Being a mindful parent is the practice of parenting consciously and with intention. Each and every moment can provide the opportunity to deepen the connection and relationship with your kids by being present, being aware and paying attention. Cultivating a mindfulness practice provides parents a greater sense of peace and calm, as well as the ability to enjoy the process, even during messy, frustrating or difficult moments.
Parents often go through the motions just to get through the day. There are routines to follow, schedules to keep, domestic responsibilities, carpooling and homework, extracurricular activities and play dates, all the while managing your own lives and careers. It’s no wonder raising kids can create chaos, challenges and struggles for many parents – it is no simple feat! Mindfulness does not make life’s complications go away; rather it provides the tools to slow down, deal with whatever is arising in the moment, and allow for the possibility to respond and not react. Being mindful is about the journey and not the destination, and taking the time to honor, cherish and be awake to the present moment. The most constant thing is change and parents know all too well how fast time goes by. With mindfulness, time appears to slow down because you are actually paying attention to and living in each moment, whether it’s good or bad, and not fixating on the past or anticipating the future. Simply showing up in your life and in the lives of your children, in an intentional way, inherently heightens your experience and makes it all the sweeter.
Mindful parenting also operates from the mentality that your child is their own sovereign being. This means not only believing it, but actually parenting in a way that supports who your child actually is, rather than who you think they are, think they should be or who you want them to be. It is parenting consciously and with intention, from your core values, with the desire to raise your child to become their most authentic self. The job of a mindful parent is to guide their child with unconditional love and support, and role model the tools for dealing with all of life’s challenges. Moving beyond the veils of your own experience or expectation enables your child to experience themselves fully in the present and allows them to grow into the person they are meant to be. This also means taking the time for self-reflection to investigate how, if at all, you are interfering with your child’s natural process of becoming their authentic self. So often, parents want to right the wrongs of their own childhood by overcompensating in their children’s lives, often to the detriment of their children. Being a mindful parent is being aware of when this is happening and having the attention of mind to shift out of unskillful patterns.