Staying Patient with Teens: 5 Game-Changing Suggestions for Parents

Patience is one of the most important skills to learn as a parent, yet one of the most difficult ones to implement. How many times have you wanted to grab your teen and shake them, or just say “Because I said so” rather than dealing with the issue at hand with composure?

As a parent, we can think of patience as the ability to deal with difficult situations or problems in a calm and rational manner. Feelings may still be a part of the thought processes and the discussion at hand, but they’re able to be brought to the table in a level-headed manner. Staying patient with teens also involves a level of compassion and love for self. 

Science shows us how important patience is to teen and adolescent development. A 2023 study showed that children who had parents who emphasized patience had higher levels of motivation and greater self-esteem than children who did not. Studies have also shown that when parents use patience, it is a modeled behavior for children, in turn making them calm and patient. It has also been proven that being patient with our children, leads to us being more patient with ourselves. Being patient with ourselves is proven to lead to higher self-esteem, greater motivation, and improved mood. 

Here are five things you can try to make sure you’re staying patient with your teen:

  1. Understand what makes you lose your patience. Take note of times when you feel like you’ve been quick to anger, or had a difficult time staying level-headed. If you can understand when these situations occur, you may be able to avoid them in the future. You can try de-escalating before you lose your patience, letting your teen know that you’re struggling to stay patient, or removing yourself from the situation.
  2. Understand why you lose your patience. If you’ve identified what makes you lose your patience, you can also understand why those things make you struggle to stay calm and rational. Is there a theme to all of the things you’ve identified? Identifying why those things make you lose your patience allows you to communicate that to your teen. Teenagers are smart – help them help you.
  3. Ensure there is open communication. Your teen may struggle to stay patient too. Create open communication in your home. Allow for space for your teen to tell you when they’re having a hard time staying patient. If they know they can share things with you, and you’ll be patient and calm in the face of whatever they share, they’re more likely to maintain a level of openness with you.
  4. Practice and plan for de-escalation. We will all have moments when, despite our best efforts, we lose our patience, fail to stay calm, or struggle to communicate rationally. Make a plan to manage these moments. Find a strategy that works for you when you do lose your patience, and see if you can find one that works for your teen as well. Both of you need to be calm and reset to return to the original problem in a productive way.
  5. Turn that patience on yourself. Being patient with yourself leads to greater patience with your child. You will never be perfect as a parent; nothing is “perfect”. You will not always have a kind, caring, response to your teen. You will never be able to keep the house conflict-free. Be patient with yourself. Be kind to yourself. Take a few moments. 

Patience can be a difficult practice. Be patient with yourself as you grow, but commit yourself to learning. If you’re interested in learning more about parenting and patience, visit GenZ&U.

GAMECHANGER Tutoring Connection is excited to share Dr. Unnatti Jain’s suggestions for staying patient with your teens. Dr. Jain is a certified youth behavior change expert and studies behavioral patterns. She strongly believes that to build strong young adults, parents must shift from control to connection. She is a strong proponent of self-exploration in nurturing connection, and through her talks and workshops, she enables people to identify the various components of control which hinder children’s growth mindsets and limits their potential.


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