A simple tweak to perception can change your life. If you would like less stress, less overwhelm, less fights and less self-judgment – these 10 mindful parenting tips will get you on the track to peace of mind
It happens to all of us, dozens of times, each day. When I try to make dinner and everything is just taking too long, and my little one is running around me reminding me every millisecond that he’s hungry, while my husband is buried in his phone. When I try to overcome the pile of laundry, when I try to finish up with the dishes or, god forbid, do something for work, and I just can’t – because it’s too noisy around here, or because everyone else need my connection, I get upset. And angry. And frustrated.
But then, I breath. And I remind myself that everything I do is a strategy to meet my own needs. I need order, and so I clean. I (we) need food, and so I cook. My little one needs connection, and food, and so he’s running around me. My husband needs time to chill and relax. We’re all good. No one is doing anything to deliberately try and annoy someone else. We are all just trying to have our needs met.
I am no longer upset. I pick my little one up and sit him on the counter, he watches me while I cook, we talk, and I let him “steal” a bite here and there.
After 10 years of practicing Nonviolent Communication, seeing and feeling the affect it has on my life and the lives of everything around me, and after 4 years of teaching NVC, I can definitely say that the following 10 tips have the power to change our lives.
Putting the 10 Tips for Mindful Parenting in Context
While “good and evil” exist, “good and bad” are nothing but a social structure we’ve been cultivating for the past 7,000 years of Patriarchy. We’re compelled to classify everything that happens to us into binary definitions of good and bad because this is a remain of our survival instinct – back in the day, we only had 1 second to determine whether a situation was dangerous, or safe. We no longer need this to survive, but our ancient brain still operates this way.
This is the source of judgment. But the truth is that our parental brain is developed, it can deal with much more than good and bad.
There is No Such Thing as Good and Bad
Everything we do, everything we think, and everything we say are strategies to have our needs met. This is true for us, for our children, for our in-laws, and for anyone else on this planet. When we focus on the behavior (what we see and hear, I call it the “content”), we disregard the need. And when we try to change a behavior without addressing the underlying need that causes it, we will forever fail.
Or succeed by inflicting fear, guilt, or shame upon our children. A strategy that will very soon hurt our connection and work to divide us.
Needs are never good or bad, they are what they are – needs. We all have them 🙂 Strategies on the other hand, are debatable.
Before reading, think about the last time you have blamed yourself for doing something, and how you felt. Now consider that same day, without the blame; had you known (and felt) that actions can’t define you, that mistakes happen to everyone, that everyone take poor decisions that can’t define who they are. You would have learned the lesson nonetheless, free from the burden of guilt and shame, you could evolve.
10 Tips for Mindful Parenting
Without having to learn the whole philosophy, the following 10 tips for mindful parenting is your best place to start, if you want to make life beautiful:
- When we try to change things, we disconnect. Acceptance of whatever it is we wish to change, keeps us connected and actually brings change forth, through compassion and empathy. If I would have told my little one to just stop running, it would clash with his needs, and lead to tears. And who can cook like that?
- Children never work against us; they are innocently trying to have their needs met.
- Needs must be met. Somehow. At some point. A million strategies become available once we to let go of that one failing strategy. On days I don’t feel like cooking, we order in. And it’s okay. Our need is for food, not for home made food. If I don;t feel like doing the laundry – it’s okay, too. I don’t have to.
- Listening to the content is one thing, attuning to the needs behind the words will allow us to communicate with people we’ve never met before, even if we’ve been living with them and parenting them from the day they were born. When I look at a child through the behavioral lens, I usually see an annoying creature. When I look at him from a mindful perspective, I see what he really needs. And when I address it – he’s no longer annoying. Because his needs are met.
- Joy is everywhere – all we need to do is find the courage to see life this way. When I’m upset I stop and breath, and ask myself “why? what do I need now”? with that clarity – I find a way to meet my need. Knowing what you need it the first step to joy.
- Vulnerability is key to building resilience; only through the experience of the entire spectrum of emotions, can one become truly courageous and capable. I allow all feelings; for me, for my little one, for everyone in my life. Feelings are allowed. We feel them, we name them, we talk about them. And the we ask “why? what did we need there?” and we answer. And through feelings we learn how to feel better, faster, next time.
- Children are never “good” or “bad”. They are who they are, at any given moment. Their deeds don’t define them.
- We are never “good” or “bad”, we are who we are. At any given moment. Our deeds don’t define us.
- When we can’t do anything beneficial, the best thing is to avoid causing more harm. Sometimes, we’re at a boiling point. We just can’t take it anymore. When I’m there, I step away. If I can’t make thing better, it’s up to me to not make them worse.
- No matter what had already happened, we can always make amends. We can always reflect, acknowledge, take the responsibility and be accountable for our words and actions. It is this practice that will keep us all connected.
Attachment Parenting seems to be everywhere nowadays; more parents are now co-sleeping and baby-wearing and letting their little ones lead the way when it comes to some decisions. But what happens next? When co-sleeping and baby wearing are no longer relevant strategies for fostering positive and strong attachments?
Nonviolent Communication is the only way to breed secure attachments, to continue to parent the Attached way into older ages and raise the adults who will be our future leaders. These 10 mindful parenting tips lead us a step closer to where we want to be.
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And if you need some help parenting, book your discovery session. We’ll make it, together. I promise 🙂
Wishing us all beautiful parenting 🙂