What is it & how do we do it?
Mindful parenting is the practice of being aware of what is happening in the present moment. All too often we find ourselves worrying about what is yet to come and therefore miss out on the present. Being a mindful parent allows us to slow down and concentrate on ‘being’ rather than ‘doing’. It incorporates factors such as non-judgemental acceptance, listening, emotional awareness, self-regulation, and compassion. Mindfulness can have some pretty incredible effects on both your own and your child’s well-being, so let’s take a closer look at what you can expect if you begin to practice mindful parenting.
The benefits of mindful parenting are varied and rewarding.
Possibly one of the most sought after benefits of practicing mindful parenting is that it has been proven to strengthen the parent-child bond.Mindfulness allows us to really be present when we are spending time with our children, supporting them to feel heard and valued. It reinforces the message that you are there for them.
Many parents have found that mindful parenting can have a significant impact on the well-being of the family. A study by George Mason University found that mindful parenting supports parents and children to share more positive emotions, demonstrating less negative emotions.This is also found in conflict resolution. Children whose parents practice mindful parenting are more able to resolve conflict in a calm, kind and respectful manner. This makes for a much happier household with less teenage tantrums, which I think every family would love to benefit from!
Let’s look at a bit of the science behind mindful parenting. Mindfulness, which is a very old Buddhist principle, has become the focus of much new research as the benefits are hard to ignore. For example, mindful parenting supports the development of the prefrontal cortex, the part of your brain responsible for communication, emotions, empathy and morality. This has been shown to lead to fewer mental health issues and lower instances of drug use, which is definitely a win in my book.
While it would be impossible to outline every single benefit of mindful parenting in this blog post, here is a list of some of the other benefits:
- Parenting feels less stressful
- Higher levels of parental involvement
- Less behavioural issues in children
- Fewer symptoms of hyperactivity
- Higher parenting satisfaction
- Children exhibit better decision-making skills
- Both children and parents show higher levels of emotional intelligence
- An overall happier and more satisfied family unit.
Overall, mindful parenting leads to improved well-being for the whole family, not just the parents.
There seems to be a common misconception that mindful parenting is only for the parents, but the benefits for the children are incredible too! It feels like a no-brainer to me. Not only do we, as parents, make our own lives easier and more satisfying by ridding ourselves of judgement as a result of being compassionate, accepting and present, but we can also support our children to develop many skills and traits that will help them to be happy and successful in their future. Mindful parenting is the gift that keeps on giving - what you choose to do today will stay with your children for the rest of their lives. So why not have a blast parenting instead of focusing on the pitfalls?