The Art Of Mindful Parenting: Why (And How) Should You Adopt This Technique
Family is all about being present in the moment but as parents, you may not want to be in the moment when your toddler is throwing a tantrum. Feeling out of control when you’re surrounded by your kids can be overwhelming but you are not alone.
There are hundreds of parenting books in the market that you may refer to when it comes to handling or managing your children but have you yet heard of the concept called mindful parenting?
If you have, good for you! If you haven’t…well, let’s just say that during those stressful times when your life as a parent is spinning out of control, combining mindfulness and mindful parenting can help.
Ready to hear more about mindful parenting? Let’s explore!
What Is Mindful Parenting?
Mindfulness is a technique that requires you to be fully aware and present in the moment instead of focusing on your past mistakes or future worries. This active practice increases your awareness of your thoughts and feelings in the now.
Then what is mindful parenting? Mindful parenting is the art of incorporating mindfulness into your daily parenting duties. When you’re aware of the choices you’re making, paying attention to what is happening around you, in the moment, with you and your child, that’s what mindful parenting is.
Incorporating mindful parenting into your routine can help you become more curious, kind, and accepting and can also allow you to become more reflective and emotionally controlled in front of your children.
When you’re mindful parenting, you’re consciously paying attention to your kid – including the color of their eyes, how long their hair has grown, and how their emotions are reflecting on their adorable faces.
Of course, in mindful parenting, there are certain components that you can’t ignore:
- Self-Awareness:The idea or ability to identify and reflect on your feelings in response to your kid’s actions.
- Self-Regulation:The ability to acknowledge your feelings instead of impulsively reacting.
- Being Empathetic:The ability to understand and connect with your child’s feelings and emotions. This ability can help you validate your kid’s emotions and help them identify and label their feelings.
- Actively Listen:If parents only hear and do not listen, how can they understand what their child is telling them? This is the ability to listen to your child – verbally and non-verbally (by taking cues).
Benefits And Limitations Of Mindful Parenting
Mindful parenting can help represent a positive behavior model to your kids. It can represent skills like self-awareness, emotional self-regulation, active listening skills, and self-compassion. When you model such behavior, you also help your child develop emotional intelligence skills.
If you engage in mindful parenting, you can help your child:
- Develop healthy relationships
- Perform well in social and academic situations
- Boost their mental and emotional well-being
- Support decision-making skills
- Strengthen parent-child relationship
As a parent, mindful parenting can help you:
- Become more aware of your kid’s needs
- Show less criticism and more empathy
- Effectively handle your emotions, actions, and thoughts
- Reduce parenting stress
- Encourage you to be more involved with your child
- Reduce aggression, anxiety, and depression
- Improve parent-child communication
However, there are some limitations to mindful parenting as well. I mean, this practice depends on mindfulness so if you, the parent, are not taking time for yourself, how can you incorporate mindfulness into your parenting?
Mindful parenting is also not appropriate in certain situations where you might need an immediate reaction to your emotions to prevent your child from being at risk.
Mindful Parenting Examples
What does mindful parenting look like in real-life scenarios? Here are some mindful parenting examples you can learn from.
Your kid isn’t sleeping? Instead of becoming frustrated, take a moment and just breathe. Your thoughts may return to other sleepless nights your kid has pulled and you may begin to worry about their sleep schedule. Don’t worry, for now. Just take a deep breath. You have this under control. Take this moment to reflect on your emotions. How are you feeling? Accept the feelings without judgment. Accept that your kid is having trouble sleeping and one night doesn’t mean they have a problem.
Kid throwing tantrums in public? Look around. Having your kid throw a public tantrum may be embarrassing but try to be in the present. Look around. You may notice the old lady giving you some judgy looks but ignore her! Maybe your child is just tired from all the shopping. Before you leave the aisle and check out, try to understand what made them throw a tantrum. Try to accept that kids can get out of control when they are tired. Accept that while the lady may stare at you and disapprove of you, your kid is innocent and not actively trying to embarrass you.
How To Practice Mindful Parenting?
You are not required to change your lifestyle if you want to incorporate mindful parenting into your daily parenting duties. All you need to do is:
1. Look: Open your eyes and pay attention to your environment. Notice how you feel. Engage all your senses and be in the moment.No good can come from living in the past or worrying about a future that is yet to come. Try to look for the little things in life that you’re experiencing now.
2. Accept:Accepting your and your kids’ emotions can make all the difference. So, accept the range of emotions they (and you) experience. Yes, including anger and frustration.
3. Breathe: Focusing on your breathing is another way to practice mindful parenting. When your child’s throwing a tantrum or refusing to eat their greens, take a pause, and breathe. Pay attention to the sensations your breathing is producing. If your child’s in a crisis, encourage them to practice breathing exercises
4. Listen:Actively listen to what your child is telling you. Sometimes, parents might fail to see the world from their child’s perspective and that can make the child feel more frustrated. Be compassionate, listen to them, and try to understand the situation from your kid’s perspective.
Mindful parenting is all about slowing down and being there, in the moment, with your child and yourself. Even if they are throwing a tantrum.
How Is Mindful Parenting Compared To Other Parenting Styles?
Mindful parenting isn’t one of the parenting styles but has been steadily growing in popularity. What sets mindful awareness parenting is nothing more than just being there with yourself and your child in the present moment. I know, sounds odd, right? Trust me, while it may not sound like much, mindful parenting is definitely an approach that can aid your and your kids’ growth – psychologically and emotionally.
Other parenting styles focus on the hows and strategies to deal with certain actions but mindful parenting is a slightly different approach that focuses on slowing down and taking a brief pause. It is about identifying the emotions and events that may be influencing the present moment. It is all about acceptance of emotions (good and bad) instead of going against the present moment to achieve a parenting goal.
Other parenting styles are more about teaching structure, the rights and wrongs, and helping the kids build tools to deal with their stress. Mindful awareness parenting is an approach that respects your kid’s childhood while taking the time to view the world from your kid’s perspective.
Kids love to live in the moment so why not learn from them?
Mindful parenting is about being with your kid in the moment, good and bad ones. While it’s not a perfect parenting strategy, it can help you encourage your kids (and parents!) to slow down, identify your emotions, be self-compassionate, and practice self-regulation to strengthen the parent-child relationship.
I hope this article helped! For more, you can connect with us at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM us on social media. You can also share your thoughts on mindful parenting in the comments below.
Parents! You can do this!