Father of 1
I believe in patience and perspective. These have been two of the top things that have helped me along in my parenting journey. As the parents of a 2-year-old, my wife and I are constantly being “tested” by our daughter. She is verbal, active and very independent for her age. Like every other 2-year-old, she is at times unpredictable and seemingly irrational. And while she knows a lot of words, I understand (and constantly remind myself) she is a young child and does not fully realize the impact of the things she does or how those things might prompt us to react to her.
It’s so easy to get frustrated and yell at her, especially as she seemingly repeats infractions and irritations. It’s also easy to default to a more old-school interpretation of parenting from “how we were raised” which, most of the time, also equates to some version of yelling or being overly stern.
When I process the potential cumulative impact and importance of these moments, I’m left with a desire to be more deliberate and thoughtful in my interactions with my daughter. In the moments when I feel myself being triggered to react, I force myself to slow down and first evaluate the reaction I see coming. Then I question if it’s the best option or if there is a better one.
That act of slowing down is the patience. That brief instance of processing the options for responding and evaluating and weighing the benefits of each is the perspective. The whole thing takes just a few seconds. In those few seconds, I’m putting into practice a mindset that I hope will ultimately make me and my daughter better people. Anyone with kids knows how children observe and pick up the traits of their parents. At least in the short term, they have a way of becoming what they know and see.
I want my daughter to develop an appreciation for patience in her life. I want her to see it as a good thing. Patience is not a sign of weakness. I also want her to eventually develop a sensibility for perspective in her life. With enough practice, this will hopefully become second nature.
I know that being a parent only gets more complicated as children get older. Even now, there are times when I fall short of my own standard. But I am committed to doing my best at pursuing a path that I believe makes me a better father and positively impacts the life of my daughter for years to come.