How mindful parenting can help develop a healthier parent-child relationship.
It can be very challenging to raise a young family. If you have found yourself losing your patience and overreacting when your child says or does something unacceptable, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are ways to modify your parenting style and create a loving, secure bond with your child.
Mindful parenting is a parenting technique that helps to prevent you from overreacting while maintaining a secure bond with your child.
Following is some helpful information on what mindful parenting is, as well as the benefits and challenges that come with it.
What is Mindful Parenting?
When a parent practices a mindful parenting style, they take a moment to assess the situation to gather their thoughts, gauge their emotions and react more proportionally to what is occurring.
In other words, if your child spills a gallon of milk on the floor during an already hectic morning, you might unnecessarily yell at them or speak harshly. On the other hand, if you practice mindful parenting, you would step back and take a moment to assess your emotions before engaging with your child. You might even go to another room to gather your thoughts and calm down before proceeding with the cleanup.
Research suggests that using a more mindful parenting style will help you react more calmly and allows for a healthier parent-child relationship.
What Are the Key Factors of Mindful Parenting?
There are several components to effective mindful parenting techniques. The following are the most important things to remember when practicing mindful parenting:
- Make sure you are actively listening to your child so you can understand their rationale for their behavior.
- Be sure to allow your child to feel the way they do without judgment or harsh criticism.
- Model appropriate emotional reactions and maintain positive communication to increase the likelihood of them responding similarly.
- Think before you react and regulate your own behavior and response to the situation.
- Maintain compassion and empathy for your child and understand that no one is perfect.
What Are the Treats of Mindful Parenting?
There are several reasons why you should consider changing the way you respond to your child, especially during challenging times. Following are some of the many benefits you and your child will enjoy once you have effectively implemented a mindful parenting strategy into your life:
- You will become more aware of your own issues with self-regulation.
- You can use the skills and strategies in other areas of your life, including in the workplace.
- You will enjoy a better relationship with your child.
- Your child will be more likely to open up to you about difficult situations they may be dealing with.
- You will enjoy a calmer, happier home environment with less stress and tension.
Are There Any Challenges to Mindful Parenting?
Many parents struggle with their own emotional self-regulation, especially during times of stress. Yelling or getting worked up over difficult parenting situations can be hard habits to break. The main challenges you are likely to face are:
- Forcing yourself to slow down and think before reacting
- Maintaining empathy for your child’s point of view
- Keeping an open line of communication about what your expectations for behavior are in both private and public settings
Like any skill, establishing a routine of mindful parenting takes practice. Fortunately, with just a little time and patience you will find yourself approaching every challenging situation you may face with your child in a kinder, gentler manner.
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!