5 Hacks For Parenting With Mindfulness

This practice can enhance the relationship between parents and their kids.



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Parenting has been described as the most fulfilling role a person can have. At the same time, raising kids is not easy. That’s why there is an almost unlimited supply of resources to guide moms and dads along their parenting journey. One of the newer methods that has become quite popular and has received praise from therapists and experts worldwide is called Mindful Parenting.

What is Mindful Parenting

Tantrums happen. They are part of a child’s development, and for parents, they can be one of the most dreaded necessary evils. Surprisingly, moms and dads that have started practicing mindful parenting might actually find that a tantrum can feel like an opportunity and not a threat. This may sound like a fairytale and too good to be true, but it doesn't necessarily have to be.

Mindful Parenting allows moms and dads to separate their own feelings from what is actually happening. It helps a person to take a step back and focus on the issue at hand instead of being hijacked by their emotions, explains The Gottman Institute, an organization with a research-based approach to relationships. With this novel approach, it is easier to respond consciously and leave the automatic, knee-jerk emotional reactions in the past.

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Why people are choosing to parent mindfully

It's easy for parents to put their needs aside to keep their kids content, says Yahoo News.  This attitude of self-sacrifice in parenting is even promoted in some circles, but can be quite harmful and lead to resentment. Instead of ignoring our needs and denying the emotions, Mindful Parenting encourages parents to take care of themselves while listening to their inner voice. Parents then become empowered and know the unique value they bring to their relationship with their child. Tuning into one's emotions is not only encouraged but necessary.
For example, if a child colors on the wall, instead of yelling at them and causing the children to experience shame and anxiety, a parent can calmly remind their child that coloring is for paper and they can clean the mess up together. This way the child’s brain is able to absorb the experience and learn from it, instead of having to use their energy to protect themselves from a parent’s negative response.

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Hearing your inner voice

In the example above, a parent is able to be aware of what is coming up for them when they see the child coloring on the wall. Perhaps they feel some anger about their nice wall getting dirty and resentful about having to clean it up. They might also feel some anxiety about not knowing why the child did it to begin with. When a parent allows themselves to be aware of those feelings, they don't automatically lose their cool as they can now focus on the matter at hand and be more in tune with reality, in other words, be more present.

Interestingly, after going through that process, a parent can then see their child and notice their needs, thoughts and feelings. For example, perhaps the child’s daycare did a wall painting activity that day, and they thought it’s now ok to color on the wall. Or maybe the child wanted to create a piece of art, just like the beautiful framed pieces on their dining room wall. Perhaps they felt lonely and wanted to do something for some extra attention. Whatever the case may be, the child is going through their own life and experiences, just like the parent is. And this realization is the core breakthrough a parent can experience while using this method.

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The benefits of mindful parenting

Therapists, parenting experts and even pediatricians are raving about this practice, as they have seen firsthand what the benefits of this method to the parent-child relationship can be.
Some benefits of Mindful Parenting include children learning to regulate their emotions by seeing their parents and modeling their behavior. When parents are less reactive and take a pause before responding, children learn to do this as well. Parents also find they become less critical of themselves and of their children and are able to get to know their children better. Ultimately Mindful Parenting helps improve the bond between a parent and their child, explains Healthline, allowing them to form and enjoy a healthy and meaningful relationship.

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Is mindful parenting for you?

Parents that are tired of the negative emotional and behavioral patterns that we can sometimes fall into might want to try this approach. Incorporating the Mindful Parenting techniques of emotional regulation will probably take some practice and getting used to, but according to the moms and dads using this method, this might very well be the better way some parents are searching for. 

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