P.E.A.C.E.F.U.L: Eight Components of a Peaceful Parent/Child Relationship
Component #1 Patience
If I were asked to identify eight components essential for transforming the relationship between a parent and child, what might they be? Suppose that you could only pick eight and no more. Which eight would you pick?
This series was written to identify what I believe to be the essential components to a peaceful parent/child relationship. Let me qualify the articles by saying that I believe the true catalyst to change in any relationship stems from us as individuals – as parents and professionals. In our relationship with our children it is essential that we take the first step in being reflective of our own internal states thereby giving us the ability, without the distortion of stress and fear, to see clearly the needs of our children.
Scott Rogers states in his book Mindful Parenting, it’s not about raising your child, it’s about you and me: “When we are mindful, we see what is before us; when we are not, we see what is in our mind.” One reason Rogers says time seems to pass so quickly is that we are not aware of the moment as it happens.
This is what I mean when I say stress causes us to “react from the past, obsess about the future, and miss the present. And when you are out of the present you are no longer here.” One could say that the more stress we have, the shorter our lives are—physically, due to the damage that stress does to the body, and mentally, due to not being present.
For instance, it has taken me approximately thirty minutes to write this introduction because my young daughter has interrupted me exactly seven times for various request, a hug, a kiss, a bit of rough housing, a search for her birth certificate, then mine, then my mothers, and most recently, nothing more than to throw her arms around my neck.
Are these eight components essential? Yeah, I think so!
#1 Patience is a process that comes from a deep sense of calmness and well-being. It is an absolute necessity in a parent’s daily interaction with a child. As a parent, when you are stressed, the task of being patient will be infinitely more difficult than when you are calm. This is not a gift. You do have to work at it.
In order to remain patient, you must first take into consideration your own stress that may be unconsciously driving your state of functioning. Next, you must make a concerted effort to be aware of your child’s needs at all times and consider what she may be feeling at any given moment.
And remember, you cannot be patient all of the time. When you do fail in the area of patience you can always apologize for raising your voice or lashing out, and promise to do better the next time. Now, between now and component #2, notice your ability to be patience. Become acutely aware of when you are hitting your window of tolerance and make a mental note of what the trigger is. Remember to be be patient with yourself in this exercise.