Patience vs. Impatience

entitlement_monster_patiencThe entitled person doesn’t delay gratification. They know what they want and they demand to have it now. These are the people you often see having a terrible attitude because the line at the deli counter is too long or they aren’t getting what they want from a relationship. We are used to seeing these types of meltdowns with young kids who are still learning patience, but it is embarrassing and unattractive when adults do it. Adults even may hide tantrums better, but they are still there. But who ever said that you get to have what you want, when you want it, and how you want it? Since I struggle with this, as well as my kids, sometimes I will choose a project or place that I know will require patience on all our parts so we can learn to wait. (Not that hard to find!)

There are so many areas in which to exercise patience, but one area where this can be put into practice is on long car trips. Some parents tend to avoid lenthy car rides all-together because they don't want to deal with the prospect of bored, whining kids all the way. The entitled child acts this way because their "kingdom" is constrained, or worse-yet, gone. They haven't developed the ability to make do with what they have, or become creative in a situation where there is nothing to do. One parental temptation is to "passify" the kids on a long car ride by letting watch movies for hours on end. When that is done, however, the parent has lost a wonderful opportunity to work with their kids on patience and contentment. A couple of times a year, our family goes on a number of long trips by car - one of them being 15 hours one way. When we first started going on these trips, there was no such things as a portable DVD players or Nintendo DS's. So instead, we filled our time with singing songs, listening to books on tape, and packing them a backpack containing paper, crayons, scissors and tape. We also had driving games, such as counting water towers. Sprinkled in was simple down-time with napping or enjoying the scenery. Does this mean I am a total beast and forbid them from using any electronics in the car? No. Now the older ones have Nintendo DS's, and the youngest watches can watch a movie on a portable DVD player, but the time on them is limited.

I would love to hear from other families what they have done to help their children overcome that sense of entitlement that results in impatience. If you have any stories of what you have done to build patience, put it in the comments below. I would love to get more tips and ideas for my family!