Silhouette of a family under a tree with the moon in background. So You Want To Be A Parent?

Mindful Parenting

Parented With Patience

Years ago I was invited by a former yoga student to speak to her group of “Mothers of Preschoolers,” or MOPS, as they are called. I wanted desperately to convey to them how sacred parenthood is and how imperative it was that they balance their mind/body/spirit if they were to be effective as parents. I soon realized the advice I was giving was relevant for all mothers and fathers, not just for mothers with preschool age children.

Husband, Wife and Kids. Mindful Parenting

Before we begin I have to come clean

 

You see, I am not a saint, nor a parenting guru and I certainly made my share of mothering debacles that my children are carrying possibly for the rest of their lives. As a child I was not parented with patience, kindness and security.

 

Therefore, I grew up feeling my life was out of control and every facet of my existence was affected, especially my sensitive and beautiful children.

 

If you grew up as I did hearing the axiom,

“Children are to be seen and not heard,”

chances are you didn’t receive the praise, encouragement and love crucial to healthy development either. As children we do not understand that others often unknowingly, project their own feelings of unworthiness and ego-based emotions on those around them, especially vulnerable children.

Chores and other everyday occurrences met resistance. I worked hard studying the challenging art of parenthood and several books later...

You might have looked at the world the same as I, with distrust and fearful eyes. I remember as a child hating to hear my name called because I expected to feel ridicule and shame. Quite often that became my experience. When a child does not feel loved, encouraged, and secure, life becomes a hellish nightmare; a fearful world of neurosis and often psychosis.

 

Imagine hearing as a child how brilliant and delightful you are. And that you are beautiful and capable of creating many wonderful things. You continued to hear those words as you grew, what do you suppose your life would look like? Keep this in mind if you are presently raising children or have influence on any children in your life.

Two happy kids. Mindful Parenting

“Why am I angry?”

Anger is past trauma manifesting itself in negative ways.

Work on you. Your life is as mellow and happy as you make it. No one manipulates your life but you. We do not have to understand the thoughts and ideas of our children. We were created to be loving guides for them, not ruthless authoritarians that supposedly know all the answers. If you feel your children are unmanageable and that your family life is in chaos, I urge you to seek help. Be mindful and conscious of your parenting methods. If they are not working they need to be modified. Search for books, explore family counseling, and parenting classes to get you on the right track.

Take care of yourself

so that you

can take good care of your children.

When my youngest son was born I had a terrible time relating to him. I often thought, 

“Who is this creature?” 

He was so willful and non-compliant; he couldn’t be my child! He was of course happy at times, as long as everything was going his way. No loud noises, no sleeping alone (he crawled out of his crib at 8 months) it was as if he were running the show, and of course he was. It took me a few years and a lot of books to figure out his personality, well, sort of. As long as I kept him engaged in activities he liked everything went smoothly. Chores and other everyday occurrences met resistance. I worked hard studying the challenging art of parenthood and several books later, I had many tools at my disposal. But just when I thought I had him trained, he would evolve and I’d have to start all over again! It wasn’t long before 

I realized that he was teaching me! 

And also that he was much like the child in me. 

Reni and Scampy at the beach, for the newsletter.

Each child is so different from the other and if you have more than one you know exactly what I mean. My first son was very organized, a real data analyzer. He taught me a lot. Other than sharing a night owl personality with his brother, they were exact opposites.

 

One of the most helpful books I ever received was “Everyday Lessons: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting by Myla & Jon Kabat-Zin. What a treasure. There is sage advice in this book and you will learn the real work happens when you work on you! Seeing your work from a different perspective can be helpful as you apply new tools to create a family life that is more loving and enjoyable.

As parents you need to be especially mindful of your own “needs.”  You cannot give what you do not have. Take care of yourself so that you can take good care of your children. Parents are the world’s most important employees. We are blessed and honored guardians of the earth’s future. It is our job to endeavor to raise a child that will not only love themselves but also all of life. Connect with other parents (it takes a village to raise a child) for constructive support and creative solutions to your parenting conundrums.

And hopefully an occasional respite from parenting!

We’d love to hear your stories and solutions to family issues. Please sign up to our newsletter and share your ideas with other parents around the globe. And visit Eden’s Picks for books, CD’s and more to enhance and enrich your parenting experience.

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