When I sat down to write this article, I wanted to first understand what the term ‘mindful parenting‘ meant because parenting itself is very complex. There is no common rule or common approach and thereby presence of mind is very important to deal with a situation as it arises. Probably, to be mindful of the situation, being aware of it, dealing with it in the best possible way is mindful parenting.
I had once read somewhere that human beings are very immature, which means there is room for a lot of improvement, the scope for a lot of learning, unlike other species which react in more definite and fixed ways to a situation. Children learn from what they see.
For example, I used to tie a dupatta as a saree when I was small, maybe all of four, and act just like my mother. There is no specific reason, I would do it because that’s what I saw. That is precisely, why mindful parenting is required. More so, in these times when our children are exposed to so much more because of the internet and easy accessibility to anything and everything.
I have realised that I have been practising mindful parenting even without realising that I was doing it. To be mindful, the first thing and the most important is to be aware of our own thoughts, emotions and reactions.
I have always been aware of my reaction to a situation, so I try, sometimes very hard, to be present ‘in the moment’ and not jump to conclusions. I give it some time, understand the emotions of my children and that has always helped.
Being mindful helps us look at the situation/problem from a different perspective. Being a parent to an almost adult, I can say that life as a parent is an emotional rollercoaster ride. I have always tried to understand his point of view in every situation. We both are learning and we both know that we are from two different times and there are bound to be different opinions but we always choose a middle path. I think this has become a possibility because I take responsibility for my feelings and I clearly explain to him why I feel in a certain way. It is as complex or as simple as that.
There are other times when we need to make an extra effort. For example, when I found my younger son hitting a friend of his my immediate reaction was to hit him, but then I calmed myself and spoke to him. I gave him a chance to speak to me about what made him act in such a manner. My approach gave him confidence that he could be open about his feelings and it really helped me to make him understand what was wrong in the way he behaved. Needless to say, he never hit anyone after that incident.
Being mindful will definitely strengthen the bond with our children. From what my years of experience as a mother has taught me so far is that – being aware and non-judgmental is truly the key to mindful parenting!