Photo by Gustavo Fring from Pexels
During my growing up years, parenting wasn’t really a buzzword - something which would be talked about much in the media or even among friend circles. It was deemed to be the most natural process known to mankind (of course all parents), which never created the need for them to “learn” or “unlearn” any parenting practices that their earlier generations had been following.
Once a couple earned the title of parents, it was just the usual parenting ways put into practice, “told” to them by their elders at home. And concepts like ‘child needs’, ‘child feelings’, ‘child psychology’, etc., weren’t very popular. Rather, they were hardly heard of.
But that was then. I too am a product of old-school parenting. I turned out alright, though. But, now being a mom to two new-age children, I know that I will need to “unlearn” and “learn” some things. I’m more than willing to. And in this whole process of learning from my kids as I move along my parenting journey, the one major thing that I have learned and that has worked for me beyond words is mindful parenting.
What is Mindful Parenting Anyway?
What’s the whole fuss around this new buzzword in parent circles, I used to think. Until one day, I decided to look it up, and after having learned more about it (through research), I’d admit here that I was totally fascinated by it!
Mindful parenting is nothing but being alert and aware of your child’s thoughts/feelings at any given time or place. Even more than that, it’s about being aware of your own feelings/reactions when you’re confronted with a conflicting situation with your child(ren). Simply put, it’s the art of learning how to respond more than react.
Well, I don’t know why but once I understood what each word above means or the value that it holds for me and my relationship with my kids, I fell totally in love with this whole concept. I have tried to apply its principles in my everyday life and have witnessed tremendous positive changes. So I just wanted to share all of that with you here.
Is Mindful Parenting Easy?
Very! As I said earlier, once you know what it means, what it takes and how it helps to be a mindful parent to your child, you’re going to witness a beautiful bond developing with your kids. It does take a few simple skills, which I’m sure all of us parents already have (it just takes a little bit of awareness to start using them more often with your kids around).
Listen to your child. The most important thing to do. He may seem to be just blabbering (if it’s a toddler) or chattering away all of which which seems to make no sense to you. Still, listen with all your attention and patience.
Accept your child in totality. Don’t judge. Your kid has feelings. Some of them may be positive and easy to understand and accept as a parent. But some may not be that easy to comprehend/accept always. Before shunning them away, make a small effort to try and understand the space where those feelings come from. Avoid being judgmental; allow your child to open up and share all that they’re feeling.
Practice compassion and empathy. A big lack in old-school parenting that had no room for terms like emotional awareness, empathy, or compassion. But we are new-age parents on the path to raising new-age kids. And a major skill that can go a long way in developing a close and tight bond with your kids is being compassionate towards them. Understand their thoughts and feelings, acknowledge them, empathize with them when they fail and celebrate small achievements.
Remember that the most important thing is not your child’s behavior. The most important thing is your child. Look beyond behavior and connect with your child. [Issa Waters]
How Does Mindful Parenting Help?
Oh, it has tons of benefits, my friend. I’ve listed some of them below, based on research as well as my own experience upon applying it in everyday life with my own kids.
Opens up communication channels with your children. They start having more confidence to confide in you and trust that you’d be their best supporter and worst critic.
Helps lower tension in the household. With you being more aware of how you respond/react to unpleasant and uncalled for situations with your kids, you start self-regulating your behavior. With a change in your behavior, there’s bound to be more peace and less stress not just in your own mind but in those of others around you as well.
Makes you feel overall satisfied and successful as a parent. You’re able to deal with your kids better, you’re less stressed, your kids are happier with you - a win-win situation for all and you emerge as the ultimate winner!
Your kids start allowing you to get more involved in their lives. You’d start noticing this when they enter teenage and there’s a natural distancing happening with them finding it difficult/unnatural to cling on or share each and every thing with you. But when you’ve been mindful to their feelings, words, thoughts and actions all through, they’d always want to come back to you at every age.
Last, but definitely not the least, with mindful parenting, the whole parenting journey starts appearing more enjoyable and less stressful :) Now that’s what we want, right?
If you’re not a mindful parent yet, don’t fret. It’s never too late to ‘unlearn’ outdated practices and ‘learn’ what would work best for you and your child. And mindful parenting will always work and give you positive results. So, why the wait? Let’s get started on becoming one!
(Are you a mindful parent? Please do share your experiences and benefits with me in the comments below. If you like the post, don’t forget to share it with other parents in your network to help them learn the positive effects of mindful parenting too. Subscribe to the blog for more such posts in your inbox.)