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Parenting Roles: How to Practice Mindful Parenting

Learn how mindful parenting can enhance parenting roles in children’s lives.

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While becoming a parent is one of the most rewarding times of your life, filled with laughter, tenderness, and joy, it can be challenging, especially when you feel as though you and your parenting roles are not resonating with your children. This can often lead to unhealthy conflicts, shifting power dynamics, and strained relationships. Over time, this can further cause detrimental effects on their emotional, mental and physical well-being when they are older. Parents need to practice mindful parenting and learn to be as present with their children during times of conflict as much as possible. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to inform parents of the benefits of being a mindful parent and how to employ mindfulness techniques in their parenting roles.

What is Mindful Parenting?

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Before outlining the benefits and techniques of mindful parenting, it is essential that we define what mindfulness is at its core so that you may understand how the premise of this practice can be beneficial in your children’s lives. Mindfulness is rooted in Hindu and Buddhist teachings that date back thousands of centuries and is now practiced in conventional science and medicine. To practice mindfulness or to be mindful is “the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are, what we’re doing, and not be overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us. Mindfulness is a quality that every human being already possesses. It’s not something you have to conjure up; you just have to learn how to access it.” Studies indicate that being mindful can improve various aspects of our lives, including:

  • Improvement of your well-being

  • Improvement of your physical health

  • Improvement of your mental health, including the reduction of depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and obsessive-compulsive disorder

Mindful Parenting to Improve Parenting Roles

Keeping this premise in mind, the overall objective of being mindful as a parent is to respond thoughtfully to your child’s behaviors, whether positive or negative, rather than merely reacting to them. This will not only enable you to cultivate and maintain a nurturing relationship with your child, but it will also allow you to work on acceptance of yourself and your child simultaneously.

It is important to remember that children learn from the actions and behavioral responses that we relay to them. Therefore, stress and anger will become their stress and anger later on in life as they cannot respond to adverse situations and behaviors effectively. While parenting itself is never going to be a walk in the park, mindfulness doesn’t equate to being positive all the time. It simply implies that when we evaluate and engage in the present moment. By doing so, we refrain from allowing our emotions and trauma that we may have experienced as children, to allow ourselves to respond appropriately.

This is not to say that you cannot respond in frustration or anger towards situations, but rather responding from a more informed state of mind instead of reacting automatically.

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The Qualities of Mindful Parenting

The three qualities parents practice while mindfully parenting their children are:

  • Being aware of what is happening currently at the moment

  • Understanding the behavior of your child

  • Being non-judgment, accepting, and compassionate in the responses we relay back to them

When we take these three qualities into account, we can:

  • Listen and fully understand why our children may not be behaving well. Allow them to speak if they are old enough and explain to you how they are feeling. This will not only allow you to understand their point of view, but it will also indicate to them that their feelings are validated rather than minimizing them.

  • Model to our children what emotional awareness is so they too can respond accordingly and express their feelings in positive ways.

  • Accept and love our children for who they are rather than holding nonrealistic expectations of them.

  • Teach them to regulate their emotions by thinking before acting rather than yelling and acting in anger.

The Benefits of Mindful Parenting Roles

Extensive research by child development psychologists indicates that mindful parenting roles can benefit children by:

  • Reducing stress and anxiety

  • Creating a safe environment for children to learn

  • Allowing children to understand their feelings and regulate them accordingly

  • Enhancing the development of their prefrontal cortex

  • Promoting communication and listening skills

  • Producing empathy

Final Thoughts

As you can see, mindful parenting helps to support children’s healthy development from when they are young through to adolescence. While parenting is challenging, practicing mindful parenting techniques can aid in the relationship between you and your child and determine how they will behave towards future situations.