Mindful parenting is another parenting philosophy whose core value features prominently in its name. The true meaning of mindful parenting is not letting your emotions overrule your decisions and instead of bringing your conscious attention to whatever moment you are facing. This allows you to stay grounded and achieve the best possible outcome, helping you respond to your child’s deeper needs in a more constructive, loving, and understanding way.
Mindful Parenting Techniques
Mindful parenting can come in many forms, such as paying more attention to what your child is trying to communicate, being self-aware of your own feelings when in conflict with them, and pausing before responding to listen and learn from your child’s viewpoints. Other mindful family practices include:
- Being mindful means slowing down – Just like the oxygen mask principle of putting your own mask on first, before you help your child, mindfulness and mindful parenting start with us. In today’s society, where everything is a rush, a mindful approach let us take time to slow down and consider and evaluate our own reactions and actions to events and situations.
- Assess your reactions when under stress – A common problem for my clients is their worry for shouting too often and instead want to find a better, more constructive way of dealing with frustration and conflicts. Mindful parenting addresses this issue by encouraging us to be more aware of our own emotions when in highly stressful moments. Mindful parenting allows us a moment to pause, assess our own emotions and triggers, and then in that same, still moment, allow us to settle to react differently, from a place of calmer, deeper understanding. This serene approach strengthens our bond to our children as it encourages communication and collaboration in addressing and resolving issues.
- Have conversations with no prejudice – Even in the most challenging conversations, like your child pushing boundaries or not cooperating with a request, you accept and respect them to have a viewpoint. That viewpoint could be driven from a place of emotion that they are struggling to regulate or understand, or it could be stemming from another source or perspective you had not yet considered. Being open in conversations, listening to them, and learning emotional regulation teaches our children to be open-minded, calm, and present.
- Practice acceptance – No person is perfect, which means no parent is perfect. Perfectionism in parenting allows room for negative thoughts, such as detrimental comparisons and guilt, which in due time, can emotionally drain us and impact all family members’ health and happiness. Instead, we aim to be mindful of the expectations we may have previously held for our children, and let those go if they no longer align with the person our children are becoming. By being mindful of our children’s talents, choices, and decisions, we become more open and accepting of new experiences and perspectives.
- Embrace compassion – In mindful parenting, compassion is a key component, and this compassion must extend to all situations and scenarios. Whether our children’s issue seems whimsical or minor in comparison to something in our day, or we are in the middle of a conflicting scenario, seek empathetic understanding to begin the process of responding from a more loving, wholesome place of compassion.
The Benefits Of Mindful Parenting
The benefits of mindful parenting are unique in their ability to benefit both us as individuals and as parents for our children. By looking inward to increasing awareness of our feelings and thoughts, we naturally become more responsive to our child’s needs, thoughts, and feelings. We are also more equipped to handle challenging situations in a constructive, positive way.
By regulating our emotions, we also leave behind unnecessary feelings such as self-criticism or perfectionism, which allows us to stand back and discover new perspectives we had not considered before. Additionally, teaching ourselves to stand back from a situation and avoid an impulsive, negative reaction helps us not only in our parenting but also in our day-to-day relationships with our colleagues, friends, and spouses.