In Mr. Roger’s quote, replace “good” with “mindful” and you have the definition of mindful parenting. Mindfulness is kind hearted attention. It is non-judgmental awareness. It is unconditional acceptance of the moment just as it is, not how we want it to be. I invite you to ask yourself a series of questions:
- What do I want most for my child?
- How does my child know this?
- What does my child want in life? Or, what matters most to my child?
- How do I know this?
- What do I want in life? Or, what matter most to me?
- How do I live this aspiration?
- What does my child learn about him/her/themselves from me?
Mindful parenting is a way of being in relationship with our children AND with ourselves. It is a both/and process. If your children are anything like mine, their views, actions, and interests shift as they grow. In experiencing this again and again, I have to remind myself that they are not me nor are they the vision I have for them. I admit that it can be initially uncomfortable to let go of certain hopes or goals I set for them. Love is unconditional, isn’t it? My children are unique human beings. The only way I can show them how to live a happy life is to fully embrace who they are in each moment, each day, each month, each year. Mindful parenting is the practice of bringing loving presence to our relationship with our children.
Mindful parenting is also an inside out process; it is about how we as parents care for ourselves. If we want our children to be happy and healthy, to live a fulfilling life, how do they do this without loving themselves? How do they learn to love themselves if we do not model self-love, self-acceptance? Mindful parenting is about balancing awareness of our needs while showing up for our children in a way that acknowledges and supports their needs. By being present to our own lives, we are better able to be present for our children, and ultimately, teach them to be present for their lives.
Mindfulness is a practice, a way of being in the world. Mindful parenting is a practice, a way of being in relationship with our children and their world.