Importance of Mindful Parenting
Being a parent can be a roller coaster ride . Parenting has both its sweetness and bitterness , joys & hardships :- some days can be filled with fun, love & joy while some other days can be overwhelming & stressful.
Since when you become parents, you have to manage several other roles as well & it can be quite stressful at times when it comes to kids behaviour….
I, being a child therapist ,have observed kids and parents of different age groups, each one having different abilities to learn and different specialities.
Although I treat kids with special needs,
I have Observed some common mistakes are made by maximum parents of normal children as well and it takes a toll on the children when they grow up.
Thats why I have written this article to create awareness on a very important & often neglected topic- IMPORTANCE OF MINDFUL PARENTING
So, What is Mindful Parenting ?
Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions.....
Parents are a child’s best well wishers and whatever they do, they always do keeping in mind about the wellbeing of their child. Yet, a lot of times, mostly unknowingly, they make mistakes without realising what impact it has on themselves & on their child. So, here in this article, I have addressed some common issues faced by the parents and children and how to handle them !
In everyday parenting, our stress response often gets triggered unnecessarily by events that are not actually life threatening.
Mindfulness in parenting is about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it !
Why is practicing Mindfulness in Parenting Important ?
Dr. Dan Siegel, a clinical psychologist who studies the brain, explains that during stressful parenting moments we may “lose control” or “flip our lid” and let our emotions control our reactions. When we “fly off the handle,” it happens so quickly and we aren’t thinking about how our children are perceiving us. Our reactions can be very scary to kids. Also, we are modeling that this is how grown ups react to stress. If we choose to be more mindful by pausing before responding, we can teach kids that they, too, can pause and choose to respond instead of react.
When kids behave in ways considered inappropriate by the parent/society, parents usually tend to react by “Trying to Control" the child’s behaviour by reacting to it negatively.
But, the fact is, Controlling never works for a long period !
The more we try to “CONTROL” our children’s behaviour in any particular moment especially by reacting negatively, punishing them, comparing them with other kids, everytime the child does something wrong, the more they get into defending mode and often loose their own self esteem which can have a huge negative impact on the child’s mind & might lead to stress, anxiety, depression which in turn affect the physical and mental well-being of the child….
What can we do about it ?
Instead of trying to “Control your child’s behaviour” and instead of giving in to your emotions,
Practicing Mindfulness during these stressful situations can be very beneficial for both the parent and the child and helps build a beautiful relationship between Parents and their children.
Benefits of Mindful Parenting
- You become more aware of your feelings & thoughts..
- You become more aware of your child’s needs, feelings & thoughts.
- You become less critical of yourself and your child.
- Relationship improves.
- Children grow into more joyful, responsible, kind, sensitive individuals.
- You can handle any stressful situations more easily by following the same principles.
How to practice Mindfulness in Parenting
- Pause ! Before you React in Anger….
It’s the most important & most challenging part of Mindfulness- being able to find the calm space in the heat of the moment!
A- You can practice pausing by taking a few deep breaths before giving your response.
Deep breathing commands our brain to relax ! Its okay ! And helps us to think clearly.
B- Count 1–10 before responding .
These take some practice & it’s not going to be perfect everytime.
But, it’s absolutely worth it and helps the brain to calm down, think more clearly & respond appropriately instead of reacting out of control.
2. Listening to a child’s viewpoint.
When we listen carefully to the child, instead of trying to prove “parents are always right !” ,it not only boosts their confidence & sense of worthiness, it also gives them a safe space that they can reach out whenever they do a mistake,
This also ,a lot of times gives parents a new perspective of looking at things which builds a great parent-child bonding…
3. Appreciation goes a long way !
The above point is one of the most important and highly underrated aspect thats seen in maximum cases.
It’s seen very often that we forget to appreciate our children enough ! We focus a lot more on their bad behaviour instead of the good ones !
Parents often have this misconception that if they would focus more on the negative behaviour of their kids, trying to correct or control them, it’s beneficial for their children.
But the fact is, kids always love attention. Since they don’t get enough appreciation, they indulge in mischievous behaviour just to get the attention of their parents !
So, if you appreciate your kid’s small good behaviour everyday & fulfill their needs to get attention from you, there will be definitely less need to complain ! Just try it !
5. Focus on correcting the behaviour, not the child !
When the child misbehaves or throws a tantrum or behaves inappropriately in any way, focus only on the behaviour, point out calmly to him/her about what specific behaviour is incorrect and not the child.
Be specific, at the moment your child does something wrong, pointing out the wrong behaviour & telling him what is the correct behaviour.
This step is very important.
Your child should know that their behaviour at any particular moment doesn’t define them and your love for them is Unconditional !
4 . Self care
Its important to learn to take care of yourself first & meet your own emotional needs before you can meet the needs of your child ! Don’t underestimate your need to give yourself the time & space to take care of yourself.
Do anything that makes you feel better everyday !
Taking a walk, Listening to music, Talking to your loved ones, watching TV
Give yourself the time first. When you feel better, then only you will be able to manage any frustrating situations way better !
5. Be easy on yourself
Parenting is a journey not a destination.
Every child is born a genius.
They are way more smart than we give them credit for!
Your life with your kids would be a lot easier if you can practice some of the above points…
Nobody is perfect, and you are doing well on your part ! So don’t be hard on yourself..
YOU GOT THIS !
Children don’t need perfect parents , They need happy parents !
Happy parenting to all the readers….
My name is Abhipsa Parida.
I am an Occupational Therapist and I have been working with special kids since 5 years.
As part of my work, I handle kids of different age groups with varying needs and varying abilities to learn.
Yet, there’s a common desire among humans ( both kids and adults) to be accepted without judgement, to be appreciated & to be loved unconditionally…..
Our attitude towards our children in their early years determines what kind of individuals they grow up to be !
I hope you enjoy reading this blog & its helpful to you.
If you have any questions, you can mail it to me at- firstname.lastname@example.org