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I want to teach patience to my son. How do I teach him?

He always wants things done NOW. If I tell him that we will go to a restaurant at night, as soon as I am back from office in the evening, he will keep on demanding that we go to the restaurant. Even when I tell him there's still 2 hours remaining, he will keep on asking me every 10 min whether we can go there.

Even when we go to a places in car, which let's say is 3-4 hours drive, he will not have patience to sit and wait. Every now and then he will keep on asking when "are we there?"

So, I think he needs learn being patient.

Anyone who can help in this regards is much appreciated.

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I'm not sure it's possible to make your son much more patient than he is by nature. I hope it's possible, but I fear that a lot of that is part of his general character. I have several kids, all raised pretty much the same way, and one of them shows almost infinite patience, while another one sounds a lot like your son.

"Are we there yet?" & "Can we go to the restaurant now"?

I think that's just normal behavior for a kid his age and I actually don't see a reason why you'd need to change this. I think this will take care of itself once he becomes older.

That said, here's a few ideas that come to mind:

  1. Can he tell time yet? If he can't, it might be worthwhile to teach him, and give him a wrist watch, so he can see for himself how time moves along. Then you can tell him when you're leaving, or give him an ETA, and he won't have to ask you all the time. When he asks anyway, you can ask him to work it out himself by looking at his watch. This won't improve things all at once, but it might teach him a sense of how time passes, and how much time "ten minutes" or "3 hours" are. Sooner or later, he'll get tired of asking you and always getting a "We get there at 7 pm. what time is it now? How long is that from now?" answer from you. But take note that this might also destroy something very unique about childhood: I think that the biggest difference between my life as a young child and as a teenager and adult is that as a child, I didn't have a concept of time, which made my childhood almost magical - full of never-ending summer days. Once you have a concept of how time passes, a day of freedom will never be the same any more.

  2. More generally, your son might not just be impatient when it comes to leaving and arrival times. He might also want things right now, even though you think he has to earn them, or they should only be delivered once in a while. In that case, it might help to provide some visual clues of how much more waiting it will take until he gets something / he's earned something. At 7, I think your concept of time spanning multiple days is very vague yet, so it should help to break down a longer time period into smaller steps by maybe giving him a small sticker for every day that passes towards the goal. He can then put that sticker on a previously prepared, segmented piece of paper hanging on the fridge where he can see that he gets closer and closer to the goal.

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Normally, lack of patience is a signal of a lazy mind - wanting something right now shows an unwillingness to spend time entertaining your brain with your own thoughts.

Changing what types of electronic entertainment (including TV) and toys he has access will probably do the trick.

You see, from my experience, the worst thing TV, cellphones in video-games in general do to your kid has nothing to do with violence or smarts. With the exception of a few games, most of electronic content offers a quick endorphin "fix" in the form of some sort of major success in a very small time frame. This kinda conditions the kid to expect rewards with very little real effort, which causes the general lack of patience of the younger generations.

Fortunately, you can fix this without removing his access to computers, cellphones and the sort, just by changing what games he can play. Games like Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, Besiege and other building/exploration oriented sandboxes are extremely good for kids and adults alike - getting anywhere in those games demands time, patience, effort and a little bit of research. Stardew Valley is another awesome option. Those games force your kid to think around a problem to find a solution, instead of brute-forcing their way to the answer.

Another thing you can do, if you kid doesn't spend some significative amount of time with electronic devices, is to introduce sandboxy toys - LEGO and the like - or soft puzzles - like sudoku. Those toys and puzzles induce a bit more of thinking than most other forms of play, promoting a more patient demeanor.

You can also let your kid play with you or your significant other, if available, with regular tools or kitchen implements. Building a shed or a model boat with your kid, or even just baking a cake together, are also excellent ways to promote the idea that some stuff just takes a while to finish, and you can't really pay crystals in real life to speed up things - a common motif on a lot of trashy games nowadays.

Some games can be way more mind-intensive than they appear at first glance. Games like Fallout 3 are incredible to play together with your kid. They have a deep story, with a lot of darker, reflexive themes which you can use to promote and model good behavior. Put your kid on your lap, let it play, and talk to him or her about what is happening and how he feels while playing those games. You'll be surprised of what your little guy may have to say.

If you want to stay away from videogames, you have other options. Go to the yard and play with your kid something that needs a bit of patience: fly a kite, read a book together, draw stuff - making homemade comic books is an excellent exercise - plant a tree, or just go to a walk and chat with each other. Anything that wastes time and doesn't have a direct, immediate "success" fosters patience.

Keep in mind, however, that if you want your kid to have patience, you'll have to model patience yourself. If you are always running from place to place, hurried to do your grown up stuff and never relaxing, never stopping to kill some time, your kid will never learn that spending time with not-winning is okay.

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    That's a really nice answer. I think you put a bit too much weight on the assumption that the child in question is watching too much TV/playing too many video games, but I really like your suggestions about activities that might foster patience. Incidentally, my most patient child loves puzzles and building stuff with Legos. Not sure I could sort out cause and effect, though. – Pascal says Talk To Monica Jun 16 '17 at 14:50
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I've recently started doing "asked and answered" and it seems to be working out well. The gist of the technique is after a child asks you something for the first time, if they bring it up again, respond with "asked and answered" in a non-confrontational but stern tone. Do not entertain further discussion and do not elaborate on what you've said any further.

Sometimes however it gets very bad and at that point I completely go deaf to that topic of discussion. Once they change the topic of discussion I reengage with them.

A scenario could go like this:

Child: What time are we going to the restaurant?

Me: We are leaving here at 7:00 sharp?

(5 minutes later) Child: When can we leave? Is it time?

Me: Asked and answered.

Child: I want to go now. Can we go now?

Me: (Look them in the eyes) asked...and answered

(5 minutes later) Child: Can we leave yet? I'm ready to go.

Me: ...

Child: Dad? Can we go?

Me: ...

(5 minutes later) Child: I wonder what type of food they have there.

Me: (reengage because the topic has changed off of when we are going to something else about the restaurant)

It might not work for all children but I've found it to be useful so far.

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