Buddhism for Mothers: Parenting Mindfully
While reading chapter two, Parenting Mindfully, this week I kept thinking of the upcoming Screen-Free Week . What better way to help yourself to parent mindfully than to turn off the screens? When we’re not spending so much time preoccupied looking at various screens, perhaps we’ll take advantage of the opportunity to actually see our children instead.
The point that stuck with me the most from this week’s chapter is how mindfulness can help us to truly connect with our children, see them as they are. So often adults (not just parents) project their own hopes/desires/judgements onto children: “She is so _____” If we are being mindful, we may realize some of the attributes we give to our children, especially the negative ones, are our own delusions rather than what is true. A present mind is more able to meet each moment anew and more clearly see what is required of each unique situation. Perhaps our over-tired toddler isn’t going through the “terrible twos”* and being contrary just for the sake of giving you a hard time; perhaps he is struggling to express himself and needs your patience now more than ever.
I also enjoyed the section on mindfulness as a way to conserve energy. How much energy do we waste in a day being distracted by worries or other negative emotions? I must admit, worrying is probably the thing that keeps me the most from leading a mindful life. By recognizing that negative emotions are transient and worrying is not only distracting but a waste of energy, we can simply give our thoughts notice without judgement and then let them pass. It is important to remember not to “beat yourself up” when you catch yourself caught up in your own thoughts. Be patient. Mindfulness takes practice.
Which part of this week’s chapter did you enjoy most?
Are you considering Screen-Free Week for your family?
*I very much dislike this expression and find that a bit of patience will take you far.