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Patience refers to our ability to accept or tolerate delays, troubles, inconveniences, or distress without getting angry or upset. As any parent knows, parenting provides an opportunity to examine the meaning of patience on a daily basis.

Though it is true that some people are more naturally inclined toward patience than others, it is also true that with effort and experience, we all can learn to develop a longer emotional fuse.

If you want to learn to cultivate patience, start by realizing that emotions are powerful and deeply wired into our humanness. That means you will need to be patient with yourself and acknowledge that perfect patience on a day-to-day basis in a family is unlikely. Families are a group of people with a variety of moods, emotions, and behaviors, which creates many combinations that have the potential to trigger impatience. Just keep trying.

If you feel yourself leaning toward exasperation, switch your focus. Focus on breathing. Breathe in and breathe out, lengthening and extending the out-breath. Breathing out slowly will calm your body and mind, and it is something you can practice when you are not feeling exasperated. If you breathe and count to ten, you will keep your thinking brain engaged, which will also dilute any buildup of anger.

It can also be helpful to remember that children are supposed to be completely unreasonable at times. The brain of a child is in the process of developing, which means his or her brain is not yet fully wired up. Consequences may still be in order, and the consequences will be more logical and effective if you can keep from flipping your lid. Try to look at the big picture.

One other thought is to rehearse patience as a way to practice patient parenting. Think about typical triggers, see them in your mind, and then watch yourself being patient, calm, and in control. This mental rehearsal will help to train your brain to more automatically maintain self-control and composure during difficult times.

Patience is like a shock absorber to rocks in the road, something every parent needs from time to time.