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What is Mindful Parenting?

The concept of mindfulness is pretty straightforward. To paraphrase Jon Kabat-Zinn, it’s about paying attention to the present, on purpose, without judgment. That might seem pretty easy, but when you dig a little deeper, it becomes clear that it’s no easy task.

In a world filled with screens and phones and distractions at every turn, paying attention can be challenging, to say the least. The reality is that most of us just aren’t good at focusing on anything for more than a few minutes. Even when we do slow down long enough to do one thing at a time, our minds are often elsewhere, worrying about something that’s already happened, or thinking about the next thing we need to work on. Often, we’re berating ourselves (or someone else) for doing something wrong, or congratulating ourselves for finally getting it right. Either way, we don’t often have the experience of just being in the moment, paying attention to whatever is happening, not trying to change anything.

What greater gift could we possibly give to our children than our presence, our full acceptance of them, whoever they are, whatever they bring? We all know what those moments of mindful connection feel like; we are immersed in the present, in the experience of relationship. We’re full of love for our children, and we feel like good parents. It’s easier to remain mindful when we are doing something fun and interesting together; it’s much harder when someone (or everyone!) is feeling angry, frustrated, or bored. Yet that’s precisely when our children need to know that we love them, and that we value our relationship with them.

4 Comments to
What is Mindful Parenting?

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  1. Another wonderful, helpful reminder to stay present in the moment.

  2. A great post. I also find it helpful to work with my kids on staying in the present too. Not meditation, but a bit of yoga can start even when they are young… we also talk about video games turning “their head to cheese’ which makes it funny, but they get the point.

  3. I really like the way you write these articles. I have a lot of work to do to become a mindful parent, but I will try starting today. Thanks and keep sharing your thoughts.

  4. Pardon my possible language errors – english is not my mother language.
    I love this article! I especially love how you tell about how also you have trouble doing the mindful parenting, how also you snap and regret later your actions. I have exactly the same kind of feelings. I have earlier yelled a lot more to my kids, but am now learning to notice at that exact moment of frustration that this is not how I need to behave. When I notice my feelings, it gives me an option not to react the wrong way. I also need to forgive myself at times my behavior, even though I’m tempted to go on blaming myself rest of the day about how I have behaved towards my kids. This also reminded me that we have to accept also the feelings of sadness sometimes. I also hurry to ‘fix’ things, so that my kids don’t need to be sad about anything, or bored etc. Very good article and good reminder!


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