Mindful Parenting : How To Be A Mindful Parent
Yesterday I completely lost it on my kids. They had spilled water all over the house, just after we cleaned it. And I completely lost my cool. I went near them and was almost there to give them a tight one. But then I stopped. I looked back at the spilled water and thought to myself – what would do the bigger damage? Is it the spilled water that will be cleaned within minutes? Or that slap which my kids will never be able to forget through their life. Those few minutes of thinking before reacting, helped me deal with the situation better.
What I shared above is a simple example of mindful parenting, that I practice in my everyday life with my twins. Its often believed that a system of rewards and punishments is required to teach children how to behave. The harder truth is that positive modelling of our own feelings and behaviour is the key to a child’s healthy social and emotional development.
What is Mindful Parenting?
Mindful parenting is setting an on-going intention to be present at the given moment. It involves taking pause so that we can be attuned to our child’s deeper needs (are they crying because they are hungry, sleepy, scared or something else?) and respond in an appropriate and loving way.
Respond, not react – is the key to mindful parenting. Reaction is usually impulsive and extreme, response is is always well-thought out, calm and non-threatening. Take a pause, think before responding to any situation is a step towards mindful parenting.
Honestly, it could be very challenging to remain mindful when our daily routine can set us into a chaotic autopilot mode. It took me a lot of time to incorporate mindful parenting practices as a parent. I still make mistakes, but I try my best to think before I respond and control my instant reactions, that may not always be favourable.
Here are few ways for being a mindful parents & practicing mindful parenting:
1 Know your trigger points
In stressful situations when our emotions are easily triggered, it is hard to be the best version of ourselves. In order to feel a sense of control over our emotions, we first have to be able to recognize and anticipate what situations are likely to trigger us. Don’t shove away emotions under the carpet. Just be there, fully mindful of it. That ways we can notice when we start feeling anxious or annoyed.
For example, mess is my trigger and everytime my kids create mess I tend to lose control. But now being mindful of my emotions help me choose my response to such situations.
2. Give up on perfection
When we expect perfection, we don’t make room for mistakes. Expecting a young child to do an art work like painting without creating a mess, is too much of an expectations unrealistic . Be realistic, know the age-appropriate behavior of the child and respond accordingly. Children are often not allowed to have bad days, grumpy moods, disrespectful tones or attitude. Yet, as adults have them all the time. None of us are perfect. We must stop holding our children to a higher standard of perfection than we can attain ourselves.
3. Accept without judgements
We often find ourself having a predetermined idea of how our kid will behave or respond. And when they don’t we feel disappointed. Best is to take a step back and appreciate each moment as it comes. Accept them with their imperfections. As parents we should always remember that kids see themselves through the eyes of their parents. The way we speak to them is the way they speak for themselves.
4. Set house rules
Half of our responses stem from the fact that we want to discipline our kids and make them realise their mistakes. We need to create a balance between love and discipline. I try to set clear boundaries when it comes to house rules. For example – hitting is not acceptable at any cost. And I also ensure to praise good behaviour and attitudes and not just criticize the mistakes my kids make.
5. Look at things from child’s perspective.
If you were your child, how would you want your parents to talk to you or react to your mistakes? Try to be in the child’s shoes and look at things/situation. That will lead to more age-appropriate response on your part.
6. Mindful Listening
Mindful Listening is a way of mindful parenting. Listen to them patiently and gently – with less judgements and more attentiveness, and respond as necessary.
7. Be gentle towards your own self.
It is okay to make mistakes as parents. Be light hearted. This way we teach our children that life is all about learning. As parents we sometimes get too busy and overwhelmed to take care of ourselves. Try to let go off that feeling and recognise that a healthier, happier self will make a healthier, happier, and calm parent.
Our calm response helps kids calm down too. This makes them feel more secure and safe. This is another benefit of mindful parenting. Sometimes the smallest adjustments in a child’s schedule can make a big difference. Mindful parenting is all about paying full attention to our kids with openness and compassion and that’s enough for the child.
This post is part of the #BlogchatterA2Z challenge run by Blogchatter
Found this article helpful? Do leave your views in the comments below.
Follow me for more on –