Mindfulness is a practice that has been going on for many years. It has gained momentum and following in Western society in the past few years. Being mindful is the practice of being focused on what is happening right now without dwelling on the past or future. Sound simple? It is not as easy as you think and it takes a great deal of work and practice.
I have been trying to lead a more mindful life in the past 10 months. I will be honest and let you know that I have had some good days and many other days where I have focused on how I have failed at it (not mindful at all). What is helping me now is knowing that right now in this moment I am breathing and I am me. (It has taken me a great deal of time to be okay with just being me!).
So what exactly is Mindful Parenting?
Mindful parenting is when we parent in the moment in a conscious manner. So when you are talking with your child you are focused on the conversation and tuning out the thoughts of everything you should or could be doing. This is also when you are aware of how you want to parent and keep that in your thoughts when your child is being a child.
How do you practice Mindful Parenting?
In my opinion, the main keys to Mindful Parenting are as follows:
1. Parenting in the moment: Allowing your child to start fresh each day and not dwell on past behaviours. When you parent in the moment you will find that it is important to stick with the boundaries you have set in a respectful and calm manner. There will be many moments throughout your child’s day that will be teachable moments. These are the moments that you are able to teach your child how to act in certain situations and it also gives you an opportunity to learn what your limits are.
3. Listening: This may seem easy but in reality, it can be really hard. Hearing your child’s opinion without cutting them off in mid-sentence. Practicing reflective listening so your child can hear how you have interpreted what they said. Reflective listening is when you state “I heard you say….”. Then it is important that you acknowledge their feelings by stating something like “I can hear that you are _____ (frustrated, angry, etc)”. This will help your child feel that she is heard and understood.
Mindful Parenting is one of the many styles of parenting that are practiced in today’s society. This method may or may not work for you. As with all things to do with parenting, it is important that you parent the way that is most comfortable for you.