Mindfulness means being in tune with your present thoughts, actions, and situation. Being in tune is definitely a vital part of parenting well. There’s no one like a truly present parent to make sure a kid grows up with sufficient love and proper guidance. But in today’s generation, it’s becoming more of a challenge to be still and focus on kids. Ahead, we have gathered mindful parenting tips to strengthen your connection with your child.
5 Mindful Parenting Tips to Make You a More ‘In Tune’ Parent
What does it mean to parent with mindfulness?
Put simply, mindful parenting means modelling healthy emotional management for kids to learn how to do so as well. It doesn’t mean being a “perfect parent” or floating easily through parenting, but it means choosing to be positive and patient despite the many stresses and distractions of life.
Why do parents need to be more connected to kids? Because kids today are growing up in an age where they seem to be detached. Both kids and parents tend to “silo” or isolate themselves, says renowned life coach and author Deanna Murphy at the recent Shift UP! Manila workshop.
During her insightful talk, she talked more about how parents and kids can use strength strategies to live better.
She began by stressing the importance of knowing that our value does not increase or decrease depending on what we can contribute or achieve.
1. Respond without reacting, know when to pause
In order to raise emotionally intelligent kids, we need to keep our own feelings in check. After all, who better to model self-regulation than mum and dad, right? Admittedly, there will be times when you WILL lose your cool.
We all have different stressors that trigger us. But mindful parenting means managing your stress, so that you’re not in a perpetually reactive mode.
Know that your child is very sensitive to your feelings. Even words and actions that you think aren’t a big deal can seriously worry or even frighten your child.
If something upsets you, take a step back. This is one of the most challenging times to practice mindfulness. We are all human, and so we can get carried away by intense emotions.
But we can learn to be more mindful with constant practice. The key is to breathe and refrain from speaking. Focus on how you should respond, give yourself time, and think about how a certain type of reaction could possibly affect your child in the future.
2. Give your kids space to just be, with loving guidance
Establishing healthy boundaries is one of the most important mindful parenting tips. If parents give them space, mums and dads also benefit from this because they have more time to process their own needs and goals without projecting too much onto their kids.
When you try to “help them the way you would’ve wanted help based on your strengths when you were a child, it’s a complete mismatch,” explains Murphy.
“We miss connecting with our children and we invalidate them. So rather than discovering what makes them unique and how they work, we try to make them over in our image. And it hurts. And kids don’t feel understood by their parents.
3. Listen to your child intently
“You’re making a difference by simply listening,” reassures Deanna Murphy in her recent talk. It’s important to validate your child’s thoughts and feelings even if you don’t necessarily agree with them.
Don’t cultivate a culture of negation or one that’s too focused on problems. Reframe the situation in a way that helps both you and your child gain perspective.
If your child is throwing a tantrum, try to see past their behaviour (however irritating it might be) and focus on times when you felt truly connected to them. Focus on that and even in conflict, you can find ways to strengthen your bond.
4. Respond to stress with strength
When stressed out, know your strengths while accepting your weaknesses as well. Don’t pressure yourself to be perfect, and don’t be too hard on your kids as well.
Find out what their real needs are without projecting what you would have wanted as a child.
When you teach kids to recognise their own strengths and own needs, then the greatest question you can ask is, “What do you need right now?”
5. Foster kindness and compassion
Self-care is so important for parents. While teaching kids to be kind is important, parents also need to practice what they preach. More than kindness to others, mindfulness is being kind to yourself. It means not seeking approval and validation from others.
When parents allow acceptance and positivity to reign over every day, it will naturally become a part of their interactions with kids.
We need to teach kids to be mindful, to be more connected in their life, and invested in the lives of others.
Most of all, mindfulness is being truly in the moment, fully present for your kids. As they say, the days are long, but the years are short. Before you know it, your kids will be grown, so while they’re young, make every effort to parent them in a calm and loving way that models how they should handle future relationships with others and with themselves.