As a child, most of us heard, “You’re wrong, and you know better!”
Our parent’s words and actions sent us the silent message that we weren’t good or smart enough, not pretty or brave enough, or that our feelings and point of view didn’t matter.
As a result, we didn’t feel heard, fully accepted, or like we belonged, which gave us the feeling that we were alone in this world.
Every one of us feels a deep internal calling to wake up and shed our inner wounds.
We do this because we want to make sure our voices are heard, so we know our point of view matters. We’ve begun honoring the truth about who we truly are, instead of arguing with what other’s think of us.
That’s all great, but how does it apply to parenting?
This week I’m explaining some basic steps involved in being mindful. And they don’t just include breathing to calm down. Let’s get started.
Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh says being mindful means, “The energy of being aware and awake to the present moment.”
That’s a great definition, but how are you supposed to be mindful, when correcting your child’s behavior, without getting angry, yelling or punishing?
There’s one thing I know for sure, (thanks Oprah) there isn’t just one way to be a mindful parent.
What are the soul-ution steps?
Step One: What Do I believe?
You’re aware of when you’re about to explode in anger, or walk down the Yelling brick road.
But, do you know where your anger originally came from?
Have you ever looked back at your childhood, and the way your parents corrected your behavior, to see if there are any similarities between their methods and yours?
Maybe you didn’t feel respected or truly heard by your parent(s). Or maybe you accepted the model they used when correcting behavior? Do you unconsciously have a belief that in order to learn something you have to suffer a little bit?
As a young mom, I couldn’t figure out why I leapt to anger in 1.2 seconds. Then one day I witnessed my mom reacting to one of my kids. I realized that my parenting style was not exactly like my mom’s, but there were enough similarities to wake me up to the fact that I had the same unconscious belief that my mom, my grandparents, and great grandparents had. I believed that kids needed to produce some sort of emotional remorse in order to learn. Boy, was I wrong!
Once you realize where you learned to use yelling to correct behavior, and the beliefs that were created as a result, you want to stop yelling. You want to replace your yelling, but wonder what’s effective enough, and won’t compromise your parental authority?
Being mindful is the answer you’re looking for.
I split this long post into 2 shorter posts so it wouldn’t take too much of your time. Check out tomorrow’s post so you can read points two and three. Then on Friday I’ll answer a question that a parent has sent in, so I can show you how to apply mindfulness in “real” life!
Make sure you come back every day so you can read more about Mindful Parenting in “Real” Life.
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