Working to become a better parent for a child has its share of difficulties. Practicing mindful parenting can be a way to help regulate emotions and aid in a better relationship between a parent and child. So, what is mindful parenting? According to the Gottman Institute, mindful parenting is focusing on what is happening now, rather than letting emotions take control. Changing the focus on what is happening right now and finding acceptance instead of trying to change the narrative or ignore it, provides a more mindful way to approach difficult situations. Mindful parenting carries many benefits. Not only for the parent and the child, but more importantly, the relationship between the two.
According to the Gottman Institute, by practicing mindful parenting you become:
More aware of your feelings and thoughts
More aware and responsive of your child’s needs, thoughts, and feelings
Better at regulating your own emotions
Less critical of yourself and your child
Better at standing back from situations and avoiding impulsive reactions
But the most important benefit is that the relationship will improve.
We have defined what mindful parenting is and how it benefits everyone involved. The next step is putting mindful parenting into practice.
There are many ways mindful parenting can be achieved and practiced. Many times, when a child makes us upset or angry, it’s easy to have an automatic response. It is extremely difficult to put our best foot forward during stressful situations. Something to keep in mind is that children tend to have a good idea as to what buttons to push, in order to elicit a response. To help change parenting behaviors, there are two steps that can be practiced.
First, become familiar with “hot spots.” Hot spots, defined by the Gottman Institute, are times throughout the day when we are not as in tune with ourselves and we are a bit preoccupied with other problems. Once those hot spots are identified, it is easier to regulate the conversation with children, because the knowledge of personal hot spots has been identified. The Gottman Institute states that understanding emotional triggers is the second way to achieve mindful parenting. Finding what words or actions may be more difficult to handle than others, is one way to identify emotional triggers.
After we have identified our emotional triggers, we can learn how to regulate ourselves if our children engage them.
Try putting some of these skills into practice!
There are many other helpful articles, videos, as well as books that dive into mindful parenting. Here are a few!
First, check out this article from the Gottman Institute
Another article with good tips for mindful parenting is one from Child Mind
A great book resource written by Hunter Clarke-Fields, a mindfulness mentor, Raising Good Humans
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