Being in the moment with our children can prove challenging in today’s modern age of parenting. It’s easy to become wrapped up in the daily stresses of life and work. One of the hardest struggles every parent faces is being present. Between work, life obligations, mobile phones and other smart devices, it’s easy to get lost in the fast pace of our digital age.
Mindful parenting not only strengthens your relationship with your children, but it also benefits them in other important ways. Let’s take a look at the basics of mindful parenting.
What Does Being Mindful Mean?
Mindful living, in its most basic terms, is living in the moment. To live mindfully is to experience every moment as it’s happening. Think of how often you get sidetracked during your daily tasks. For example, you may be talking to your boss, but you’re thinking about what you have to do once you leave the office. To be mindful means to slow down and hit the pause button. This allows you to become aware of your feelings and thoughts.
Mindful Parenting: The Basics
Mindful parenting endeavors to improve the moments you spend with your child. The goal of mindful parenting is to be 100 percent focused on your children when you are with them. For example, when you’re reading them a book you aren’t thinking about what you need to make for dinner. Your mental focus solely resides in reading the book and experiencing that moment with your child. A mindful parent is fully engaged in the present moment.
A mindful parent approaches each of their child’s actions (whether positive or negative) in a calm and controlled manner. Mindful parenting teaches parents to become less reactive to the challenges of parenting. Instead of allowing emotions to lead your response to a situation, mindful parenting involves making an effort to control your emotions and thoughts to respond in a positive manner.
Three Key Factors to Mindful Parenting
Mindful parenting isn’t simply smiling and producing positive interactions with your children. It’s about becoming more mindful and responsive as a parent. Instead of angrily yelling at your little one when they act out, mindful parenting encourages you to think before you react. It also includes parents looking at their reaction to the events as they unfold.
According to Justin Parent, lead researcher for the 2016 University of Vermont study outlining the benefits of mindful parenting across three developmental stages, there are three key components to mindful parenting:
- Noticing your own feelings when you conflict with your child.
- Learning to stop and pause before responding to a situation with your child in anger.
- Listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when you disagree with it.
These skills not only help to preserve the parent-child relationship, but they also provide positive role modelling of how to respond to difficult situations.
The benefits of mindful parenting are vast, to include:
- Reducing a child’s stress.
- Creating a safe and secure environment for a child to learn and explore.
- Teaching children how to be aware of the whole situation including their personal feelings, thoughts and emotions.
Mindful parenting also promotes the development of the middle prefrontal cortex. This section of the brain regulates the body, promotes listening and communication, cultivates emotional balance, calms fears, and produces empathy, intuition and morality. Additionally, new research indicates that children who experience mindful parenting are less likely to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.
While there is no one size fits all method to parenting; mindful parenting workshops provide parents with tools and resources to help develop more meaningful connections with their children.
At The Brain Workshop, we are proud to announce that we will be offering parenting workshops in the very near future. Our parenting workshops are designed to promote neurological growth and permanent behavioural changes.
If you are interested in learning more about mindful parenting or our parenting workshops, we’d love to speak with you. Give us a call or send us an email. We look forward to working with you and your family.