Permission to Parent: The Mindful Parenting Conundrum

Mindful parenting is a buzzword that has been gaining a lot of traction in recent years, and with good reason. There are many benefits, but as with any parenting trend, a completely mindful approach, won’t work for everyone.

Simply put, being mindful (whether it pertains to eating, parenting or life) means learning to slow down and becoming aware of your thoughts and feelings, so that you can be present in the current moment/situation.

As parents, we all long for our children to be happy, well-adjusted kids. But happiness is something so fleeting and circumstantial. Joy is the emotional homeostasis we are truly trying to achieve. When your child has joy, they don’t sweat the small stuff so much. They are able to weather the storms of life and grow from their failures. Happiness is purely dependent on external factors, which tend to fluctuate up and down through various seasons in our lives. Joy, on the other hand, brings resilience, hope and optimism.

So how do we help our children to find real joy? Here are 7 steps that parents can work on to help their children get there:

I don’t know about you, but I feel like the sound of moaning and whining tends to have a direct line to triggering my “reptilian brain”. It’s hard to be rational when a tiny human is making the hairs at the back of your neck stand on end. So, why do they do this? And what can we as parents do about it?

Let’s start with the why. You see, as babies, the only way that our children could communicate that they would like anything to be different to the way it was (hunger, boredom, poo nappy etc) was by moaning or crying. So, once they become toddlers, unless we teach them a better way to communicate, they will continue to use what has always worked. 

“Discipline” has received swearword status in many modern parenting circles. It is now quite trendy to withdraw from being the disciplinary figure in favour of being a child’s friend. While this is mostly well intended (and evokes wonderful images of parent and child roaming around like Calvin and Hobbes all day), it can be harmful to both parties.

Imagine you came to a traffic light that flickered red-orange-green-red-orange-green. You’d probably be confused (Should I go or stop!?), and possibly anxious (What if I crash? I may be stuck here forever!). 

The same process is likely to happen to our children if they receive mixed signals from their primary caretakers. Just like the faulty robot in the example leaves it up to you to decide when it’s safe to go, your child will also need to figure it out on her own. And “crashing” may be the result. 

All of us hate red lights (Just my luck!), but there’s nothing like the stress caused by a broken robot to make us appreciate a light turning red when it needs to. There’s safety in this mechanism. Likewise, there’s protection in receiving clear-cut messages at home – even if it’s “no!”

“Grandparents” and “grandchildren” are two well-coined terms, as few relationships in life are so “grand” than the one between these two parties. However, for the parents sandwiched in the middle, this connection can sometimes pose “grand” challenges that may even result in conflict between the senior and junior adults.

Yet, if everyone involved is respectful, willing to compromise and able to focus on the privileges of the situation, the grandparent-grandchild bond could greatly enrich all three generations. To help with this, consider following the ABC for grandparents and parents below.