Becoming a Better Parent

Learnings from the Mindful World Parenting Summit

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.

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About Dr. Mona Choudhary

I,Dr. Mona {Psychiatrist(M.B.B.S., MD) am a strong advocate of holistic health, meditate regularly, have tried different models of education like homeschooling, alternate school etc. for my super energetic son. I focus on basics and use my medical training and over a decade of experience in psychiatry to give practical advice on difficult parenting issues via individual consultation, workshops and this blog so that parents can become their best versions uplifting the child in the process.
View all posts by Dr. Mona Choudhary →

10 thoughts on “Learnings from the Mindful World Parenting Summit

  1. Not only parents but also teachers need to bring these guidelines into practice for a joyful teaching and learning experience.

    Before going to school every day to teach, I always meditate; this helps me be calm, alert and able to understand the needs of my students.

    Thank you for this most insightful and very practical knowledge so that we interact more meaningfully with children, helping them grow.

    1. It’s a blessing to have a teacher who meditates and calms herself to focus more ably on student’s need. Grateful for your feedback and wishing more teachers take a leaf out of your book. Meditation is doable.

  2. First of all, a big thank you for referring this seminar Mona. It was a real eye opener. So many learnings have come out the sessions I listened to. Also Thanks for sharing your learnings.

    I would like to add a few more insights shared at the summit which really hit me :-

    1) Our kids come to us for a reason – they are here to teach us as much as we are here to guide and nourish them [speaker: Afshaan]

    2) The things that we as parents find hardest accept in our kids are the things we find hard to accept in ourselves. They are a mirror for all the things that never healed in us. [speaker: Afshaan]

    3) Our gift to our kids to fully love and accept who we are – so they can love and accept themselves no matter where they are in any moment. [speaker: Afshaan]

    4) When our child is upset or throwing a tantrum or we have a power struggle with them where both don’t have the same perspective – give importance to the connection. Step aside and take a break – do not get sucked into the vortex or board the anger train. You are obviously attached to something – find out what it is and ‘let it go’. Calm down. When you do that your kid will also calm down. Give your kids a ‘safe’ space where they can be who they are and reflect and verbalize what they are feeling and why. Its important for them to process it as well and not shut down. At a later time when both are relaxed – as a team share your perspective because that’s the time they have an open mind and are willing to consider your perspective. Also if its a problem that needs to be solved involve the kids in the resolution process. That’s the time to strengthen the connection. [speakers: Jollete, Rhea, Afshaan, Sangeet]

    5) Kids get told all the time what to do, what not to do, how to, when to, when not to etc. Its important to give warning, give choices and make them feel ‘i am my boss’. As a parent its also important to set boundaries.

    6) Parents need to authentically do the ‘work’ to walk on path of transformation. No worries even if they get completely wrong – authentic exploration is important during breakdowns. Also meditation helps us be ‘present’ and also step aside to reflect on situation and respond rather than react.

    I started to implement some of my learnings post the seminar and had good breakthroughs:

    Instance 1: I had to drop my daughter (6yrs) for her class and my son (4yrs) was who was asleep woke up at the moment we were leaving. His upset and tantrum started and my behavior was far from calm. Now if I didn’t leave we would be late and if I wait for my son to first drink/eat then my daughter may not be able to attend at all. I stepped aside and asked myself ‘what am I attached to’ and I got that I really wanted my daughter to be on time for her class. And I let go of that and calmed down. When I was calm I could handle my son in a very composed manner and as a result he also calmed down. We achieved both things in a happy manner without much fuss. (implemented point 4 above)

    Instance 2: I stopped at a grocery shop for a bread with my kids. My daughter brought a biscuit which had a sticky sugar-laden center. I very calmly told her – ” You know that is not good for your teeth or your health. Why don’t you think about it and choose what you want to do. You can either choose this or go and check for a more ‘healthy’ option you want. Either way I will buy whatever you decide.” So she stood there thinking and said ‘Mamma its difficult to put this down’ and I told her ‘I believe in you to make the right choice for you’. She put it down and picked out a healthier option and made an informed decision. (implemented Power of choice- point 5 above)

    And yes I am on a path of doing the ‘work’ for myself.

    And last but not the least, when Rhea (speaker) was asked ‘how do you raise happy kids’ .. she said ” get busy being happy… kids are watching!”

    P.S. sorry for the long note but I really wanted to share my experience of this summit and couple of my breakthroughs post that. Now just need to be consistent with implementing these learnings!

    1. Thank you for such a beautiful note and sharing your experiences. Connection is most important, true. Totally agree to point 2. Have found it true in my own life as a parent. Point 3 has been written very beautifully, I wish all of us start implementing it starting today. I loved the example in the instance 2. Many parents can take a leaf out of your book on that. When we empower our kids they make healthier choices. Thanks once again dear. Know that you can reach out anytime whenever you need help on the path of doing work on yourself. That is the most important journey of all. Prayers and blessings for this new journey.

  3. I totally agree with ‘Start with youself’.
    I as a mother bloom with every passing time with my kids . They taught me so much.
    I am new reader..I liked your blogs…

    1. Thank You so much Monica. I so resonate with what you just expressed. My kid is my greatest teacher on loving and forgiveness.

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