, and encourage the child, not obstruct development via punishment or restrict the experimental and educational process due to lack of understanding and impatience.
And what about those times when the kids are all but abusing our patience? (I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but they have been known, on occasion, to stretch a given inch into a light year.)
The following parenting tip, shared by tuned in parent Dulce in California, inspired this post, and it’s an excellent response to the question at hand:
When correcting a child, try to avoid complaining about the unwanted behavior. It often attracts more of the same. Instead, encourage the desired behavior with words and in deed. It’s more effective!
What a great reminder to stay positive! And it helps me be a more effective parent. What about you?
-Elle C. Mayberry
Child Development Info