Awareness for Parents: The Benefits of Mindfulness in the Parent-Child Relationship

It can be a roadmap to forming balanced bonds with your children.

Mindful parenting doesn’t mean perfect parenting: our daily lives are full of ups and downs, even for us adults. Through the help of simple exercises, mindful parenting can easily be added into the daily routine, helping the parent and child become more at ease. You can learn more about mindful parenting and how the Kidly meditation module can benefit the process of becoming a mindful parent, in our blog post.

What is mindfulness?
Mindfulness can be defined as conscious awareness. Put another way, it is focusing our attention on the present “now” and accepting all feelings in kindness without judgment. Based on Buddhist philosophy, mindfulness is an effective method that can help us approach matters with awareness. The regular practice of awareness exercises can help to transform how one deals with situations and relationships.

Becoming aware of recurring negative automatic reactions, the thought patterns that influence these, and being more open to and non-judgmental in the face of new experiences, can be achieved through awareness-enhancing techniques like yoga, breathing exercises and meditation. The purpose of these techniques is to develop the below three fundamental qualities of mindfulness.

Intention: Choosing to cultivate your awareness
Attention: Paying attention to the present moment, sensations, and thoughts.
Attitude: Being kind, curious, and non-judgmental in your attitude.

What is mindful parenting?
Mindfulness is an effective approach that can help parents deal with stressful situations in particular, in a calm manner. Mindful parenting helps in recognizing feelings and thoughts that surface in stressful moments, viewing events from a more aware point of view, and thus managing the relationship with the child with more awareness.

According to the founder of the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program Prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn, the attitudes of mindful parenting are:

  • Non-judging
  • Patience
  • Acceptance
  • Beginner’s mind
  • Trust
  • Non-striving
  • Letting go

To begin with, parents must internalize these attitudes first. This is because the ability to manage stress in your relationship with your child is directly related to how you manage your feelings and thoughts, alone. Mindfulness is a very effective way for parents to understand themselves and their children, recognize their needs, and help guide their behavior in their parenting journey.

What are the Benefits of Mindful Parenting?
It helps regulate emotions: A parent who is mindful of their feelings and thoughts becomes a good role model for their children in that, instead of automatic reactions, they develop the ability to regulate their emotions.

It develops self-love: A parent who is self-aware and approaches each circumstance with self-love and acceptance, also demonstrates care and empathy to their child in every life situation.

It lowers stress: Awareness-enhancing exercises can be effectively applied in stressful parenting situations. It is only natural for feelings and thoughts to take control in stressful situations. The key term here is acceptance. Through acceptance, by making connections between events and reactions, kindness and calm is able to step in, making moments of crisis easier to steer through. Being in the moment and aware, seeing events non-judgingly helps both the parent and the child to lower their stress levels.

It deepens the parent-child relationship: Awareness not only helps couples in their relationship but also aids the parent-child relationship to become more empathetic, kind, and balanced. Relationships that are non-judgemental and transparent are prone to deepen and develop more.

It reinforces the child’s positive behaviors: Open, non-judgemental communication marked with kindness helps children form strong bonds with their parents, and makes them feel accepted unconditionally. This kind of accepting atmosphere also encourages the child to behave more positively.

How are mindful parenting skills developed?
Parenting is a process where change and development are inevitable and can lead to personal transformation. What are some ways mindful parenting skills can be developed?

Listening is one of the most important steps in understanding a child’s needs, the world from a child’s point of view, and helps to form a strong bond with them. Just like many other skills, the ability to listen develops and evolves over time to become a pivotal and transformative aspect of mindful parenting.

4 ways to become more mindful in stressful situations
1- Stop and recognize the stress before reacting.
2- Bring your attention back to your body. What kind of changes do you notice in your body or in your breathing? Calmly observe.
3- What is going on around you? What are the child’s tone, behavior, and expressions communicating? Take note of these.
4- Move into action. Now you can make a consciously-informed decisions.

Take Time to Meditate
In helping increase one’s sense of awareness meditation doesn’t just offer benefits to parenting. Regularly practiced meditation not only has the power to transform one personally but also has an equally transformative effect on the parenting process. Awareness-enhancing techniques such as breathing exercises, yoga, and seated meditation are effective ways to become a mindful parent. With this in mind, one can take part in mindfulness courses or practice at home with the aid of digital apps.

What benefits does the Kidly meditation module bring to the process?
With Kidly’s rich meditation module, you can integrate meditation into your daily routine in an easy and fun way, laying the foundation for an effective habit that you can practice together with your child as you journey toward becoming a more mindful parent. (see How can your child benefit from the Kidly meditation module?)

The following is included in our module featuring animated exercises with fun characters; guided meditation, breathing exercises, physical relaxation exercises, and a wide variety of stories that feature various awareness exercises that can be read from morning to bedtime. Experience the beauty of mindfulness with your child by visiting Kidly’s meditation module.

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