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Patience, Not My Bailiwick!

And just what is a "bailiwick"? A specific area of interest or expertise. Well, patience has never been something I did very well. Perhaps God gave me my daughter to teach me patience. Someone once told me, "Don't pray for patience, God will just give you things in your life that call for patience."

I would have been a terrible mom in my 20's and even my 30's. No patience for anything.

Now, I actually have friends who think I am very patient! Every time someone says that to me I think, "Where did they get that?" or "If they could only see me at home." But, truth be told, I guess I have a lot of patience. I homeschool two children, one who is dreamy and flighty and one who is stubborn and wants everything her way. It's like herding cats, but cats you truly love!

I have learned to pray for God's grace of patience and that works well. I think I have gained patience over time as a mom. Some days are better than others. Some days are worse.

If you are going to raise children, you better develop patience quickly. If you are raising a child with bipolar disorder, you will develop the patience of Job!

You will need patience to deal with your child's moods and needs. But you will also need patience to deal with:

  • Professionals who think they understand your child better than you do.

  • Pediatricians that have to be reminded that your child can't have certain kinds of meds because it will interfere with bipolar meds or because it will cause mania.

  • Friends who think it's a behavioral problem that you need to get better at handling.

  • Siblings that think it isn't fair that one child seems to get away with misbehaving while they have to behave.

  • Husbands who think they can fix things without reading, researching, etc.

  • People who think your are drugging your child.

  • Other children who don't understand why your child just told them "I don't ever want to play with your again!"


Teaching Patience

Your child will teach you to be patient. But you will need to help your child learn to be patient. Bipolar children are very impatient!

  • They want everything NOW! When an idea comes into their head for a project they want to go to the store immediately. And it will seem as though the end of the world is coming to them and to you if they can't go NOW!

    Sometimes you just have to say, "The next time we go to X store we will look at that." And expect a meltdown. But remain calm, the world won't end.
  • Frustration is abundant! These kids are so easily frustrated it isn't funny. And some days they can work on fractions for hours and be fine and ask questions and ask for help. Another day 15 minutes of fractions may bring a meltdown. Ahhh...unpredictable! They need to learn that it's OK to be frustrated. The way out of frustration is to take it in steps and work slowly, ask for help, and do your best.
  • They keep their own time schedule. This requires everyone's patience. These kids will nag you if they know you are about to go somewhere they want to go. "Let's go, get in the shower, we'll be late!" But when it's time to get in the car, well they need their shoes, and 5 things to work on in the car, they forgot their jacket, etc. It's almost like taking a toddler on a walk.........s l o w!
  • They can be so bossy! I'm used to being bossed around by now, but my daughter's friends aren't! They want a chance to have their way too. As does my son. But it's hard to get your own way with my daughter. I gently try to suggest to her that her friends might want to do something else and that's ok. Or I will call her aside and say "you are being bossy". She tries hard but her bossiness usually wins out. Patience my dear!
Flower graphic by my sister-in-law, Lynn Petz. Click here to visit her website.  


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Last updated: 08/31/06.