Various research studies have clearly shown that mindfulness in parents significantly reduces the stress levels of the children.
What is mindfulness? It can be described as a present-focused, open and non-judgmental state of attention.
Mindful parenting describes parenthood as a spiritual discipline and all types of parenting pitfalls can be eliminated when you embrace mindfulness in the right spirit. As a parent, it helps you to be patient with yourself and others as well.
The findings of Epstein and Fox on parenting practices
Your child’s happiness and success have a lot to do with how you manage your own stress. Robert Epstein and Shannon Fox conducted a comparative study on the effectiveness of 10 important parenting practices and they presented this paper at the American psychological association meeting.
According to this study, love and affection, stress management and relationship skills are the top three parenting competencies that influence the child’s health, happiness and performance.
What do these findings convey?
Two of those three most important practices are not even parenting skills and it clearly suggests that these skills do not directly affect the children in a serious manner. Many other research studies conducted in different parts of the world also reassert this conclusion without a shadow of doubt.
How does parental stress affect children?
Child stress is becoming increasingly widespread and, this stress and tension lead to physical symptoms like headaches, difficulty in sleeping, abdominal pain and many other health complications. When this stress prevails for an extended period of time, the quality of life comes down significantly as well.
If a child is stressed, he/she draws on the parents for support and parents should have the power to decrease or diminish the stress levels of their child. If the parents are stressed, they aggravate the stress levels of the children and such a situation leads to a lot of physical and mental health complications. That is exactly where the importance of mindfulness for parents comes in.
Mindfulness teaches you how to zero in
It may sound a bit strange but it is true. When you practice mindfulness meditation techniques, you learn how to focus your attention on different parts of your body, on breathing and, on sounds and thoughts as well. Such a situation helps you zero in effectively and you come to realize that thoughts and feelings are transient.
Mindfulness allows you to catch negative thoughts and patterns before they tip you into a downward spiral. In such a situation; when you talk to your kids, everything else in your immediate vicinity falls away and for you, all that exists is yourself and your child. Then, you can look into his/her eyes more and you can really hear what he/she says. Eventually, you learn how to respond with more thought, love and time as well.
Emotions can rise fiercely like an immediate tidal wave. When you practice and learn mindfulness, emotions dissolve away a lot more easily.
Over a period of time, your irritability and frustration become really short-lived and you can tune back into what is actually happening around you with a sense of calmness.
When you become more aware of your own thoughts, sensations and emotions, you acquire the ability to notice and validate the feelings of your kids and you learn how to be compassionate, kind and gentle in your responses. This approach inculcates positive thinking in both yourself and your child and, the whole process of parenting becomes an enjoyable process.