We live in times when even though we seem to be well-connected through technology, we might actually be more disconnected with ourselves and our loved ones.
Mindfulness, thus, seems to be essential because it may help us reconnect with ourselves, enhance physical and mental well-being and improve our connections with the society. And, while you’ve probably heard about mindfulness practices and mindfulness meditation, have you heard of mindful parenting?
Mindfulness and Parenting Go Hand-in-Hand
While mindfulness practices like learning how to pause, recharge and revive can benefit your personal and professional lives, experts say that it can have an impact on your parenting skills too.
How’s that you may ask? Well, an adult who is mindful of themselves might be mindful of a child too. The main concept of mindfulness is to be aware of the present situation and to not dwell on the past or worry about the future. This is essential for good parenting too because children need you to be present at a particular moment, instead of wavering between work-related stress and household issues.
It is natural to be stressed out through most of your day, but you should consider the impact that stress can have on your child. This awareness might alone be enough to make you want to experiment with mindfulness techniques that could help you de-stress and be fully available as a parent.
Being a mindful parent comes with its advantages too. A study showed that children nurtured with mindful parenting techniques are more likely to be happier and calm and may be less prone to drug usage and emotional troubles like depression.
Research conducted at the University of Vermont studied more than 600 parents with children between the ages of 3 and 17 and noticed that parents who practiced mindful parenting were more positive with their children and their children, in turn, showed few negative behavior and emotions like tantrums, anxiety and depression.
How to Get Started with Mindful Parenting?
Children tend to observe and learn from their surroundings, and if they are spectators to constant fights and abusive behavior throughout their childhood, you can only imagine how it might impact their psyche and behavior.
Hence, start with the basics of mindfulness by learning self-compassion, acceptance and awareness, which can easily translate to the better understanding of your children’s emotions and needs too. So, create a routine for yourself, stick to it and see how you and your family benefit from these simple mindfulness methods.
Mindfulness does not require you to sit down in a quiet room and meditate for 30 minutes, it will be beneficial if you can, but it is not required. These techniques can be as simple as sitting down for a meal with the family, spending quality time with your child after school and addressing simple fears your child may have, like that of riding a bike.
Implement the aspect of mindfulness parenting by:
- Learning to be kind and compassionate to yourself and your children
- Understanding that your child is a separate entity and learning to respect their individuality, while still nurturing them as they grow
- Realizing that perfectionism in parenting may be a myth; don’t feel guilty when you have small slips and falls and learn to be a good parent with realistic expectations for yourself and your children
- Give yourself some time every day to recompose and gather your thoughts, to help you be more present when your children need you
- Learn to mindfully manage stress, because when you are stressed, your children see that instead of your calm side
Once you master mindfulness techniques, try to implement them toward your parenting and notice that your children too might start following the examples you set, to grow into mindful individuals themselves.
How Mindful Parenting Differs From Just Being Mindful. (2018, June 12). Retrieved from https://www.mindful.org/mindful-parenting-may-keep-kids-trouble/
Kring, L. (2013, December 14). Lisa Kring: The 5 Main Tenets of Mindful Parenting. Retrieved from https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-kring/the-5-main-tenets-of-mindful-parenting_b_4086080.html
Pindak, O. (2018, September 14). The Simple Practice That Helps Kids Cope With Anxiety And Build Confidence. Retrieved from https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/meditating-as-a-family-how-mindfulness-can-help-kids-cope-with-anxiety-build-conf