Part 3: Mindful Parenting Can Be Challenging
Mindful Parenting Can Be Challenging…
But It’s Worth It
If we do want to teach our children how to effectively manage her/his frustration when they are frustrated and don’t like what is happening, then we can first set the intention to be more aware of what we are modeling to our children when we are frustrated and don’t like what is happening. That intention helps us begin to bring more mindfulness – more compassionate awareness – into the moments when we are frustrated – often with what our children are doing / are not doing (sometimes to each other – in the case of siblings).
Because we are human, we will have a limited supply of self control. Indeed, studies show that self control is a limited resource. And so we will eventually witness ourselves coming to the end of the rope of our patience. We will witness ourselves snapping at our children. These are painful moments for us, because we didn’t want to do this.
We really, really don’t WANT to lose our patience. None of us want that.
Many of us have made a conscious choice not to take our anger out on our kids (check out our free video series on Keeping Your Cool With Your Kids), but sometimes we can’t control ourselves perfectly in the moment because we exhausted the “self-control bucket.” And we feel badly, because we know it negatively impacts our children when we snap at them (which is why we made this choice in the first place). And when we feel badly, it is really helpful to practice self-compassion.
Here’s the good news: because we have made this choice, the amount of times we “lose it” are relatively few. So the negative impact on our children is minimal. They will have a “consistent enough” experience of us being warm, loving and connected even when we are feeling frustrated, disciplining them and setting limits with them.
Being Gentle With Ourselves Teaches Our Children Healthy Self-Discipline
You know what’s magical about a mindful approach to regulating ourselves? Our children see us and learn. These moments of “losing it” give us the opportunity to model taking ownership of our actions.
We “teach” them how to own up to their actions and apologize with a sense of integrity when they have hurt someone….not by telling them to do so, but by showing them with our own actions.
And we show them something important about “real” relationships: that with love, care, attention and ownership, these mistakes we human beings make can be tended to and repaired, so we can reconnect and feel close again.
So what do you think? Are you ready to give the effective-yet-gentle way a try?
If so, check back in with me in the comments to let me know what you’re working trying, how it’s going, and any questions you have!