What does it mean to be a mindful parent? When defining mindful parenting it’s useful to know that mindfulness is a an active process and one that does not have to wait until you are alone in a quiet room, sitting comfortably on a cushion. This means that we have the opportunity to be mindful with our active children, and in fact, our children can be our best teachers, challenging us to stay grounded in the present moment, no matter what arises. There are many ways to incorporate mindfulness into parenting. We’ve come up with the “three C’s of mindful parenting to help you get started.
Mindfulness is an active process. Active children can be our best meditation teachers, offering us many opportunities to practice mindfulness
1. Control. Mindfulness offers us the ability to have more control of our emotions. Parenting is stressful, and parents can find themselves in a state of chronic stress in which strong emotions are easily triggered. We have all had experiences as parents where we wish we could rewind, and change our reaction. A daily practice of mindful breathing or mindful movement can help us stay in control of our reactions, and decrease those instances of losing self-control. And by modeling self-control, our children will learn to modulate their own emotions.
2. Confidence. As we accumulate instances where we react calmly to our kids, we build a sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy can be defined as the belief in our ability to complete a project, or see a thing through (like 18-plus years of parenting). It is different than self-esteem, which may come and go with circumstances. Self-efficacy is an internal, enduring belief in our competence. Studies have shown that meditation can increase care-giver self-efficacy.
3. Compassion. It would be nice if we could have infinite stores of good-will and compassion for our family members. However the grind of daily life can deplete our stores of compassion and good will, especially toward those that we are with on a daily basis. This is evident when we go through a rough patch with a spirited child, or a willful teenager. Mindfulness helps restore your compassion reserves. By taking time out to reset your nervous system and take care of your own body and mind, you will have an easier time having compassion for those around you even if they are going through a challenging phase.
(self)Control, Confidence (self-efficacy), and Compassion. Try practicing these three Cs of mindful parenting. Let us know how they work for you!
Looking for mindfulness basics? Start here.
We wish you twenty minutes of mindfulness everyday!