Recently I attended an online summit on Mindful Parenting hosted by Dr. Stacy Thomas. Those who are following my page parenting mantra will know as I shared the information there. Had the fortune of listening to an array of speakers. Each speaker had valuable advice to offer. I am summarizing the key insights here for my readers.
- We not only raise our children but raise ourselves too along the journey: Our children bring forth our own insecurities, our fears from the past and we have the opportunity to heal them now. Our children have come with their own unique stories and we must honour them. Flaws don’t make us any less. We all are good enough.
- “Hit the Pause Button”: Whenever you feel rushed or stressed out remember to pause and take a breath focusing on it. More and more you remember doing it in your day such moments will gradually increase. You can pause before reacting knowing that it’s not necessary to reciprocate in kind always.
- Start your day with mindfulness or any practice that grounds you:Your anxiety rubs on your children so does your calm; very aptly put by Jeff Warren as “Your kids nervous system is learning from you.” If you want calmer well behaved children start with calming yourself; something I always advocate “Start with yourself“.
- Gratitude is an important practice for resilience and wellbeing: Having a gratitude journal or a simple night time practice “Thank you God for….”, choice is yours. I list three specific things for the day out loud and prompt my child to follow it before sleeping. Move beyond generic. Include your family. “Grateful for the support I got today from …..” As suggested by Ashleigh Frankl, one of the speakers trying to add to it “I am grateful for ______ quality in me.” Practice compassion. Noticing kindness in and around us increases our sense of safety and security and calms our nervous system.
- Not unnecessarily cushion your children just because you don’t know how to deal with their pain. Be honest in your relationships. To realize whether your actions are cleansing or clogging your relationships (Mary Shores). When your child is off center helping them figure out what they really need is pivotal or else it can manifest as shutting down (more in older children) or behavioral issues (younger children).
Some practical suggestions were:
- Include your children in grocery shopping and budgeting the household.
- Set the environment for silence and peace like putting out their colouring books etc.
- Set the intention for the day and noticing what is needed to make that happen.
- Share your day with your child so that they share theirs too. Don’t interrupt with questions and opinions when your child is sharing something important & sensitive.
- Teach your kids co-operation instead of competition. Reminds me what my coaching teacher said a decade back “Real competition is out there so class collaborate with each other to beat the world.”
I can echo many of the above in my own life and they have helped me in transforming from an “on the edge” mother to a much calmer version.
- The days which sees mindfulness practices a miss I still find myself more emotionally triggered.
- Developing a “Gratitude” practice has helped both me and my child immensely. It takes time to think of the qualities I am grateful for but adding it is giving a new perspective to my child. He is able to see himself in a whole new light and me too. There’s so much good there.
- One other practice that I had fallen off got recalled by listening to “Hit the Pause Button”. The practice is: when on the verge of exploding (or hitting), telling my child “I want a 5 minute break otherwise hitting might ensue” and then sitting with a book or music (mostly spiritual). It helped me calm and figure a way out. Also most of the time my child would leave his annoying activity to look at the digital watch.
Mention in the comments section if you had to start with one practice which one would it be. If you need further clarifications on how to implement that practice please reach out and ask. Some of you who are already implementing please share your experiences as it provides a valuable learning experience for all. We all can thus correct and strengthen our practices.