Mindful Parenting: Give Yourself Space to Choose to Respond

In any moment as parents, we can choose to react or let it go. Putting space between you and your reaction allows you to respond with kindness—both to your children, and to other parents.

Three Ways to Parent Mindfully

Spend a quiet moment or two thinking about your relationship with your child. What is the one thing that comes to mind that you value about them? Don’t focus on what they “should” do or be, but instead, notice what is already there, even if it’s faint. What is the “spark” that you could breathe life into? Here are some tips for appreciating your children:

1. Give direct praise

Ask yourself: How can I let my child know that I see this valuable thing in him or her? Maybe it would be a direct comment where you let them know that you’ve “noticed something really cool” about them. Maybe it’s a gesture where you thank them for showing this side of themselves.

2. Parent with patience

Let them know about the “thing” you see in them, but be patient if they don’t respond readily. Particularly for kids with low self-esteem, this positive input might feel discrepant with how they tend to view themselves. They might reject what you’re doing or saying altogether. Don’t give up! They may be used to people doing so, which only confirms the “script” they’ve been acting out. Show them with consistent prizing that a new script is possible for them.

3. Let go of your own ego

You’re the adult and they’re the kid. Find your thank you’s and congratulations for being a great mentor elsewhere. In fact, it’s better if you learn to trust that the message (if given enthusiastically and authentically) WILL resonate even if they don’t acknowledge it openly. This is not something THEY need to be polite about. When you’re planting seeds, it doesn’t make sense to get mad when it doesn’t immediately bear you fruit.

Excerpted from “Mindful Parenting: Give Yourself Space to Choose to Respond” in Mindful. Read the full post online.

Source: Mindful | Mindful Parenting: Give Yourself Space to Choose to Respond, https://www.mindful.org/mindful-parenting-choose-how-you-react | © 2022 Mindful Communications & Such

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