being patient

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How does one teach patience to a child?

Last night as I was lying in bed watching The Newsroom, my 8 year old came into the bedroom and told me she isn’t tired yet and that she is not ready to go to bed.  I told her quickly that she should be in bed as it is a school night.  She persisted, saying the same thing, “i am not tired and i am not ready to sleep yet”.  Knowing that music can lull her to sleep, I offered her to listen to some music.  She did.  But after 5 minutes, she again declared that she still isn’t sleepy.  Without any suggestion in mind, I threw her the question, “what is it that you want to do?” she said “I don’t know”.  This time she said that with a whining tone.  And instantly I have recognized a start of a crying fit.  In my mind, panic sets.  Oh dear… not now.  Not when it’s 9pm…not when her Dad isn’t home yet. I planned to stay calm.  I kept looking at the TV and at the same time tuning my mind out of the program I was watching.  I was busy thinking of a way to distract her.  But knowing my daughter’s temperament, I knew that there is no way I could console her.  And that was exactly what happened.

And the worst part of it was that, instead of sharing her my calmer energy,  I took in hers.

Care to guess what happened next?  No one got hurt.  But both our feelings were.

In a nutshell, I wasn’t patient last night just like my daughter. I am not proud of how I handled the situation.  And in the aftermath, as I lay on my bed, I have realized that the best way to teach your child to be patient is to practice it yourself.

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