How mindful parenting may keep kids out of trouble

According to new research, children who 
experience mindful parenting are less likely 
to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.
Jill Suttie who writes for the Greater Good
Science Centre says: “Mindfulness has
 been gaining traction as a way of improving 
individual well­being, from our health to our happiness and resilience. Now, two new research studies paint a different picture, suggesting that mindfulness may also help improve the well­being of others in our lives, in particular, our children if we truly practice it.”

In one study, researchers at the University of Vermont surveyed over 600 parents of children ages 3­17 to see how mindfulness related to their children’s well­being. Analyses showed that parents who reported more mindful parenting engaged in more positive and less negative parenting behaviour, which was then linked to more positive behaviour in their kids, meaning, less anxiety, depression, and acting out.

Something to note here is that being mindful and being a mindful parent may be two different things. The researcher suggests that working on a mindfulness practice may increase your mindfulness and reduce your stress, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you can apply these skills in more charged settings.

Tips to be a mindful parent:

  • notice your own feelings when you’re in conflict with your child
  • learn to pause so you don’t respond in anger
  • breathe ­ take 2 deep breaths and count to six
  • acknowledge how you are feeling ­ in a short sentence
  • listen carefully to your child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it
  • choose what your best self would do
and then do it

“Mindful parenting may be more about attunement or emotional congruency in the interaction not just parents smiling a lot,” says Tara Chaplin of George Mason University. Smiling during tense conversations might not actually be very constructive.

The above tips to be a mindful parent will potentially help preserve the parent­ child relationship, while also providing positive role modeling of how to handle difficult situations.

What are you going to do tomorrow to be a more mindful parent?

Source: Great Good in Action Science Centre