Parenting Tips When Practicing Mindfulness - dummies

Parenting Tips When Practicing Mindfulness

By Shamash Alidina, Joelle Jane Marshall

Here are some tips on mindful parenting. After reading each tip, you may want to consider writing down some of your reflections on how well you’re doing in that area, and how you specifically hope to develop this skill. In this way, you can build mindful parenting skills.

Listen to yourself and your child with full attention

Make sure that you listen to what your children say and note their tone of voice and body language. In this way, you hear their words and understand their emotional state and what they really need at this time.

Listening to yourself is also important. From time to time, carry out the breathing space meditation to assess how you’re feeling and what you need to function most effectively.

Practice balanced acceptance for yourself and your child

You’re bound to have expectations for your children. If those expectations are too high, however, you make yourself and them unhappy. Your children need to feel accepted for who they are and what they can achieve. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you never encourage them to improve.

Getting the right balance is key — hence the term ‘balanced acceptance’. Discipline and guidance are necessary, but from a platform of accepting the present moment you’re better able to understand where your children are coming from. They enjoy being praised and accepted for who they are, just as you do.

Develop emotional awareness of yourself and your child

Raising children is challenging and can lead to heightened emotional states in all concerned. Mindfulness helps you to notice when emotions are running high so that you don’t automatically react to them. Instead, you mindfully make a choice as to the best action to take.

Mindfulness also involves being aware of the emotional state of your children so that you can best meet their needs as they arise and prevent them spiraling into worse behavior. You can do this by noticing your own emotions whenever you can, labeling them in your mind and being aware of your physical state (most emotions have a bodily sensation associated with them).

Practicing mindfulness meditation helps you to better identify emotions, step back from them and so respond with discernment.

Build compassion for yourself and your children

Parents can be their own harshest critics. If you don’t manage to be as good a parent as you hope, be compassionate and kind towards yourself. By being more understanding and remembering that no one’s perfect and everyone makes mistakes and you’re just having a bad day, you feel a bit better and become a better parent.

Compassion for your child grows out of this self-compassion. You’re then more understanding when your child makes a mistake, is hurt or needs some comfort. Imagine the world from your children’s point of view whenever you can to help to deepen your compassion for them.