If you’re feeling out of touch or overwhelmed with your little ones and need some guidance, you’re not alone. As a busy parent, you face challenging morning wake-ups, potty accidents, sibling spats, and getting ready for your kid’s preschool pick-up, but you may still have some energy to peruse parenting books and may have read or heard about mindful parenting.
Mindful parenting has created a lot of buzz across many families, and now more people are implementing it as part of their parenting strategy.
It is supposed to guide all parents transparently and adequately to take care of their kids without being overstretched.
In this guide, we walk through different approaches to mindful parenting, but first, let’s find out what mindful parenting is, shall we?
What Is Mindful Parenting?
Mindful parenting requires all parents to be aware of their kids, regardless of the situation. In other words, it requires your presence and not being stuck in memories, emotions, or thoughts of the past.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness is nothing more than living in the present by befriending our experiences and ourselves. Mindful parenting is simply befriending our kids, ourselves, and the extended and tedious parenting journey.
Being a mindful parent requires you to take the necessary steps to be in a friendly relationship with your kids. It involves being active, observing, and welcoming current events for a specific end goal.
As a parent, you’re responsible for helping your kids deal with their emotions and manage their mental health. You should be interested in what’s happening, remain calm, and not lose concentration. Don’t be impatient or angered as you implement a mindful parenting philosophy.
Mindful parenting requires you to understand your unpleasant emotions, stressful situations, and know-how to effectively counter or deal with them.
It’s also about being slow to react to conditions that require you to think critically. However, taking these measures yourself doesn’t amount to mindful parenting—incorporating them into your kids makes the whole process effective.
What is the Goal of Mindful Parenting?
The objective of mindful parenting is to get in touch with reality, control your emotions and respond to specific situations.
When you take note of your and your children’s emotions, stay aware rather than thinking about stressful things. You’ll effectively help manage your kid’s immediate reactions and emotions.
Mindful parenting doesn’t involve parents disowning their emotions or being satisfied with specific things.
However, you can completely control your feelings to have a practical, clear, and helpful reaction.
This will help you set an excellent example for your kids so that they manage their own strong emotions and respond effectively in the future.
Benefits Of Mindful Parenting
Various studies have proven that mindful parenting could reduce stress, mood disorders, anxiety, and depression.
In 2008, one study revealed that pregnant women could also massively benefit from mindful parenting and that the expectant mothers who took mindfulness seriously experienced less negative moods and anxiety.
Another study unveiled that incorporating mindfulness could make you more satisfied as a parent. To strengthen and develop the parent-kid relationship, effectively use mindful parenting to your existing parenting philosophy.
For children, mindful parenting positively helps them in their day-to-day social decision-making. Many researchers have also learned that kids’ connection (between emotional regulation and decision-making) is excellent and undisputed.
Your kids will also learn this critical skill once you understand your emotions and know how to deal with them.
Research revealed a massive reduction in child abuse for parents who took mindful parenting seriously and implemented it.
It also massively improved parents’ attitudes towards proper parenting, and through this, kids will not have behavioral problems.
Concepts to Mindful Parenting
Have the right mindset and attitude for effective mindful parenting, not just empty systematic and structured parenting approaches.
Beneficial concepts are unique and helpful ways to take you through a fantastic parenting journey without facing many shortcomings.
That said, mindful parenting concepts involves:
1. Attention and Focus
This parenting technique requires presence and focus on the current situations.
You also need to practice deep breathing and critical thinking to be attentive to your kids. It’s simply physically and emotionally focused.
Through awareness, your emotions change.
You have to be aware of complex emotions and stressful situations. Emotional awareness also includes that of your child.
When you’re physically and emotionally aware of yourself and your kids, you know when your child is upset or frustrated.
Help your child come back to their normal state by assisting them to overcome their emotions positively.
3. Acceptance and Non-Judgement
You have to be aware of situations and emotions without judging yourself and the kids.
Often judging yourself or your kids harshly only prolongs the problem and doesn’t help develop a clear solution.
However, that doesn’t mean you should be a yes man and live with your kid’s misbehavior.
Acknowledge the emotions leading to undesirable behavior to help your kids figure out the situation effectively.
Accept your emotions and do not judge yourself—passing judgment will only make you feel weak and incapable of solving serious parenting problems.
You’ll be more open with your kids when you’ve learned the art of acceptance. Openness and acceptance reduce impulsive words and reactions that can destroy a family.
4. Empathy and Compassion
Rather than criticizing and scolding your kids, why not have a conversation with them?
Why not be empathetic, compassionate and make them feel like you genuinely care about their challenges and situation?
You can do this by listening to their struggles.
Slowly and keenly reflecting on your children’s feelings often helps kids have a sense of belonging, be heard, and be ready to find the solutions.
