“Mindfulness is not hitting someone in the mouth.”
Those were the words of an 11-year-old boy who had just completed a five-week mindfulness-training program at his school, as reported by The New York Times. It’s a simple statement, but it speaks to several of the emotional and psychological benefits of mindfulness training, including increased patience and frustration tolerance, and the ability to stay calm in the midst of challenging situations and intense emotions.
What parent doesn’t want our child to use her words instead of throw a tantrum or take a deep breath instead of smash a toy? The reality is that our children will get better at these skills, but it’s a life-long learning process. (I started meditating at age 35 because I wanted to yell less!) The good news is that we can start to teach our children these skills now — as evidenced by the words of that 11 year-old boy — and there is a lot of research and information about how to do it.
You can read my suggestions for introducing our children to mindfulness over on the Huffington Post Stress-Less Parenting page.