Parenting is an adventure! It can be one of the most rewarding, exciting and joyful challenges we can endeavor. Yet parenting can also leave us feeling exhausted, frustrated and uncertain that we are fulfilling our role to its fullest potential - as parents, as adult role models. Sometimes these challenges can leave us feeling at a loss with our thoughts, feelings and actions.
Mindful Parenting can serve as a framework whereby parents bring moment-to-moment awareness with intention to the parent–child relationship. Further developing the qualities of listening with full attention when interacting with their children, cultivating emotional awareness and self-regulation in parenting, and bringing compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to their parenting interactions.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, a pioneer in the field of Mindfulness, incorporating mindful awareness into parenting interactions can allow parents to pause and essentially shift their awareness in order to view their present-moment parenting experience within the context of the long-term relationship that they have with their child, as well as attend to their child’s needs, while exercising self-regulation and wise choice in their actions. When a parent can do this, they shift the dynamic of parenting from a judging, self-focused and auto-pilot approach (which will likely lead to less than optimal quality in parent–child relationships) to one of acceptance, child-focused and mindfulness. Mindful parenting suggests that parents who can remain aware and accepting of their child’s needs through using mindfulness practices can create a family context that allows for more enduring satisfaction and enjoyment in the parent–child relationship.
Here are 12 Mindful Parenting Exercises we can reflect and practice as we continue our Mindful Parenting Journey (excerpted from Jon and Myla Kabat-Zinn's Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. © 1997):
If you found this article insightful in any way, please feel free to share your thoughts and feelings in the comments section below.