What does mindful parenting really mean and how can we incorporate it into our parenting styles?
So, what is mindful parenting? Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn, the authors of, Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, define mindfulness as: “the moment-to-moment nonjudgmental awareness”. In their book, they explain that the fundamentals of mindful parenting lie within 3 major components; sovereignty: respecting the child’s dignity and sense of self, empathy: to be able to see the world from the child’s perspective, and last but certainly not least, acceptance: being accepting of who they truly are in a kind and compassionate way.
According to this definition, wouldn’t mindful parenting greatly depend on us being mindful individuals first? And if so, how can we possibly maintain an empathic and non-judgmental state of being with ourselves as well as our children without breaking the vicious cycle of interruptions that are forced on us by the constantly increasing demands of the society that we live in today?!… For instance, how many of us have been feeling distressed by this perceived notion of accessibility through our so called smartphones, not to mention the expectations that follow, as well as the work-home boundaries that are made even more unclear as the result!
As the information age continues to rob us of the ability to be in the moment, we have to take it upon ourselves to make sure that the depth and the quality of our significant relationships do not suffer the consequences of our not-so-mindful times.
Here are some of the ways through which we can practice mindful parenting:
– Take the time to pay close attention to your child’s individual needs, strengths and temperament.
– Adopt a positive and strength-based approach towards yourselves as well as your children.
– Practice flexibility and nonreactivity through compassion and sensitivity.
– Make conscious efforts towards overcoming the automatic pilot mode, modeling being aware of your moment-to-moment experiences with your children.
– Help cultivate your children’s sense of self-respect and autonomy through actively engaging with them.
– Help your children develop a language through which they can express their thoughts and feelings freely and effectively.
– Reach out to extended family and friends for support when necessary.
– Practice and model relaxation breathing and mindfulness-based stress reduction strategies whenever possible.
Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting, by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn.
Parenting from the inside out: How a deeper understanding can help you raise children and thrive, by Daniel Siegel, M.D. and Mary Hartzell, M.Ed.
UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center www.marc.ucla.edu
For more information on mindfulness-based psychotherapy, please contact me directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org