Why you should consider parenting mindfully.
If you have ever found yourself reacting more harshly than necessary when dealing with your child only to feel remorseful later on, you are not alone. Mindful parenting is a parenting strategy that focuses on stopping a negative interaction in its tracks before it occurs and reframing the interaction in a more balanced manner.
Mindful parenting helps us model healthier emotional reactions and shows our children a more positive and helpful way of managing their emotions, as well.
Here are some tips you can use to incorporate mindful parenting into your parenting style.
The Benefits of Mindful Parenting
There are many reasons why you should consider implementing a more mindful approach in your parenting style. Not only does mindful parenting help you maintain control over your own emotions, but it is also vital for your children to see how adults can manage their emotions healthily and constructively.
Some of the additional benefits of mindful parenting include:
- An increased level of awareness of your child’s own emotions and feelings
- A better parent/child relationship
- Improved communication style between yourself and your child
- The ability to avoid negative interactions and harsh exchanges of words
- Better management of your emotional reactions at work and home
- Increased sense of harmony within the home
3 Steps To Mindful Parenting
Mindful parenting can be viewed as a triangulation of steps you can take to create a healthier and more balanced way of communication. The next time something upsetting occurs, or you and your child are dealing with a conflict at home, take a moment and try the following:
No. 1: Take Note of Your Feelings
Whether you are feeling anxious, annoyed, or extremely angry, it is essential to take note of how you feel at that moment. Do not try to push that feeling away or magnify it either. Simply take note of your response to the situation before moving forward.
No. 2: Consider a Short “Time Out” Before You Respond
While taking a short break before responding might seem simple, it is the most challenging component of mindful parenting. Taking a break can help prevent the situation from escalating and saying or doing things out of anger that you cannot take back. The next time something upsetting occurs between you and your child, take a few minutes to walk away from the situation and go to another room where you can gather your thoughts and think about your next step.
No. 3: Actively Listen to Your Child’s Point of View
Children respond to situations the way children are supposed to. They lack the ability to regulate their emotions yet. They may often respond with anger or yell when things do not go their way. Try to understand this and allow them to express their point of view (even if you do not agree with them). Letting them voice their opinion and actively listening to them while they speak will give you insight into their mindset and strengthen your bond with each other.
Mindful parenting involves parenting in a way that really pays attention to and supports your child. This style of parenting can help your child’s mental well-being and provide you with greater peace of mind.
Anthony Cupo is a Trained Mindfulness Facilitator (TMF) from the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. He is a co-owner of Stepping Forward Counseling Center, LLC, and has been meditating for over 30 years. Our article is also published in ParentingOC’s Magazine!