Mindfulness, the practice of focusing on just one thing, means to simply experience the moment while excluding worries, self-doubts and distractions.
Jon Kabat-Zinn, the founder of the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society together with his wife Myla, apply the concept of mindfulness to parenting. According to Kabat-Zinn, mindfulness allows us to see past surface appearances and understand our children clearly. It allows parents to be less reactive and more conscious of their actions and choices.
Understand Your Child’s Point-of-View
- Imagine the world from your child’s point-of-view. Imagine how you appear to your child. Think about what type of parent you are to your child.
- Be mindful of your expectations of your child. Consider whether they are truly in your child’s best interest.
- Practice putting the needs of your child above your own needs. Find times when both your child’s needs and your own needs can be met simultaneously.
- When you are unsure or lost, practice bringing your full attention to the situation. Remember that sometimes it is good to remain silent until you become more sure of what is called for in the situation.
- Make quiet time and practice mindfulness for yourself. Focus on continuing to grow in self-knowledge and awareness.
- Practice accepting even difficult moments without trying to change them. Let go of attempts to achieve a specific outcome. Practice seeing whatever comes up as “workable.”
Build a Relationship with your Child
- Apologize when you are in the wrong or have betrayed a trust. Apologies demonstrate that you have thought about a situation. However, they lose effectiveness if they are overused.
- Think about how your child is unique and notice your child’s special needs.
- Be clear, strong and unequivocal when the situation calls for it. Let your limits come from awareness and judgment rather than fear and a need to control.