Kids and Patience

I screamed at my son this morning. Literally screamed at my five-year-old. To preface, he is at a stage where he demands everything. He refuses to say please and we are head to head when it comes to everything. My patience was wearing thin this morning. He screamed he wanted breakfast. I corrected him, and he asked nicely. I got him breakfast. He screamed he needed his eye drops. I corrected him, and he asked nicely. I got him his eye drops. He screamed the entire time I got him dressed. I corrected him, and he continued to scream. Finally, we get into the car. It was cold out so I started the car early to let it warm up but by the time we left, it wasn’t at a comfortable temperature yet. We start down the road and he is screaming at me to turn it off. Mind you it isn’t blowing out cold air, just lukewarm and it isn’t blowing in his face. I had it set on defrost. But he continues to scream. I lost it. I started screaming at him and asked him if he enjoyed it. I asked him if he would like it if I talked to him like this all the time. I explained that I don’t want to be around him when he talks to me like that. This is an uphill battle. This is in no way an excuse for my behavior. But I lost it.

In the raw of things, how many times have we been reduced to doing things we normally wouldn’t do because our patience was pushed to the limit? We look back at some of the things we did as a parent and ask ourselves why? That is not what a sane parent does. That is exactly how I said I would never act. My mother, God bless her, did her best but there are many things I am trying to do differently with my kids. Losing my patience is one of those. Our kids push their boundaries. That is how they learn boundaries. We need to be slow to anger but healthily enforce those boundaries. At that moment I would like to say that I did not enforce the limit healthily. The icing on the cake was, he fell asleep on the 20-minute ride to daycare shortly after the screaming session, which he never does. This brought to light that he wasn’t screaming at me because he was mad at me, he was screaming at me because he was exhausted. This doesn’t excuse his behavior but brings to light that even children have bad days where their patience is short.

God tells us not to provoke our children to anger by how we treat them but to bring them up in discipline. What does that mean to me? I believe it means on those days when they are extra tired or having a bad day, how would Jesus treat them? Would he scream back or walk over and say I understand you’re having a difficult time right now, let me hug you and find rest and comfort in me. God does that for every one of us as a mother, father, sister, and human so we can allow our littles to find rest and comfort in us until they are old enough to understand to look to God themselves.

When you are having a bad day or your patience is wearing thin, take a moment, breathe, and ask God to guide you. I know I will be working on that for some time to come, God willing.

“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it” Proverbs 22:6

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him” Psalm 127:3

“Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

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