There are key factors in mindful based parenting:
- Noticing your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child, what is happening with you? ( hungry, in a fight with your spouse, tired?)
- Learning to pause before responding in anger, first take three deep breaths, discipline (to teach) is not a race
- Listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it (listening doesn’t mean you agree), “I know you want cookies(pause) we have yogurt or apple”
- Recognizing that all things are temporary. Children are constantly changing, often shedding habits and behaviors with each passing week. It’s best to add “…for now” to the end of your observations about your child. “She’s not sleeping through the night…for now” or “He refuses to eat anything but Chicken nuggets…for now”
- Accepting your child as flawed. When we spend time with our children day in and day out, it’s easy for us to hyper-focus on a problem behavior or compare them to other children (“His cousin says please and thank you.”).
- Accepting yourself and your parenting as flawed. Your job is to provide unconditional love and safety for your child, not to anticipate her every whim or keep him from having negative experiences. If you find yourself constantly striving toward some unrealistic ideal or scrutinizing your every move, it may be time to throw away the parenting books and focus on listening to your own instincts.
John Kabat-Zinn (Leader in mindfulness) contends that “…our love for children is expressed and experienced in the quality of the moment-to-moment relationships we have with them. It deepens in everyday moments when we hold those moments in awareness and dwell within them. Love is expressed in how we pass the bread, or how we say good morning, and not just in the big trip to Disney World. It is in the everyday kindnesses we show, the understanding we bring, and in the openness of our acceptance. Love is expressed by embodying love in our actions. Whether we are facing good times or hard times on any given day or in any moment, the quality of our attention and our presence is a deep measure of our caring and of our love for our children.”