Patience and Compassion Rise and Fall Together
Have you ever "tried to be more patient" with your child? How's that going for you? It's hard, right? Telling yourself to have the opposite feeling is like looking in the mirror and lying about what you see.
Being patient with your child is about how you act toward them in the moment. It's about losing your temper or keeping your cool. It's about insulting your child or creating a teachable moment. It's about disconnecting from or connecting to your child's heart.
Having compassion for your child is about how you feel toward them overall. It's about remembering their age, their needs, their developing brain, their pain, their anger, their point of view, their immature nature, and what they're dealing with.
When parents feel more compassionate for what their child is going through, they tend to be more patient with what their child is doing. When a parent realizes their child is acting out of fear or shame or powerlessness, they're more likely to feel sorry for their child than angry.
So, instead of telling yourself to be more patient, try inviting yourself to have more compassion for what your child might be experiencing. Try to notice what the world looks and feels like from your child's limited vantage point.
I keep this little chart on my fridge to help me (and my husband) remember.