“Where is my child’s patience?”
I would ask myself this question constantly. It didn’t appear that he had any. Since Nate was a child, I noticed that he was lacking patience. It showed when he did not get his way. That is when he would have a tantrum, falling to the floor, while crying and biting his hand. This occurred no matter how much I would tell him to “wait.” My child, simply, had no patience.
I can still remember Nate, as young as 8 months old, demanding his bottle and crying uncontrollably when it wasn’t there the second he requested. Or when he began eating table food, how he would become annoyed that I was taking too long to place more food on his spoon. And as the years have moved forward, Nate has made some improvements with his ability to wait, however his impatience has not been completely cured.
I recently watched Nate become upset at me when he had to wait. He didn’t have a meltdown, but he was annoyed that we weren’t going out immediately after I placed his sneakers on his feet. He had to wait for me, which he didn’t like.
That is when the question, that I have asked myself for years filled my mind.
How can I continue to help Nate with his impatience?
This is how.
1- I must not give into the impatience. – This one is difficult for some parents. Sometimes it is easier to give in, because it settles my child, and it settles me. Yet, I’ve realized that giving Nate his way was not good. As a matter of fact, me giving into his impatience has hurt him in his residential facility. He is now learning that he can’t make demands and get them immediately.
2- I must have a Communication System. – With Nate, I noticed that some of his impatience was due to his inability to communicate. Some children with special needs are not able to share their thoughts in a way that is understandable. Throughout the years Nate has had many communication systems. He used PECS (Picture Exchange System) and Object Exchange System. He also learned some ASL (American Sign Language) signs. The communication systems helped us “talk” (non-verbally) about his needs and wants.
Just recently, this was reaffirmed to me that communication is very important. As I shared above, Nate was upset that we weren’t leaving the house after I put on his sneakers. Well, I communicated with him, why he had to wait. Since he is visually impaired, I let him feel that my sneakers were not on my feet. He immediately understood that once they were on me, we would leave. At that moment he calmed down and when we began leaving, he became happy. Just that simple act of communicating with my son, helped to calm, what could have been a bad situation.
3- I must have a Schedule. – Having a schedule for Nate has helped me greatly over the years. It wasn’t one that was mapped out on a board. Nate’s schedule was waking him up on time everyday, bathing, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and then going to school. On the weekends, the schedule was the same, but we would go swimming instead. And although our schedule may change and there are times, when things are relaxed, I know that when Nate is on his schedule, he is less likely to have a tantrum.
4- I must Pray. – Yes Pray! Not too long ago, a friend shared that someone told her to pray for her child’s temperament. Honestly, this was something I never considered. Now praying for my son’s temperament, his personality, character, and who he is as a person is now a part of my daily prayer time. I pray for Nate’s temperament and his ability to wait and to be calm. And I truly believe those prayers have helped decrease his behavior greatly.
And I hope and pray that this list will guide you, in giving your child the help they need to overcome their impatience.