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Volume 2 Issue 6 ISSN# 1708-3265
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Mindful Parenting
When You Are Not Being Mindful, You Are Being Mindless

by Janet Alston Jackson

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness or being mindful is being aware of your present moment. You are not judging, reflecting, or thinking. You are simply observing the moment in which you find yourself. When this happens, stress is released and you will find increased insight and clarity.

Is Mindfulness a Meditation?

Yes, it is a type of meditation, but not the traditional meditation where you must sit still with your eyes closed, or go sit on top of a mountain. The wonderful thing about mindfulness is that even when you are driving your car, or washing dishes and you are paying attention to your actions, you are meditating or being mindful of that moment.

Is Mindfulness a religion?

No, it stems from Buddhism, but the wonderful thing about Mindfulness is that it is a practice, a way of living life to find inner peace. It's compatible with all religions.

Why is it so important to be Mindful of the moment?

Most of us live our lives thinking about the future, or thinking about the past and we never fully enjoy or appreciate where we are in the present moment. When we are at work, we are thinking about what we will do when we get home. When we are at home, we're thinking about what we should do when we get to work. This causes stress. When we are doing our job, and paying full attention to whatever we are doing at the moment, there is a peace and a fulfillment that comes over us. We find that we have done the best job at that moment. In addition, we are not as tired because we have fully given of ourselves without being split in different directions.

Another wonderful blessing from mindfulness, is that it stills the mind and makes room for our inner wisdom to surface. Suddenly we know how to handle our problems, and we find answers to things that have plagued us.

What is mindful parenting?

Mindful parenting is being fully present with our children and with ourselves. Many of us have experienced being in the same room with our children, and we never fully appreciate the moment being with them. We are engulfed in thinking about our work or whatever task we must do.

How can I be a more mindful parent?

There are many ways, but let's take listening to start. Listening is one of the most loving things we can do for our children. Sometimes it is hard when a child is seemingly taking so long to express herself, but when we force ourselves to watch our breathing and listen to the tone of a child's voice; we find a wonderful loving exchange. Another simple way is when we hug our children, to really take time and feel the beautiful energy of that hug.

It's hard to be a mindful parent when my child is not behaving.

Actually, that's a perfect time to practice mindfulness. For me, it was the whole reason I practiced mindfulness. Having a son with reactive attachment disorder was the perfect arena for me to do the practice so that I could have inner peace and be a better parent.

When a child is misbehaving, this is a time to observe your thoughts and your emotions. What are you feeling inside when a child is having a temper tantrum? I have found that by staying present with my feelings, which is being mindful of my feelings, there is a certain peace and release that comes over me. Suddenly I am embracing the problem and it's not as bad as I thought it was. Usually we try to run from these uncomfortable feelings, but when we embrace the feelings of our knotted stomachs, or our aching head, we observe something magical. It changes, and often moves away.

I tell parents that being mindful especially when a child is misbehaving is a way of loving yourself. Listening to your feelings and embracing them is important because we have a hurt child inside of us that needs attention too.

Another way of being mindful while parenting is observing your breath. Parenting is about patience, and when we are stressed and frustrated, a great way of helping us to be more patient is to observe our breath. We can do this while picking up toys, cooking dinner, and running the zillion errands parents must do.

The most important thing I learned about mindfulness was that it helped me to pay attention to me, and that's the highest form of loving myself.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Janet Alston Jackson.

Janet Alston Jackson is the author of "A Cry for Light: A Journey into Love." To order books and CD's, schedule Janet for speaking engagements, or subscribe to Janet's newsletter, visit her website, email, or call Self Awareness Trainings toll free 1-877-796-8288.

Janet Alston Jackson, csl, has facilitated self-awareness workshops to a variety of audiences since 1993. She often teams with her husband Walter Jackson (author of "Sporting the Right Attitude"), to facilitate fun, high-energy motivating trainings for which the couple is known. This unique husband-and-wife team have been guests on numerous radio talk shows around the country, and have made appearances on KCET, public television.

Janet is a certified behavioral consultant, a certified anger management consultant, and a certified seminar leader. Through their motivational company Self Awareness Trainings, the Jacksons have given numerous workshops on "How to Effectively Communicate," "Releasing Stress," and "Mindfulness Trainings" to a variety of audiences including corporate executives, parents, teachers, women in recovery, prison personnel, health care workers, and entertainment industry executives.

Janet co-founded with Walter, Believe In Yourself Inc, a non-profit self-esteem program for children and their parents.

Janet earned her B.A. in Broadcast Journalism from the California State University at San Jose. She started her television career as a production assistant for the Los Angeles local CBS station, and she was a news writer for the Los Angeles CBS owned radio station, KNX Newsradio.

A strong advocate for children, Janet was a Court Appointed Special Child Advocate (CASA) and a board member for their fundraising arm, Friends of Child Advocate. Today she is a board member for Child Care Resource Center which serves thousands of families in Los Angeles County.

The author and her husband Walter, have three teenagers, Ryan, Devon and Jada,and one very loveable Chow named Simba. They live in Los Angeles.

Copyright (c) 2005 by Timeless Spirit Magazine. All articles are the copyright of the particular writers and cannot be reprinted without their expressed permission. All rights reserved. International copyright laws prohibit reproduction of or distribution of this page by any means whatsoever, electronic or otherwise, without first obtaining the written permission of the copyright holder. We retain legal counsel to protect our copyrights.

Any advice given is for informational purposes only.