Parenting may not be rocket science, but oftentimes, we may get caught off guard when we encounter challenging moments. This can cause us to give in to our emotions, the outcome of which may be ugly and unhealthy. That’s where the concept of “Mindful Parenting” comes to play. Mindful parenting is when parents give conscious attention to their children’s actions as well as their own actions towards their children. It is important to remember that you are the parent, and the number one rule for mindful parenting is to never engage in an incident when your child is exhibiting behavior that might cause you to react emotionally. Parents need to take a firm stand on things, especially when making a point. No matter the circumstance, it’s best to “Respond, not react.”
A child’s upbringing is crucial to their psychological development. If there’s one thing a child craves during these pivotal early stages of development, it’s attention. This plays a significant role in discussions about mindful parenting. For many children, gaining attention from a parent is bliss. It can feel like their favorite candy bar or ice cream. They crave it. They have to have it. Have you ever noticed how young children may act stubborn and misbehave at times? It may be their way of trying to get your attention. As the saying goes, “You can’t give what you don’t have.” It’s exactly the same with mindful parenting. Be attentive, so you can give attention.
Parenting is multi-faceted. And just like any other responsibilities, parenting comes with its own set of challenges and processes. Emotional management plays a big role in effective mindful parenting. For example, you yourself need to be regulated first before imposing regulation on others. Effective parenting can’t be delivered if you as the parent are unstable, stressed, or simply not your best self. Remember, the energy you give out to your child is the same energy (or less) you will receive.
Also, bear in mind that attention is “currency” when it comes to establishing a nurturing relationship with children. Mindful parenting isn’t as complicated as it seems. Some may relate this kind of parenting as Authoritative Parenting. This is said to be the most effective among the 4 types of parenting styles. It’s been claimed to have positive effects on the child’s social-emotional wellbeing, academic progress, and behavior. Try to remember that there is a fine line between being too strict and being too lax.
When parents who “spoil” their children, this is often misconstrued as bad parenting, or it could be the other way around. Some parents tend to spoil their children because they think it’s a good way of being present. The key is finding the right balance between love and discipline. It is a tricky process, yes. Quite challenging, too! But here are five good strategies that may help you become more effective in mindful parenting:
Be present for your children. Always, all ways
Being present means, again, giving your child as much attention as you can. Receiving attending is a fundamental need for little ones, and it is essential for their emotional development and growth. Their constant need for attention is also their unconscious way of asking for love. So if your child surprises you with whining or with an attitude, this could be a signal for you.
Find the right balance between love, respect, understanding, and discipline
This might be the trickiest part! This involves the delicate process of setting boundaries and expectations. Just be careful not to overdo it! Find ways to give your child credit for making positive choices, and try not to be overly critical of their mistakes. Remember that it’s also essential for their self-esteem and self-confidence as children learn to receive both criticism and praise equally with grace. Too much of either can make them, or break them.
Keep your cool
Anger is actually a healthy emotion when used sparingly. Our brain has a natural response to a certain emotion, especially when it is triggered. Try to notice and get a hold of your thoughts, especially when they are negative ones. These are the types that may amplify your feelings in a certain way. Try your hardest to do away with over-generalizing, “mind-reading”, and especially blaming.
The longer the patience, the lesser the drama
As the saying goes, “Patience is a virtue.” In this equation, patience really is gold. It is one of the core elements of parenting. Exhibiting patience requires a lot of understanding and self-control. Of course, children need their parents’ utmost understanding, especially at a time when they still have a lot to learn.
Embrace the imperfection
Nobody’s perfect. Human as we are, we all have flaws, and we all make mistakes. There’s also no such thing as perfect parenting. Children have a lot to learn from their parents, and parents also have a lot to learn from their children. A parent-child relationship is a give and take thing but either way, it can be a win-win situation. Like all things in this world, everything is a process. Everything takes time, and nothing is perfect.
Parenting in general is really quite a challenge, especially when it comes to figuring out what kind of approach best works for you and your children. Whichever method you choose, these mindful parenting strategies are surefire ways to improve your approach to parenting.
For more helpful and effective parenting tips, feel free to visit Young Scholars Academy.