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Patience in Parenting: Going, Going, Gone

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Parenting related image Photo: Getty Images

Patience is a virtue for a reason. If it were easy, like losing your temper and shouting at people in other cars on the highway who can't hear you, we'd all be patient all the time and it wouldn't be a virtue anymore.

Parenting is the ultimate exercise in patience; not only patience with your children and their endless normal changes and confusion or their issue laden changes and confusion or, for many folks, their deeply painful challenges and confusion; but also patience with our partners, our families and, most difficult of all, patience with ourselves.

When we lose patience with our children, nine times out of 10 they will forgive us; after all, they know where their bread is buttered and certainly don't want to risk losing the ever-important comfort of the bond between parent and child. Our partners and families may be slower to forgive us if we lose our patience with them but most often, they too will come around.

Parenting when your patience is going, going and then gone with yourself however, is most insidious. You can't stand the mixed messages you give. You want to put your foot down but you're afraid of making an unloving move. Or the opposite--you want to be loving but you find you simply can't hug your child one single time this evening; somehow you're just all hugged out. And it bothers you. You dream of leaving them and going off to Honduras or Venezuela; you imagine them grown every time you look at them--successful business people with wads of cash who never need you for anything.

You think of the grown children who never remember to call their mothers and you pine wistfully for that and wonder why on earth any mother would complain about it; to you it sounds like bliss.

And then you snap out of it and feel emotionally shattered, rushing to protect your children from the three raindrops that just began to fall, cursing the teacher who looked at them askance, dialing the numbers of the children in their class for them, knowing if only everyone of them knew how awesome your kid was they'd be best friends this second.

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.



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