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Tips from two saints on how to be more patient with your children

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Edifa - published on 04/28/21

Have patience with all things, but mostly have patience with yourself.

“I lose patience very easily! Come evening, it’s a rush: I have one hour and a half to check kids’ homework, start dinner and give them a bath. The smallest thing ticks me off, I get angry and start yelling,” admits Brigit, recounting an ordinary evening for many families.

As evenings and weekends go by, time seems to slip through our fingers, and with it our knack for handling everything. The double workload compromises the ability to step back. Parents realize they don’t have the necessary time to correct their mistakes. 

As “good” parents, we anticipate, sidestep, and encourage until we can’t take it, and then … we lose patience. In addition to the pace of family life, the idea is that we fulfill our role as both outstanding parents and managers. A solution for one mom was to cut back on her work hours. “This way, the evenings are calmer and we all profit.”

Although not all moms can afford it, giving up one or another activity for their kids can help gain more time, so an already busy schedule is not paralyzed by an unexpected incident. Being patient means accepting our limitations and those of our children. “Have patience with all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself,” stipulated St. Francis de Sales.   

 “Patience is the mother of charity”

It’s a question of time, but also of pride. “When my daughter is struggling with a math problem, I wonder how she can be so dense!” confesses Brett, a computer analyst. In a functioning filial relationship, there is an aspect of imparting knowledge. Confronted with our kids’ lack of knowledge, capacity, or experience, we may be assailed by a sense of having failed. It’s then that we are asked to demonstrate true love.

As we are reminded by St. Catherine of Siena, “patience is the mother of charity.” It underscores the purity of our attitude. When faced with a toddler struggling to put on his coat or a teen agonizing over a math problem that may seem so simple to you, be patient and tell your child: “I give you this time; I walk with you.” It’s elementary. Love requires patience.

Anne Gavini

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