Mindfulness and Parenting
What is Mindful Parenting?
When we become parents we are of course naturally mindful about our children their needs, their safety, their happiness etc.. However oftentimes the separateness of the child can get lost in the day to day structure of family life.
Our children can become swept up in a "see it my way" culture that does not permit or give space for them to think and behave independently.
Depending on whether the child is older, in the middle, or younger will also have an effect on their ability to develop independent and critical thinking skills about how they see themselves and problem solve. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-8624.1994.tb00782.x/abstract
Conflicts and struggles within the family, between tweens, teens and parents,which come later, can be a result of the child discovering and trying to assert who they are and their place within the family and the family not accepting, listening to or seeing the individuality of the child.
Jon Kabat-Zin offers twelve exercises for Mindful Parenting which explains the skills and positive outcomes that can be achieved.
In these exercises, as parents, we are encouraged to imagine the world from the child's perspective, to know and understand ourself and our reactions to things. Learning to live with tension without losing balance. Mindful parenting does not mean over-indulgence or weakness equallly it does not mean being rigid or controlling.
For the exercises go to http://joyfullyrejoycing.com/changing%20parenting/mindfulparentingzinn.html
Independent learning which can be a positive outcome of mindfulness parenting will encourage the child to develop resilience and create healthy self esteem.
Reslience is an important protective factor that encourages security, self esteem and safety in the mental health of a child and adult to be. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psychological_resilience
Most children have a natural reslience to adversity but, in these days of helicopter and over protective parenting, some youth and young adults are displaying a lack of resilience and confidence in their ability to problem solve, ask for help and set healthy boundaries in relationships.
In order to raise resilient children it is important that the parent or caregiver for the child does not promote overt anxiety and concern about situation, places and people. When this happens the child will not grow up trusting and feeling safe within themselves or within their community. That can spiral into mental health problems and create neurosis and ongoing anxiety in adulthood.
The fifteen step guidelines " I Have, I Am, I Can" guidelines written by Grotberg, E.H. (1995). A guide to promoting resilience in children is an excellent resource for raising resilient children and supporting them to become healthy adults
Mindful parenting which leads to resiliency and healthy development within the child will create a youth or young adult who has:
- An Improved sense of well-being
- Ability to see options, choices and possibilities
- Decrease in unhealthy behaviours (for example drug use, risky sexual behaviours, self harm)
- Knowledge of how and when to ask for help
- Confidence in reasoning, problem solving and critical thinking skills