The Foundation of All Effective Parenting

Have you had one of those parenting moments when you feel like you could either explode, go insane, or run away? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a “one size fits all” approach that helped every person become a better parent in such moments? Today, I’m here to tell you that there is such a thing, and it’s called MINDFULNESS. In this post, I’ll focus just on the basics of mindfulness, and how you can generally become a more mindful person. You gotta start there if you want to see lasting results with your parenting.

Mindfulness is being aware of the present moment without judgment. Let’s break it down:

  • Step 1: Notice your present experience.

  • Step 2: Put words into your experience.

  • Step 3: Make a choice to accept the experience for what it is.

  • Step 4: Choose to do what works.

We live in a culture that promotes us to multitask, overwork, and under rest, which results in becoming disconnected from our own and other’s needs who matter to us. We assume we are achieving, but that’s far from the truth. Mindfulness allows us to become more efficient, effective, and better able to meet our own and our family’s needs. Mindfulness is like a muscle in our brain. The more you practice it, the stronger it gets. Imagine the benefits of it for our children if they learn mindfulness skills early on, and have an opportunity to practice it as they grow.

Where should you start?

  • EATING: Next time you are eating your breakfast (or whichever meal you have the least amount of interruptions) try to focus your attention on what you are eating. Notice the food’s texture and taste. Become one with it. When you notice your mind wonder away, bring your attention back to the food in a nonjudgmental way.

  • SHOWERING: Next time you are taking a shower, try to focus your attention to the smell of your shampoo and body wash. Notice how it feels to wash your hair and body. Be presentation with the sensation of washing off the soap. When your to-do-list rushes back to your mind, bring your attention back to experience of being in the shower in a nonjudgmental way.

  • DRIVING: Next time you are driving somewhere alone, try to focus your attention on what you see in front of you. Notice the details of your view in the distant. Notice the sky and the weather. Notice how it feels to have your hands on the steering wheel, or how the chair feels against your back. Notice how it feels to switch your foot from the gas to the break pedal. When your mind drifts to what needs to occur at your destination, or what happened at the house before you left, bring your attention back to experience of driving in a nonjudgmental way.

  • STANDING: Next time you are in line at the store, try to focus on how it feels to have your feet grounded on the flood. Notice any markings on the ground, the back of the head of the person standing in front of you, or what the cashier is wearing. When your mind drifts to what you will be having for dinner, bring your attention back to experience of standing in line in a nonjudgmental way.

You can try to practice being more mindful when you are doing anything, like brushing your teeth, drinking coffee, or cleaning your house. It doesn’t have to be perfect. At first, it will be very hard to stay present for long, but the more you practice the better you will get. And soon you will not just feel calmer and in more control, but you will also notice a lot more than you did before. Added bonus is that the positive effects of this will trickle down to your family and children.

In my next blog post I will talk about how and why mindfulness is the first step in behaving more effectively. I will also talk about how to use it to improve the quality of your parenting and interactions with your family. In the meantime, check out the below resources:

Mindfulness App

Sitting Still App


Mindful Game Activity Card

Mindfulness: An Eight-Week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World

This is a great short video to help you better understand mindfulness. Often, it helps us better understand a concept if we hear it be explained differently by different people.

Hasti Raveau is a child and family psychologist and the founder and owner of Mala Child and Family Institute. Much of her work is focused on helping children improve their emotional well-being, supporting parents on their parenting journeys, and empowering families so they can repair, grow, and thrive.

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