Mindful Parenting: 3 Steps to Change Your Relationship With Your Kids! by Jill Ceder, LMSW, JD
Mindful parenting means bringing your conscious attention to yourself, instead of being hijacked by emotions. It doesn't mean that you won't get angry or upset or feel negative emotions, but acting on them mindlessly is what hurts our parenting. Here are three key factors to mindful parents:
- Notice your own feelings. Think about a recent fight. Feeling angry, ashamed, embarrassed? Try to feel your emotion as waves – coming and going. Don’t push it away, judge, reject it. Don’t cling to it, make it bigger. You don’t need to blame yourself or your kid. Try to see the conflict through your kid's eyes – with kindness.
- Learn to pause before responding in anger. The hardest and most important part is being able to find that calm space in the heat of the moment. We practice by focusing our attention on our body and breath because emotions present as changes in body and breath. When we are calm we can choose to respond and not react.
- Listen carefully to your child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it. Your kid is going to act like a kid! Kids won’t always be able to manage their feelings. They are learning how to regulate and have different priorities than adults.
Self-care is vital for parents. Not selfish. Essential.