If you have a child at home that is giving you a lot of trouble, as many kids tend to do, you definitely aren’t alone. Parents everywhere have trouble dealing with their children. The fact of the matter is that children are just hard to look after.
They are emotional, they are not rational, they don’t like to listen either. Between getting your child to sleep, brushing their teeth, and listening to your instructions, being a parent can be extremely difficult.
For this reason, something that you might want to try doing is known as mindful parenting. Mindfulness is something that is really popular in the world of meditation and spiritual awareness. However, it doesn’t just have to be related to spirituality.
Mindfulness is also something that can apply to parenting. Today, I’ll talk about exactly what mindful parenting is, examples of it, and much more. Will aslo take a look at all of the different benefits that come with mindful parenting, as well as what it actually involves.
What is Mindful Parenting?
If we are talking about mindfulness itself, this is a practice that involves simply being in the moment and living from one minute to the next. Mindfulness usually involves knowing exactly what you are thinking, what you are feeling, and what exactly your position in the world is.
Mindfulness is all about being able to look at the world and accepting what the reality is, instead of judging the world around you. This is a philosophy that is very popular in Buddhist meditation, and it’s something that has been around for many centuries.
Now, this philosophy of mindful parenting has been around since the late 1990s. Here, it takes many of the principles of Buddhist meditation and brings it to the world of parenting. Mindfulness parenting is all about being able to respond rationally and thoughtfully to the behavior and actions of your children, instead of just reacting emotionally.
It’s all about being able to accept what your child is doing and rationally think about exactly why they are doing it. Moreover, mindful parenting is all about being able to create a good relationship between you and your children that will help strengthen your bond. Now, mindful parenting is not always all about being positive. It’s never all fun.
However, mindful parenting is about always living in the present moment and not letting trauma from your past or your emotions affect your experiences or your reactions to your children’s behavior. In short, you may still sometimes react with frustration or anger, but it’s going to be from a place of knowledge and reason rather than being automatic and emotional.
Factors and Skills Involved in Mindful Parenting
What is interesting to note is that mindful parenting involves three key features or qualities. First, it involves paying attention to and being aware of the present moment. Second, it involves understanding intentionally the behavior of your children. Third, the main tenet of mindful parenting is that you are accepting, compassionate, and not judgmental in response to the behavior of your children.
That said, this can be broken down even further. One of the main components of mindful parenting is that you listen. In other words, you need to actually observe and listen to your children. In short, listening to your children and what their feelings are can take a lot of patience and time, but it does help you understand where your children are coming from, and will therefore help you react in a healthy way.
Another factor of mindfulness is that you have good emotional awareness. You need to be extremely aware of both of your emotions and the emotions of your children. Moreover, being able to display that you are emotionally aware to your children will also help to keep them to be emotionally aware. They need to know that emotions affect various situations.
Another big part of mindful parenting is known as nonjudgmental acceptance. This is when a parent approaches a situation without judging it immediately based on your feelings or the feelings of your children. Here, the point is to let go of expectations that are unrealistic, because many parents do have unrealistic expectations of their children.
On that note, another big aspect of mindful parenting is compassion. You might not always be in agreement with what your child thinks or does, but you still need to have compassion as a parent. You need to understand where your child is coming from and need to be empathetic to their emotions and actions.
Finally, self-regulation is another big deal. Simply put, you don’t want your emotions to automatically dictate your reactions to what your child does, such as yelling. You want to think before you act, especially before you overreact.
Why Mindful Parenting is Important
There are many different scientific studies out there that have researched exactly how mindful parenting is important. Indeed, there are many different benefits that come along with mindful parenting.
In fact, mindful parenting is not only important for children, but also for adults. Some of the biggest studies out there show that mindful parenting helps to reduce mood disorders, anxiety, depression, and stress in parents.
What is really great is that there are even studies that have shown that mindful parenting might help women during pregnancy. Yes, mindful parenting can happen before the birth of the child. It is shown that women who were mindful during their pregnancy have much less anxiety, stress, and fewer bad moods.
Next, there are also other studies out there that show that mindful parenting has great extended benefits for the whole family, particularly for the parents. It has been shown that being mindful can help parents to strengthen their bond with their children.
This is shown to be particularly true during adolescence, when children can be the most problematic. It’s all about how to constructively respond to various stress factors when they arise as opposed to alienating children and reacting emotionally.
Yes, of course, there are also many different benefits of mindful parenting for children themselves. It is shown that there is a close link between emotional regulation and decision-making. Therefore, as far as a child is concerned, being able to accept and understand emotions is very important. If they see their parents doing so, it is much easier for the children to learn to do so as well.
There are even studies out there that show that mindful parenting goes a long way in helping to reduce both emotional and physical abuse. There are then many other benefits that children can reap from mindful parenting.
For instance, mindful parenting can improve the satisfaction of the parents themselves, it can reduce various symptoms of hyperactivity, and it can even help improve communication between children and parents.
Mindful parenting can then also lessen bad moods in both parents and children, it can decrease anxiety and stress, and it can even decrease feelings of depression. On that note, it also makes parents feel like they need a lot less effort to be parents, and it also helps to promote more involvement on the behalf of the parents.
Some Examples of Mindful Parenting
Just in case you are having a difficult time understanding exactly what mindful parenting is, we now want to go over some examples of what mindful parenting might look like.
1. Toddler Throwing a Tantrum
For instance, if you have a toddler that is throwing a huge tantrum in a local grocery store, you might feel embarrassed or have other negative emotions. You’re going to look around, and you’re going to see people looking at you, and that can make you feel even more stressed.
Maybe your child is very tired from a day of shopping, they could be in a bad mood, or they could just want that particular piece of candy or toy. Instead of grabbing your child and simply running out of the store and yelling at them, you want to take a step back to figure out exactly what is going on.
You need to be able to accept the fact that children can get emotional and just be out of control when they are feeling extremely tired or when they want something. You then also have to accept that strangers are going to stare at you, and that your child isn’t Intentionally attempting to embarrass you.
2. Baby Isn’t Sleeping
If your baby is not sleeping, you’re probably going to be in a bad mood. You might be worried that they’re not going to sleep at all, that you’re never going to have any time for yourself, or you might be worried about what you can do to get them to sleep.
The simple reality here is that when your child gets very tired, they will sleep. You need to just take a step back to see how you feel and then understand your emotions. Babies have trouble sleeping, and this is something that you just need to accept. Try to think about ways to prevent your baby from becoming overstimulated, which may make it very hard for them to sleep. Set aside a time before bedtime, when you listen to some quiet music, and gently sway back and forth. This could put you in a calm mood as well, which will lead to a calmer baby, who is ready and able to settle down for sleep.
Mindful Parenting – Final Thoughts
As you can see, although it might sound complicated, mindful parenting is not all that difficult. You simply need to accept and understand your children’s emotions, you need to respond rationally instead of emotionally, and you need to always get where your children are coming from. This will lead you to respond in more creative ways to solve a tricky situation. There are many different benefits to mindful parenting, and it’s definitely something that can make your life as a parent much easier.