It is Saturday morning and all you want to do this weekend is relax. You have put off the alarm already and plan to sleep a little more. It is 8 am now and you look around. Your children are sleeping peacefully and so is your husband. There is just nothing as soothing as this sight. You get even cozier and get back to sleep.
Suddenly, as the clock strikes 8.05 am, your elder daughter is screaming in pain, the younger one is pulling her hair, and the first thing you do to calm them down is- slap them both. They both go to their dad crying and you end up feeling guilty to have slapped them. Relatable much? Sure it is!
Mindful Parenting: What is that?
So what if this is a commonplace scenario? The trouble today, is that each of these reactions are far more damaging than it ever was. Mindful parenting is about working towards a better response than reacting. Now this is something that you have acquired from your parents, in real terms. Mindfulness is the capacity of the mind to respond to situation rather than react to them.
Parenting is a process of constant learning and unlearning. Some days are great while others are cumbersome. You win some, you lose some. So how can mindfulness help?
Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. That sounds quite simple, but in practice, it isn’t. When you say that your child is being unruly, you must ponder about what should your response be like. Most of times, we ‘react’ towards our child’s behaviour rather than just respond. A simple example can be the way we communicate.
“Oh look at that beggar, if you don’t study well, you will end up being a beggar”- this one is a crass example. A mindful parent could say something like, “Look at the poor man. If you study well, you will be able to build a better future for him.” Get the difference now?
Mindful parenting involves everything from positive examples to being a role model yourself. It is about getting yourself to the level of knowing what is right and how it could be portrayed to the child. It involves paying complete attention to your feelings by also letting go of that guilt, shame or embarrassment. Of course, we don’t mean that you will never get angry or upset in the process, but we can ensure that you respond in a better way.
Benefits of being a mindful parent
- You get more aware of your feelings.
- You become more aware of what your child feels, needs, thinks or emotes.
- You regulate your emotions better.
- You are less judgmental about your feelings or your child’s feelings.
- Your strengthen your relationship with your child.
Benefits of mindful parenting for the child
- Your child will start communicating better.
- This can help them in addressing their emotions better and solving them in times of need rather than blasting at people without a reason.
- Sets a good example for everyone.
- They’re good at handling peer pressure.
- They respond positively to stressful situations.
How to become a mindful parent?
Well, we have spoken about how you could become a mindful parent, yes. But how? Here’s your guide to becoming one:
- Identify your emotional triggers and solve them– Yes, a lot of pent up frustration and emotional anger is released when your child behaves in a way that you least expect it, that’s why you should identify those triggers and cure the roots of those. For example: You may have been a reserved kid. So every time you look at your kid not talking to others much, you start worrying if he’ll end up like you later. Ideally, the problem here is yours and not the child’s.
- Address the emotions rightly- Firstly, STOP judging your emotions or how you feel. Notice why you feel a certain way and address it in a better way. Don’t bring the house down if things don’t go your way, RELAX and observe what’s bothering you.
- Learn to pause before reacting in anger– Learn how to channelize anger and if you really have to scream or so, pause and think: Is this necessary? Does it have to be now? How will it affect my child’s behaviour? Is this helping me relieve my stress? Once you answer these questions, you’re good to go!
- Don’t overthink, but think through– Your child can pick up thinking patterns. So when you talk to your child, talk in a way that you can gauge the pattern of his thoughts in the years to come. DON’T interpret his actions or words as an adult, but be a child and understand his/her reasons.
- Emphasize on spending moments one at a time– Don’t impose yourself on the child while making sure that you have set activities that you do with your child on a routine basis. May be Friday night games could be a set thing or say, a Sunday breakfast ritual. Maximize family time and minimize that brooding edge!