Another point pertinent to patience is the fact that our expectations may exceed what our children are actually capable of. "A toddler in an itchy tux at a family wedding isn't going to be able to sit through the after-dinner speeches happily," says Gary Walters, a professor emeritus in the psychology department at the University of Toronto. "And if you expect him to, you end up in a vicious circle of misery. You've set yourself up for losing your patience. Your kid loses it, and people look at you. That kind of public pressure is awful," he says. Develop the habit of devising back-up plans for any potentially explosive situations, and then, just as importantly, allow yourself to use them!