I have had more than a few parenting meltdowns in my long career as a mother. Some were because I was personally stressed and couldn’t live up to my parenting expectations at the time. Sometimes my kids needed down time and couldn’t uphold my expectations of them. Sometimes I was tired, they were hormonal and all our short fuses led to hot tempers. Other times it was out of frustration of not getting my way and feeling like my parenting was a failure. Sometimes I was just plain scared of being out of control of them and scared because I didn’t know what to do to keep them safe and happy. The bottom line is I never felt justified when I lost my cool or felt like throwing in the towel, because I was supposed to be the adult and know what I’m doing. Here are some ways of how to be more patient when parenting teens.
How to Be More Patient When Parenting Teens
1.) Try not to judge yourself or your parenting in the moment. At times when we are in the middle of parenting and things are going south, we can instantly start questioning the effectiveness of our parenting. When our teen is saying heated things and slamming doors we can really feel like a failure. This is not only counterproductive but it really has no place in positive parenting at that time. This can lead to our feeling angry or defensive and losing our patience. Save your pity party for another day and focus on what you can do in the moment to be a good parent right then.
2.) Be aware of when you are being manipulated. It is just a fact that teens might try and exploit our weaknesses to get their way. I am not making them out to be monsters but we all learn what triggers the other members of our family. Sometimes our teens will try to push our buttons to get what they want and it an lead to us being tricked into losing control. Maybe your teen knows that guilt will cause you to lose your patience and give in to their requests even against your better judgement. Perhaps your teen uses something against you that makes you feel diminished and your temper flares as compensation. Know your triggers and keep your calm if your teen uses them to try and get you to go against what you know and feel is best for them.
3.) Know that it is not a weakness to take a time out. Sometimes when we are really getting worked up and can feel the anger begin to boil. Maybe your palms sweat or your ears ring or your muscles get tense. Or maybe you are just so upset that you know you might say or do something that you will regret later. Rather than screaming that your teen is grounded for a year or throwing their phone in the trash can, tell your teen to wait for you while you take some time to cool down. Having something planned ahead that you and your teen agree on like “I need 5” or “time out” is the best way to immediately diffuse a volatile situation. Use this time to breathe deeply and figure out a strategy while you give yourself a little pep talk. Come back with a plan in place and your patience in check.
How do you practice patience when parenting your teen?