Staying present while we are parenting can be difficult at times. Our kids are such good teachers. They are able to create situations to help us grow as parents. We can be sure that when we are having a strong reaction to a situation involving our kids, there is something within us that needs to be healed. If we are mindful, we are able to grow and heal. If we are not mindful, we have knee jerk reactions that can keep us stuck in the box of parenting from reaction instead of presence. Mindful parenting helps us heal our own emotional wounds, so that nurturing our children comes from a healthier place.
We are all busy these days, and it is easy to get caught up in the, “hurry up, let's go here”, or the “hurry up, we are going to be late” syndrome. What is the reaction to the child that is not in a hurry, one that is really enjoying what she is engaged in, one that is in the present moment? Obviously, there are times when we have to be somewhere at a certain time, parents that need to be at work, etc. However, what about the times when we think we have to be somewhere, when we have it in our minds that there is no choice? This is the time to practice mindful parenting and thinking outside the box. Some books may tell us to offer rewards for the child's cooperation, or offer them a bribe, or maybe you might resort to the reaction you would have gotten when you were a child. Some of these things appear to work. For instance, the parent got what they wanted since the child went along with the plan. Success, right? At what expense to the parent-child relationship?
What would happen if you try something a bit different? Another option would be to step outside the box, so to speak. What might happen if we stop, look the child in the eyes, breathe deeply, let go of the judgments going through our minds about how we can't believe we are letting a child decide what to do, and then really listen when the child tells us her needs. This is mindful parenting. Being able to really hear and see each other as human beings, not judging our situations or ourselves. Being as gentle with ourselves as we are with our children, as we learn a new way of being with our beloved children.
When a child is having a "tantrum", this is a sign that we are not being present with them and they have a need that is not being met. If we are able to tune out the stares of others around us, and the voices in our heads of "it must be all my fault," or my child is being unreasonable etc, we can clearly see our child for who they really are. They are human beings who are trying to get their needs met. Ask yourself what the difference is between a child's cry for help(tantrum), or your tantrum when you are whining for the child to hurry up. Not in judgment of yourself, just to notice if you feel there is a difference. Why would one person's needs be more important than another person's? I believe that children who get their needs met will grow into empathic adults who are sensitive to others needs, which in turn, creates a healthier world for all.
By thinking outside the box and mindfully parenting our children, we have the opportunity to heal ourselves and to nurture our children. We are able to heal ourselves by being present and really being with our children in an authentic way. When we love ourselves and our children, we are participating in healing our planet. When we heal ourselves, we can nurture our children in a healthier way. I believe that children that are nurtured in an emotionally healthy way (with mindfulness), grow up to be healthy adults, making healthy choices for themselves and for the world they live in.
If you would like to read more about mindful parenting and other similar topics, you can visit me here: www.benurtured.com