Mindful parenting is a skill worth investing in. Mindfulness has been shown to be an excellent antidote to stress, including stressful family dynamics. A peaceful family is less likely to resort to corporal punishment for discipline.
Antidote to Youth Violence
A recent study on the effects of corporal punishment at home links it to youth violence. Countries where corporal punishment was banned showed a dramatic decrease in youth violence. I would argue that mindful parenting leads to peaceful families, decreasing the need for corporal punishment.
Doing, or Being?
Many of us are slaves to our to-do list. Our busy lifestyle makes it challenging to be present, in the moment. Witnessing our moment-to-moment experience is a skill I recommend to all of my patients. Setting aside even a few minutes every day to consciously focus on breath helps us shift from the monkey mind to the graceful mind. Teaching our children when they are young how to slow down and pay more attention to being in the moment helps them to develop inner peace.
Learning to Slow Down
Before we teach our kids the art of mindfulness, we need to learn to practice it ourselves. Small children are naturally present. They notice everything that is going on around them. It’s us adults who are in a hurry, teaching our kids about how to rush to the next place.
Savor the Moment
The good news is that you can have fun doing it. There are tips for mindful parenting which can help our entire family thrive. For instance, the next time you eat a piece of chocolate, play with it, consciously savoring it. Before putting it in your mouth, enjoy smelling it first. When you take your first bite, make sure it’s a nibble. Notice how your mouth salivates in anticipation.
Play with it
Play with awareness, consciously allowing the chocolate to melt slowly. What part of your mouth is enjoying the sensation the most? While you do this, are you still in touch with conscious breathing?
Creating a Masterpiece
Approaching our daily experiences holistically helps us move away from the monkey mind. We need to anchor ourselves in the peaceful, non-judgmental awareness of our body. As John Kabat Zinn argues in Coming to Our Senses, knowing our highest self helps us create a masterpiece. This is not only good for our children, but for our entire planet.