Parenting is a two-way process. The moment the child is born, a new ‘you’ is also born (and
gradually a better you….). You grow while growing your child. You learn while teaching your child. And your whole being gets nourished while nourishing your child.
Parenting is tough because the entire process is delicate. It is the great sole responsibility of the parents to make a complete package of a healthy child. It is very true that home is the first school and parents are the first teachers. But often, attending a child physically may not imply giving attention to them. In our busy schedule, many a time, children end up becoming a part of our duties. Unknowingly we often fail to fulfil some hidden needs of a child, because we already remain preoccupied with one thing or the other.
We, parents, generally stay concerned about the physical health of our child. But, recently some literature both offline and online caught my attention and somewhat acted as an eye-opener for me, as to their mental health. Yes, that invisible portion of health, which probably plays a much more significant role in defining a child as a healthy one.
Whether a child is mentally growing the way he/she should grow, is a matter of serious concern. Mental health is not mere sharpness of a brain. It is about the confidence, smartness, self-esteem, positiveness in the attitude of a child. It is very important for a child to form a correct opinion of himself/herself and know their weakness and strength before they step out into this world. Often we parents (almost unknowingly), put a direct or indirect form of influence on them, which in the long run, frames their individual personality development. A physically sound appearing child may also suffer from low self-esteem and confidence.
In this aspect, Mindful Parenting has a major role to play in designing a healthy mindset of child. Mindful parenting has been identified as a promising approach that promotes emotion regulation both in parents and children. Mindful parenting calls for an intentional moment to moment awareness while nurturing a relationship with a child with non-judgemental acceptance, self-regulation in parenting and compassion.
The first thing of mindful parenting is to be aware of your own being, your strengths, weakness, behaviour, activities. Since children are keen observer, so parents are in turn need to be keen observer too, so as to observe what they are offering a child to learn and pick up from them as well as from surrounding.
Unconscious parenting attacks the psychological immunity of a child. Some intellectual has rightly quoted that the deeper cause of family dysfunction is not the parents’ lack of knowledge or education but their lack of awareness. Children lives in the world of their own, build by their own feelings, emotions, understandings, which are no lesser in depth than the emotions of an adult. They too adapt, adjust, undergo and confront emotional up-downs, which are enough to make them or break them psychologically.
The calm presence of the parents around, with wholehearted engagement, leads to more inclination from children, and they gain a sense of unspoken secureness around, which boosts up their confidence, reduces stress in them, and enhances self-regulation of emotions.
Following are few pointers that initiate mindful parenting :
- Don’t shout and yell: Try not to shout and yell at your child. Yelling and shouting make them rebellious. Be patient (though it’s hard). Make yourself understand it is their age to be mischievous. Cooldown first in order to cool down your kid. Yelling and shouting initiate stubborn nature within them.
- Don’t criticise: Never ever criticise your child for any wrongdoing. It hurts their self-esteem. Parents are everything for any child. Regular criticism may bring a sense of detachment in them. Like any other being, they too ought to learn from their mistakes. Highlight the teachings from the mistakes, rather than rebuking them from doing so.
- Don’t compare: Don’t compare them with anyone. Every child is different. Comparison implants weak feeling in the mind of a child and lowers their confidence. They become conscious of what they can’t do, rather than focusing on what they can do. Help them search and realise their uniqueness.
- Express your love often: From my personal point of view, it is the most important thing about effective parenting. Let the child know how much you love them. Love is to be expressed. It strengthens the bonding, making them less vulnerable to the outside world as well as they enjoy a sense of security wherever they go. As it is said, “love and care should be expressed in actions, not in words.”
- Be a good listener: Always try to become a good listener for your child. In such case, they form the habit of telling you their daily account. And your proper guidance will surely pull them away from any wrongdoing. Try limiting your distractions when with kids.
- Create respectful fear: A child should always carry the consciousness of not hurting his/her parent rather than being gets scolded. A sense of not hurting one’s parent will always refrain him/her from any not-to-do things. On the other hand, the sole sense of avoiding being scolded brings along with it the habit of telling lies.
- Stay Happy: Stay happy, it is the energy within you that vibrates around you. Happy parents lead to happy children. Children can sense and feel the aura of energy we carry around us. They tend to grow in the prevailing aura, slowly making them their basic nature and character.
- Be friends: It is always good to be considerate like a good friend rather than behaving as a strict parent. Sometimes with our overprotective attitude, we may act as a strict and stern parent. Grant them some space with their growing stage.