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Teaching Your Child Patience and Endurance

Patience - A Virtue Kids Still Need

My daughter and I have one day looming in our minds.  We can both hardly think of anything as important to each of us in the next several weeks than what will be happening on that day.  I can’t wait for our moving day, and she cant’ wait until she’s finally off activity restriction from her surgery.  By chance, these to things will occur on the same exact day.

She has frequently complained of how boring it is to sit out of every physical activity at school.  She really started cranking up her complaint the other day when I offered, “And isn’t this an amazing opportunity to learn about being patient?”  She said, “Yeah….but it’s just….” and launched right back into her previous complaint.  Each time she started, I cut her off and repeated my statement until she stopped trying to say it.

I said there wasn’t one thing she could do to make the last day of restriction come any sooner.  Likewise, there wasn’t anything I could do to make our moving day come any sooner.  So, I said she could either spend that time learning to be patient by distracting herself, enjoying what she was able to do.  Or, she could spend her time getting better at complaining.  What was her choice going to be?

She got quiet for a moment, and then she said she didn’t really even like doing the complaining.  I agreed and said that it seems like complaining might make you feel better, but most of the time it doesn’t.  Instead, doing something positive or useful worked much better.  Despite her desire to keep complaining, she couldn’t really argue with that.

The reality of our culture today is that things keep getting faster and faster.  People expect things more instantaneously than ever before.  Fast food isn’t fast enough if you have to wait ten minutes.  Waiting five minutes for your computer with high speed internet to start up seems like forever.  You don’t want to save up cash for a big expense so you charge it on a credit card.

There are fewer and fewer opportunities to learn good solid patience in my opinion.  Parents have always needed to teach their kids about patience, but now it must be done more deliberately.  Hopefully, the teacher (that’s me) can learn the lesson as well.  I know we are both anticipating that fateful day not long in the future.

I’ll be doing my best to enjoy each and every day as I let go of our first home and prepare to embrace our new one.  She’ll hopefully use her newly found quiet time to catch up on reading or some creative thought.  I’m going to give my daughter a big high five on that day, congratulating both of us for gaining a healthy dose of patience.

Teaching Your Child Patience and Endurance

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP

Erika Krull, MS, LMHP is a practicing licensed mental health counselor in Nebraska.

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APA Reference
Krull, E. (2009). Teaching Your Child Patience and Endurance. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 23, 2020, from


Last updated: 21 Aug 2009
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