I think remaining calm at all times is extremely important. If I stay calm my son stays calm also, even if things aren't going his way. If I get upset, he gets upset too and the situation escalates.
If I had to narrow it down to a couple, I would say patience and a good sense of humor. If you can remember that this too shall pass, and someday it will make a great story--it can help a parent get through frustrating time.
I have a story. I had one child at the time, she was about 18 months old. I wanted to take a shower. I set her in the bathroom with toys and rushed into the shower. Right in the middle of the shower, she starts to cry and gets hysterical. I am talking to her, trying to calm her and trying my best to get done fast. I get shampoo in my eyes, she vomits, slips in the vomit, falls and hits her head. It was one of those nightmare parenting moments.
This was 29 years ago and I remember saying out loud, "some day this will be funny, some day this will be funny." And we do laugh about it now-and my daughter survived!
If a parent can remember that most (albeit not all) of the trials and tribulations they experience with a child will pass - it can help tremendously.
I think it is remaining optimistic at all times. I believe what I focus on I'll get more of. If I focus on sibling rivalry, unclean rooms, whining, then that's what I'll get more of. For me, parenting is more about handling my own expectations and less about trying to control my child's behavior.
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