When you’re in a storm with your children it’s hard to see the other side. Your children are bickering or demanding your attention, and a myriad of behaviours that send you into a state of stress. How can you see clearly? How can you make sense of their behaviour? Why would you even want to understand them? They should behave better……particularly at their age…and after months or years of telling them how to behave.

You can ride the storm and eventually it will go away, perhaps to be replaced by another in swift succession. You can get advice from your friends who may tell you to come down harder on your kids and give them stronger sanctions. That will work for a time..perhaps.

What you really want is a game plan and preventative measures. You want your children to be good for you just because you know they can when they want to. You don’t want to be so stressed by their behaviour that you end up shouting at them. You want some peace for yourself and you want the storms, inevitable as they are, to be small and manageable.

When you can be the container for your childrens’ emotional storm, when you can hold them in the place where they feel their anger and sadness, when you can listen without judgement to their fears and upsets, when you can hold off from getting yourself into a state of disarray, when you can be responsible for your childrens’ natural outbursts, when you have the patience to do all of this, you will see the other side.

A child who is lead well during their most challenging moments has the opportunity to transform their behaviour. On the other side of patience your child will reveal their true nature, which is a wonder to behold. The love in their eyes, their embrace, their creative energy released in questions and play, is the prize for any parent who can be patient.

By Laura Newman MSc