Are you tolerating misbehaviours?
1 Degree Celsius; is that warm or cold? The other morning, it was downright cold driving to school; everyone shivering in the car, mentally willing the car heater to work more quickly. The funny thing is, in two months, when 1C comes around, it will be time to take off a coat and turn down the heater because it will be a warm and welcome change from -20C.
We recently read an article about what people can tolerate in their lives. This move to colder weather is a reminder of what we learn to tolerate – how our bodies adapt to the new temperatures. Tolerating is a useful skill and yet it can also get in the way.
In parenthood, we tolerate sleepless nights, changing diapers, grocery expenses, dings to the car, and so many other things.
Your dictionary.com defines tolerate as: to recognize, and respect (other’s beliefs, practices) without sharing them.
The Family Virtues Guide (Popov) includes Tolerance as one of 52 virtues to teach your children “being able to accept things that you wish were different; being flexible.” Enduring purple hair, putting up with different music styles, cleaning up the living room when you would rather play with your friends – these are all ways in which family members practice tolerance.
Sometimes we tolerate without even realising it. Our child’s whining might annoy us initially, but then we figure it is just a phase so we just bear it. Sally crawling into our bed seemed so annoying, but it is easier than having to get up and take her out so we just endure. Repeating ourselves over and over is SO FRUSTRATING! Yet, it seems that our kids just don’t listen so we’ll tolerate it.
This is where tolerating isn’t really helping anyone. When kids misbehave and we tolerate it until we get home, that can work. When we choose not to deal with it at all, our actions are telling our children that we are okay with their misbehaviour.
Kids misbehave. One of our jobs is to learn from their misbehaviour; to recognize what they need to be taught and then, to teach them a better way to be. We need to teach our kids that whining doesn’t work, that they are capable of sleeping in their own beds and that we mean what we say.
This autumn, what are you tolerating? Are you putting up with mealtime disasters, crazy morning hassles and agonizing bedtimes? Tolerating these things until the weekend when you can make a change makes sense; tolerating them until 2024 does not. Make a decision to decide which tolerances are helping your family and which ones need to change. Changing even one will help everyone in your family.