“Get up already.” My children had been listening to me call them for over an hour and I had yet to hear them stir. My frustration showed. I grunted and slammed down the pot I had been cleaning.
“Mom, you do not have to be so dramatic. I got up.” My oldest son had chosen that moment of my mini meltdown to make his appearance.
“I am grateful that you have gotten up, but the thing that makes me so frustrated is that I have to keep asking you over and over again.”
I heard a voice in my head that said, “Hm . . . you mean they do not always listen the first time you ask?” God seems to enjoy taking my teaching moments with my kids and turning them back on me. I got the message loud and clear. It was not about getting what I wanted done in that moment – but about being patient as I helped them grow into the men they are called to be. And it was a little about my own not listening that should make that patient communication easier.
How often do I hear the alarm or feel God stirring my heart and choose to curl back up in the covers instead of getting on up out of bed?
How many times have I heard the same lesson from God through the Sunday school class, the sermon or my own Bible study (and often all of them on the same day) only to turn around and forget everything I just heard?
Scripture abounds with examples of those that had to hear the lesson more than once before they caught on. Abraham had to be told multiple times that he would be a father. Jacob had to be told multiple times that he would be called Israel. The disciples heard Jesus say, “Again I say unto you” on more than one occasion.
Sometimes it takes a few times before the truth settles in.
If God can have patience with me in all of my struggles to get up, then I need to find a way to have patience with my children.
Tips for Growing Patience with Kids
1. Put your best foot forward. It will never work to be one of those “do as I say not as I do” kind of parents. The kids are watching. If I refuse to get up when my alarm goes off then how can I expect my kids to learn to get up? Teach first by example and then by words if you must.
2. Stop yelling. Each time I would yell at the boys to get up, my frustration would elevate. If I took a moment and walked into their rooms then I would be in a better position to maintain my own peace. Yelling only incites. Speak softly and it carries more weight.
3. Put in place the repercussions (and be sure you are willing to follow through). Let the kids know what is expected, when it is expected and what happens if those expectations are not met. Let that be the end of the discussion.
My children hear me – the information may just take a moment to settle in. If I live by example, keep my speech in check and let them know what happens if they are not doing what they are told then I will find that the settling in takes a little less time.