Last night I attended a local parenting workshop on Mindful Parenting. I got some great take-aways, so I thought I would share them here.
1. Is NOT about being a perfectly peaceful, tea drinking, yoga mom (or dad).
2. It is observing, “showing up”/being present with your child, not judging (yourself or your child) for mistakes that happen, enjoying the present moment, listening (really listening and not just waiting for you turn to speak), and welcoming what is emerging in the moment (which can require dropping your agenda to flow with what the moment requires).
3. It’s about connecting to your body. The best way to be a “mindful parent” in a difficult moment is to draw your attention to your body. Stop, take a breath, maybe wiggle your toes or fingers, and remind yourself that you are in this moment. This helps to pull you out of any magnified emotions that may be fueled by what went on throughout the day, or even with someone else, and it helps get you out of the “fight or flight” mode (if you’ve gone there).
4. Recommends Collaborative Problem-Solving instead of being a rigid “boss” or “doormat/people-pleaser”, over-indulgent parent.
The steps for Collaborative Problem-Solving come from Ross Green, and were described in the workshop like this:
When an issue arrises with your child where they want something you can’t/don’t want to give them, you….
- Empathize first. People (including children) are always more likely to compromise if they first feel they have been heard, understood, and validated in their feelings/request. This puts the child’s interests “on the table”. This could sound like, “OK. You are really wanting pizza right now. Let me think about that”.
- Define the Problem. This is your chance to put your side of the issue on the table (SOOOO important that this comes 2nd, not 1st). This could be, “Well, we need to get to a doctor’s appointment in 10 minutes and I want to be sure we are on time”.
- Invite the other person to the “problem-solving party”. This can be as simple as saying, “Hmmm, what can we do about that?” or “How could we get some pizza and get to the appointment on time?” It’s a chance to encourage the child to be solution-focused, and shows that you trust they have wisdom and ideas for how to solve the problem. The younger the child, the more you are going to help them come up with ideas, but you still always want it to have the flavor of brain-storming options, instead of telling them what the solution has to be.
I hope you enjoy increasing your mindfulness in parenting, and I’d love to hear what “mindful parenting” is to you.