There is no doubt, being a parent is one of the most fulfilling, but also one of the most challenging roles in life. Raising children and guiding them about important values in life takes a lot of dedication, love, and patience. Parenting is a constant rollercoaster of joy, excitement, fears, and doubts and it’s easy to become overwhelmed if we don’t press the pause button once in a while.
When you look back at all the big and small arguments you had with your children, have you ever asked yourself how many of them happened for a very good, justified reason and how many discussions occurred only because you were already exhausted from all the problems you’re facing in other aspects of your personal and business life? It’s a question all of us usually try to avoid because let’s face it, it’s easier to blame the children than to self-reflect and think about our actions.
1. Mindfulness matters
If parenting is starting to cause you a lot of stress lately and you feel overwhelmed, you should definitely start thinking about practicing mindfulness on a daily basis. It’s not a new trend or philosophy that can be found in fancy magazines about modern parenting, but a powerful tool that will take your parenting to a completely new level.
The Mind and Body Question
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present – becoming aware of our feelings, thoughts, environment and body sensations in every moment. All of us already possess the quality of being mindful, but it’s up to us to cultivate it. It all sounds very simple and you probably ask yourself what is actually required to start practicing mindfulness and the answer to the question is – meditation. You can use apps like Headspace, and Let’s Meditate for this.
There are plenty of different techniques that will bring your mind and body to a state of full presence, whether it’s walking and reconnecting with nature, or standing, and seated mediation techniques. Before you get started, it is important to keep the following in mind:
- It is okay if your mind goes here and there, but the key is not to judge any of the emotions or thoughts that come up.
- When it comes to meditation, there is no such thing as a right or wrong, good or bad feeling.
- You are there just as an observer of everything that comes up, without becoming emotionally attached to it.
- If you’re good at visualizing, you can imagine your thoughts as clouds above your head that you can see very clearly, but are too far to get attached to.
Practice Makes Perfect
This may sound very simple, but in the beginning, it’s usually easier said than done. It will take some time and practice, as for any other new skill you learn in life. After some time, you’ll notice that once you can face your unresolved issues, you’ll be able to recognize your behaviors and patterns in your parenting in the present moment that we’re subconsciously affected by it. It will give you the full awareness of your usual reactions to your children’s needs and you’ll have the opportunity to stop and rethink your response to it.
2. Detach from your expectations
Tracing Childhood Issues
We’re often not aware of the fact that a lot of our behaviors are just reflections of our unresolved childhood issues. Once we’re finally able to resolve and face the problems that we’ve been carrying around for years, our way of resolving parenting issues will change completely.
Being Mindful as Parents
The challenge many parents are facing is how to stop being parents to children of our fantasies, so we could become parents to children that they actually are. We need to learn how to detach from our attachments that are often imposed on our children.
- Start being more present and recognize the impact of your behaviors to notice an amazing transformation in your parenting style.
- Be mindful and recognize the moment, stay calm and present.
- Learn how to stop, breathe and respond thoughtfully.
It will finally make all the guilt that we’re usually feeling after overreacting or yelling at our children go away and we won’t be spending so much time replaying the whole situation in our mind and wishing for do-overs.
Let’s be real, we all love our children, but parenting is often extremely stressful and exhausting. The question is how to manage our stress so we could become a good role model for our children. After all, our children become what we do, not what we say. In the end, the most important thing is to keep your inner peace. And once you’re able to do that, you’ll also be able to pass it on to your beautiful, sometimes annoying, most special people in your life you usually call – your children.