Kids can be really trying. They may be adorable and yes, we love them with all our hearts and minds and souls, but that doesn’t mean we are always patient with them and understanding. The years may go by fast but the days are often long, tiring, and bedtime cannot come soon enough. Something I have been having to remind myself of lately is that my kids are worth being patient for. They are worth talking nicer to. They are worth listening to even when I do not want to listen. They are little but they are people and have thoughts and feeling and desires and ideas and they want to share them and be understood and be responded to, even when we feel it’s something silly or small or common sense.
When the kids are breaking a rule that I have been reminding them of all day long, it can become a huge struggle to be patient. But they are worth doing it for and your kids are too. When our kids are older, we don’t want their memory of us to be red faced and yelling about standing on the couch (for the 500th time) or of us yelling at them for a sibling fight that they were actually the victim of and not the initiator. Our kids deserve to be heard and loved on, even when we have had rough days. They deserve to be talked to like equals and reminded of the rules in love and kindness, and not with impatience and aggression. Even when our intentions are good and for their safety, if it comes out of our mouths in anger, the lesson of love is lost on our children.
When we talk our kids down and let ourselves snap, we are bullying our own children. We are taking advantage of our size and authority over them and using it against them. When we angrily grab them and move them to a place where they are less likely to get hurt- in our minds we are getting them to safety, but they see the aggression and all they are taught is that we can be rough and get physical to those smaller than us who do things we don’t like.
We are all human and it can be extremely difficult to get through a day without getting at all impatient and exasperated, but our kids are worth the effort. They are worth reminding ourselves that they need to be treated equally. They are not trying to upset us. They are not trying to mistreat the house, hurt their sibling (well, we hope not!), or put themselves in danger. They are just playing the way they play and being who they are meant to be at these young ages. As parents, there are better, nicer ways to remind our kids of the rules. There are more loving ways to move them to safety. If your tone and presence is impatient and frustrated, the message you are sending your child is one of impatience and frustration.
Remember, these little people may seem little right now but they will grow to be adults soon enough. What kind of adults are we trying to raise? I know I hope to raise adults who are kind, loving and patient. Adults who respect others and sympathize with others feelings. Adults with empathy and compassion. Adults with healthy coping mechanisms and aren’t easily brought to anger. In order to do that, I need to be the kind of adult to them I want them to become, because we are the biggest influence in their lives.
It takes work to change. It takes work, and thought, and purpose and intention to direct our actions when our emotions and exhaustion is getting the best of us. Our children are worth it, though. Knowing we made their day a little better. That they were yelled at less, laughed more, and had better lifelong examples of kindness instilled in them is worth it.