When you’re empathetic, it means you’re willing to forgive your kids for silly mistakes rather than punishing them severely.
Similarly, mindfulness parenting requires you to be honest with yourself by accepting failures. However, this doesn’t mean you cannot slip up when you follow the mindful parenting guide—it’s part of the parenting process.
When you accept your inefficiencies and mistakes, you’ll help kids come to terms and admit when they mess up.
They’ll also learn to be empathetic and compassionate towards you, themselves, and the people around them.
5. Creative Problem Solving
Parents who trust and follow mindful parenting often do not interfere with their kids’ challenges.
They usually stay with their kids throughout the situation and critically think of the solutions. You should assess the effectiveness of the solutions they have arrived at.
Similarly, being open with your kids will go a long way in achieving a good parenting philosophy. Ask questions and help kids find the route and cause of their problems.
6. Appreciation and Gratitude
Mindful parenting focuses on what’s right or what you can do to make things right rather than the problem or what’s wrong.
Parents should mostly show gratitude and appreciation for the positive things their kids do, and in that way, bad things are not appreciated.
Mindful Parenting Examples
Below are the real examples of mindful parenting;
1. Baby Won’t Sleep
Take a deep breath and forget about all the troublesome nights your kid has put you through. Relax your thoughts and lead yourself into acceptance with no judgment.
Next, understand your emotions—are you frustrated?
Do this without judging yourself or your kid, then pause for a while. Acknowledge that many kids have challenges sleeping at night, and that day is no different.
Once you’ve relaxed, look for ways to help your kid sleep.
2. Addressing a Tantrum
Even though your kids’ behavior may sometimes embarrass you, acknowledge that this is bound to happen and part of children reacting to different situations.
Before aggressively reacting to your kid’s embarrassment, try to understand why they behaved in such a manner. Acknowledge that children are not easy to control in public places or at home, especially when they know what they want.
Many times, children can’t control their emotions about material things, but this doesn’t mean you should buy them expensive dolls or toys.
3. Kid Won’t Eat
Even though infants take breast milk with ease, a time will come when they’ve grown old and can eat.
These are the times to prepare delicious meals. However, most of them will not just want to eat. As a result, most parents may take it personally and force them to earth, but that’s not the way to go.
First, relax, breathe deeply, commend yourself for the excellent cooking and understand why your child may not want to eat.
It could be a problem with the food texture, taste, or even food taste. Whatever the reason, find a way to go about it.
Make your kids feel free with you and let them express themselves without fear. Encourage them to share their worries about the food and understand why they rejected the food.
Implement a routine that enables them to have healthy food options. Research about some of the healthy kid foods they love and prepare them for them to make up for the “mistake.”
Mindful Parenting vs Other Parenting Styles: What’s the Difference?
So how do you distinguish mindful parenting from other forms of parenting?
The line is drawn by one-time allocation to effectuate a specific concept rather than rashly doing things. It simply has everything to do with proper mind management and understanding specific situations.
Other forms of parenting focus more on the approaches and strategies implemented to help in the effective management of specific actions and behaviors.
However, mindful parenting requires you to take a few steps back and observe the problem before making quick decisions.
Be aware and understand that emotions play a crucial role in managing parental problems. Mindful parenting involves accepting both negative and positive feelings and not just finding solutions out of nothing.
That’s not all—mindful parenting helps parents see the challenges their kids face as they can easily envision life through their eyes.
Kids often need special attention and the sooner they get it, the better they’ll become at also managing their challenges.
However, other parenting skills involve incorporating certain routines and structures to their children or teaching them wrong or right.
Even though the two methods are worlds apart, it still has the same end goal: to provide your kids essential and required tools to have a stressful-free mind and solve problems and specific situations.
How Do I Practice Mindful Parenting?
Implementing mindful parenting doesn’t necessarily mean you change your whole lifestyle.
A minor tweak on doing things will help you get the best out of mindful parenting. Your senses of smell, sight, touching, hearing, and taste will also play a crucial role.
- Be in the present moment: Don’t live too much in the past or plan for the future. Embrace the present situation and see what positive impact you can have.
- Practice acceptance: Accept that your kids’ behavior is affected by emotions, even when they embarrass you. You also need to accept your situation to manage your kids better.
- Breathe: When you’re in a crisis, relax and breathe deeply. Only then can you think clearly about the problem at hand.
- Meditate: Implement meditation through breathing in and out. Meditation needs a daily 10 minutes of constant practice or exercise.
You can also think, understand your kids’ challenges, and help them come up with sound solutions.
Next time you feel pressed by your parenting situation, know that relaxing, breathing in and out, accepting the problem, and not judging yourself are the ways to go.
Staying relaxed will help you find the root of the challenge, develop emotional awareness, and know effective ways to deal with it. This is critical to get the best out of mindful parenting and raise resilient kids.
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