As a parent, your relationship with your child sets the foundation for your child’s future relationships and psychological health for years to come. Mindful parenting provides the framework to raise children who become inner-directed, authentic, secure beings that are deeply connected to themselves and others and can manage life’s inevitable stressors with resilience.
Children benefit in countless ways from mindful parenting. They become more independent and competent as they grow up, and they understand and openly communicate their feelings and needs with others. Confidence, attentiveness, and respect are all common qualities in children whose parents practice mindful parenting. From a young age, mindfulness helps children develop an awareness and acceptance of their full spectrum of emotions. Because of the deep emotional connection between parent and child through this style of parenting, children tend to feel unconditional love and acceptance from their parents. They feel seen, heard, and know that they can rely on their parent(s) to meet their emotional needs. As they grow older, children can also meet their own emotional needs because it has been modeled and practiced with them.
Mindful parenting can be a profound experience for parents, too. This approach creates an awareness of the unconscious parts of the self that need further exploring and healing, which results in natural personal growth. It encourages healthy habits, such as self-care, attunement to yourself and others, and presence in the moment.
In my world there are no bad kids, just impressionable, conflicted young people wrestling with emotions and impulses, trying to communicate their feelings & needs the only way they know how.”Janet Lansbury
What Is Mindful Parenting?
Mindful Parenting incorporates principles from Magda Gerber’s Educaring™ Approach. She emphasized the importance of respect, calling it the basis of her parenting model. The goal of her approach was to help parents raise authentic children, which affects the personality of the child in a way that sets them up to thrive. Mindfulness is the quality of being fully present mentally, physically, and emotionally. In mindful parenting, we practice being present and authentic with ourselves and our child. Our position in the relationship with our child is not a “one-up position,” but rather a relationship with open communication, empathy, transparency, care about one another’s opinions, thoughts, desires, and needs while maintaining limits, boundaries, and providing guidance.
Mindful parenting is a way of relating to your child that helps make times of conflict opportunities for connection. Mindfulness does not eliminate stress from your life, but it allows you to move through difficult times while maintaining your calm despite the chaos.
How to Practice Mindful Parenting
One of the most important principles of mindful parenting is patience and compassion with ourselves while we practice showing up better. Slowing down our thoughts and reactions takes conscious effort as well as practice. Applying mindfulness to your parenting is a long-term, gradual process that involves consistent self-reflection.
Here Are Some Tenets of Mindful Parenting
1. Parent-child relationship above all else
Mindful parenting encourages putting the relationship with your child above all else during times of conflict. When we get caught in a power struggle with our children, we tend to be acting from our ego. Through mindful parenting, we develop a parent-child relationship centered around love and trust by way of repairing when our relationship has ruptures.
Children need to feel seen, heard and understood, so listening is one of the core skills of mindful parenting. No matter how young your child is, their thoughts, opinions, and feelings are considered and validated.
3. Welcome All Emotions
In mindful parenting, we value the importance and “genius” behind all of our emotions, even the uncomfortable ones. We work to allow them to exist within us by labeling them as they arise, accept them without judgment, and release them in a healthy way.
4. Respect Is Mutual
We model respect by speaking to children as beings worthy of respect. Children are often wiser and more intuitive than we give them credit for. Being courteous and welcoming open communication is an important part of mindful parenting.
5. Empathy First
Mindful parenting involves modeling deep empathy (not cognitive empathy) and validation for yourself and others.
6. Praise the Process, Not the Outcome
In mindful parenting, we emphasize your child’s strengths and praise their behavior to facilitate a growth mindset. Studies on different types of praise have shown that telling children they are smart encourages a fixed mindset, whereas praising hard work and effort cultivates a growth mindset. When children have a growth mindset, they take on challenges and learn from them, therefore increasing their abilities and achievement. This perspective allows children to see failures as opportunities for growth instead of as evidence of flaws or shortcomings.
7. Explore Triggers
Impulsive emotional reactions sometimes happen when a child strikes a nerve that hasn’t been processed enough within the parent. Mindful parenting encourages acknowledging and working through your own triggers as a way to improve your relationship with your child.
My child isn’t my easel to paint onShefali Tsabary, PhD
Nor my diamond to polish
My child isn’t my trophy to share with the world
Nor my badge of honor
My child isn’t an idea, an expectation, or a fantasy
Nor my reflection or legacy
My child isn’t my puppet or a project
Nor my striving or desire
My child is here to fumble, stumble, try, and cry
Learn and mess up
Fail and try again
Listen to the beat of a drum faint to our adult ears
And dance to a song that revels in freedom
My task is to step aside
Stay in infinite possibility
Heal my own wounds
Fill my own bucket
And let my child fly”
Work with Us
Sherman Oaks Therapy & Wellness offers counseling to clients interested in mindful parenting. We can help you learn how to pause, leave space, and fully appreciate the relationship you have with your child. We offer in-office therapy or virtual therapy sessions via secure video. Click here to schedule a free 15-minute consultation or an appointment.