7 Skills That Lay the Foundation of Mindful Parenting
You are tired of constant bickering.
And the negative mood at home is just pulling you down.
You want, but fail, to see your children continuously vibrating at the level of joy and gratitude.
And their addiction to their screens is unbearable.
You crave for the connection which used to appear in previous generations, but how you can achieve that connection?
Mindfulness is the first step towards getting the life back on track. And mindful parenting is first step towards getting familial life back on track.
Are you ready to claim back your connection with your children?
First master the five skills which are essential pillars of mindful parenting.
Skill # 1 Mindfulness
Of course, if you are not mindful, there is no point in calling the parenting style as mindful parenting. You need to be attentive during interactions with your child.
In fact, you need to be attentive every minute of the day. Practicing this mindset will allow you to apply it in front of your kid.
If you have spent most part of your life on auto-pilot becoming mindful may appear impossible for you. But you can flex your mental muscles progressively to achieve higher levels of mindful presence in the present moment.
We shall cover the steps to transition from an absent-minded lifestyle to mindful lifestyle in one of our future posts.
Skill # 2 Emotionally Aware
This is a must skill. However, if you are practicing mindfulness for quite some time, there is no way you are not attuned to your emotions.
When done rightly, mindfulness allows the disciple to understand their emotions as and when they arise.
If you are mindful parent, you need to differentiate between your past emotions and your care for your child. Only then, you will be able to keep your past from affecting the way you communicate and discipline your kids.
Skill # 3 Listening
Or we can name this skill as active listening. Once you have gotten to a point where you can mindfully attend your child’s conversation, the act of active listening will not demand much from you.
The foundation of active listening is grounded in being present enough to appreciate other person’s opinion. When parents listen attentively, they better understand the viewpoint of their children.
This understanding allows them to respond to these viewpoints and behaviors in the best possible way.
Skill # 4 Non-Judgmental Acceptance
But what will happen when the viewpoint of our child don’t align with our opinions? Should we just listen to these opinions and let them vent without interfering? Or should we intervene and tell them how they differ from us?
In a viable approach to non-judgmental listening, the focus of the listener should rest on the speakers’ point of view and not on what listeners think of these opinions. Successful parents always keep in mind that their children will only give as much importance to parents’ opinion as much importance parents have given to their children’s opinion.
If you are non-judgmental, you can tell them your opinion. But this communication of your opinion should be respectful. Plus, you should present your opinion not as a dogmatic truth but as a different viewpoint.
Again, the focus should remain on children’s feelings and thoughts. Always remember that, even if their emotions appear unjust and un-called-for they are just as valid and rational in the moment as our emotions ever become.
As parents, it’s not our job to discipline our kids’ emotions and feelings. Instead our role is to let the children peacefully communicate with their emotions so they can experiment with them and choose what works.
Skill # 5 Presence in the Moment
One of the best skill included in the package of mindful parenting is parents’ ability to remain independent of children’s emotions and character.
You see, mindful parenting allows the parents to live in the moment. They are encouraged to refrain from extrapolating the recent tantrum on every other parenting moment.
If you are mindful parent, you will witness your child’s momentary failure in any area of life. You help them through this phase. And you feel the moment, live in it, and solve it.
But even when you go through all these motions, thoughts, and emotions; you never project this failure onto their future.
So, if a child is having a difficult homework session, a mindful parent understands that this difficulty is for now only. He/she will not think about the yesterday’s homework monster nor would he think about the long academic years waiting ahead.
Their focus of concern will remain on the moment. Or if it will wander, they will remind their monkey mind that this is just a phase which will soon pass.
Skill # 6 Positive Regard
Another distinguishing skill practiced by these parents is their understanding of failure as a momentary failure. In other words, they don’t associate their children with the momentary failure.
They understand that such instances are only a part of their kids’ development not their whole personality.
Skill # 7 Empathy
In the end, mindful parenting also demands that parents remain empathetic towards their children’s needs.
Most of the times, emotional tantrums arise out of physical limitations faced by children.
Other times, they arise because of conflict in their desires from the life and parents’ opinion.
In these instances, the parents should make a point in validating their opinions.
Mindful parents go beyond validation and look at the child from a place of empathy and acceptance.
They understand that kids are trying their best to be a positive member of the family. If they are failing at any of their roles, this failure doesn’t show them being irresponsible or careless. Instead this failure only shows their limitations.
In such times of failures, emotional or physical, they need and deserve more attention and validation.
You want best environment at home. Your kids should be the happy, healthy kids you have always dreamed of having.
And you want a perfect bond between you and your kids.
But that perfect bond requires investment of your time and mental energy. Are you ready to make this investment?
These seven skills to mindful parenting give a good point to start building your bond.