Parents and Patience

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As parents we sometimes feel guilty for losing our patience.  At times it is over the most ridiculous things.

I remember a trip my girls and I were getting ready to leave on. Wendy, the oldest, was just six and I was a single parent.  We got in the car, all packed, ready to go to Florida.  About two miles from home there was this five foot spider crawling on the ceiling, heading toward me as I was driving. Okay, the size might be an exaggeration, but I am not fond of spiders crawling toward me unless they are Daddy long legs, which I can tolerate.  I asked, well, maybe demanded that Wendy kill it.  She said she didn’t want to kill it.

I said, “Wendy, kill the spider.”

She said, “I don’t want to kill him, Mommy.”

And in deep frustration and at the end of my rope I said, “Kill that spider now or I am going to turn around and go home.”

Of course for a little girl wanting to go to Florida, this was the ultimate threat.  She took something and got the spider out of the car, now in tears and feeling completely powerless.  I stopped the car and apologized.

“You didn’t deserve to be talked to like that.”

“No.  I didn’t.”

“I am really sorry.  I am tired and it was just the last thing to put me over the edge.  Will you forgive me?”

“Sure Mom.  It’s okay.”

Kids have a way of forgiving us for almost anything…because they want and need to be loved, supported and appreciated for who they are.  Therefore, it serves us to set up an operating platform of rights in our family.  Rights for how we agree we deserve to be treated.  Communication about the reality that no matter where we go or what we do, people lose patience and act angry, frustrated or anxious.  We want our kids to learn how to stop reacting to those actions and instead, be a negotiator of peace.  Tomorrow we will look at how to do that.

Have a great day with your family.

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