Good caregivers of the world have been taught to meet their baby’s needs. The baby cries, the parent hears it and meets the need. The baby feels loved and cared for and all is well.

Eventually the baby begins to have wants and uses the same form of communication. The parent may continue to give in to tears, temper and demands. This may reinforce the concept of, I should have what I want when I want it!”

Healthy parenting includes the gift of teaching our children the difference between needs and wants. It is important to help them learn how to wait for attention, a treat, something special to happen, or an object. Emotional maturity happens when they can accept the waiting.

This can be done effectively by doing the following:

1. Set your own boundaries
I feel disrespected when you interrupt me when I’m talking.
I feel angry when you demand I do something immediately.

2. State your need
I will be willing to listen to you when I am finished talking.
I am happy to have you get that if you can or you can wait until I am available.

3. Give the child a choice
You can decide to scream and not have me hear you or you can decide to quietly put your hand on my shoulder and wait until I am finished.
You can decide to show your anger and not be ready or you can calm yourself
In order to be read to…

4. Use the word NO and allow the anger

Now is not a good time. You can decide to be angry and cry or you can decide to do something else.
(When the child is not angry decide together on an area where the child can go to express the anger appropriately)

5. Empathize the child’s feeling of frustration

I know how hard it is to wait for something.
It’s frustrating when you can’t do something right away.

6. Thank the child for waiting

I appreciate the way you are able to wait.
Thank you for being patient. Now let’s see what we can do.