How to be a mindful parent
The essence of being mindful (aware, attentive, thoughtful) in anything you do relies on your connection with Spirit, defining spirit as the original source energy, God, your higher power, or the universe. Whatever name you give it, you need to have a personal relationship with it to be truly satisfied with yourself.
In his blog Blessed Are the Cheerful!, Dr Wayne W Dyer writes, “In my own life I know that my state of cheerfulness is a reliable gauge of my level of spiritual enlightenment at that moment. The more cheerful, happy, contented, and satisfied I am feeling, the more aware I am of my deep connection to Spirit … I ask myself, ‘How am I truly feeling inside?’ If my answer is ‘Not so hot’ or ‘Upset’, I meditate and go to the quiet place where I can plug into my spiritual power source. The state of cheerfulness returns quickly … use this measure to test your own level of spiritual awareness, and if you are not of good cheer remind yourself that you will never be fully satisfied but in Spirit.”
Being a “mindful parent” entails working in conjunction with your Spirit. Being mindful does not mean you’ll automatically have the most well-behaved and compliant child or that you’ll have the answer to everything. A mindful parent uses connection with source. They communicate with it their intention to do their best and they follow the guidance it offers. A mindful parent has a personal relationship with their source and feels calm and supported as they raise their children. Such a parent understands they are in co-creation with Spirit. They open their minds and are guided through the lessons and challenges of parenthood by a connection with their higher self, which keeps them in alignment with their inner peace and allows their parenthood journey to be joyful, inspiring and enlightening.
Following are the tools mindful parents use to feel more capable and more joyous in the special role.
Seven steps to mindfulness
1. The Power of intention
Be aware that intention is a powerful tool that helps you communicate to the universe exactly what you want and expect for your family. As author of The power of Intention, Wayne Dyer writes, “Stay tuned vibrationally to the source of all life that intended you, and everyone else here and all of the powers of all of creation will cooperate with you to bring into your life what you desire.”
You can manipulate what you experience by offering your intentions to the universe. Align your verbal and visual intentions with your desires. Knowing your intentions create your experiences offers you a key to fulfilling your dreams and you can start offering your intentions to the universe right now with daily prayer, visualisation and affirmation.
Say the following affirmations to yourself daily, either out loud or in your head, ideally in meditation. Say them as often as you like. If you notice a negative thought enter your head, replace it with a positive affirmation:
“My children are safe and supported”
As a parent you often worry about your children’s safety. When your intention is that they will always be safe and you communicate this directly with Source, all the powers that be will do everything to ensure their safety. At first this concept may be hard to believe, but when you begin a one-on-one relationship with Spirit and you work together to co-create your dreams, you will begin to feel the awesome powers at work. Whatever you intend, say, do and think will become the reality of your life. Regular use of the affirmation, “My children are safe and supported” helps you feel assured that they are always looked after and have a circle of support around them at all times.
“I am always provided with the information I need to make the best decision for my family”
As a parent there will always be situations you don’t know how to solve. This often leads to worry and personal anguish. One way to deal with this is to offer up the problem to the universe. When you’re at a loss, ask for the answer to be shown to you then move on with your day, knowing the perfect answer will show itself at the perfect time. This will create more worry-free time to spend playing with and enjoying your children.
“My family is healthy and whole”
You will try to make the right choices for the health of your family but they will also want to make choices for themselves. Children don’t always eat what you think is best for them, nor do your partners. It’s not your job to tell them how to live, but you can put the intention out there that they are healthy and whole, releasing you from the need to worry about having to make all the right decisions for them.
This is a wonderful affirmation to instill in children. If your child has a cold and needs medicine, instead of saying, “Yes honey, you are sick and your body is run down” — inferring the body is weak — you could say, “You have a little cold but your body can heal itself. You are healthy and whole and you will feel better soon.” They become mindful that they are healthy and whole and will always recover.
“The minds of my children are conditioned with love and positivity”
Most children’s thought patterns, beliefs and values are established between the ages of zero and seven years. During this time a parent needs to be mindful of everything they are saying and doing in front of their children. An example is positive body image. If you keep putting your body down and talk about food in a negative way, you are programming your child to judge their own body and programming them to have issues with food.
Another example is behaviour. If your child is a handful and you constantly discuss how naughty they are, they will hear this and believe they are naughty and act accordingly.
Rather, carefully observe the conditioning of your child’s mind and approach every communication with them as an opportunity to build their self-love and respect.
“I am always in the perfect place at the perfect time”
There’s no use running after things. Your goals will come to you at the perfect time. You don’t need to constantly be concerned about how things are going to happen. Know that you will be led to the perfect place when everything lines up for the best possible outcome. Ask for what you need, believe you will get it, let go of worry and move on, taking small steps every day towards your goal. In his Notes from the Universe, Mike Dooley wrote, “It’s kind of strange, but first you have to know what you want, defined in terms of the end result. And then you have to physically move towards it, without defining the hows. At which point, the thing you want actually starts coming to you, on its own terms, from a direction completely unexpected. Not unlike a cat. Then you just need to carry on, detached from the details and timing, and perhaps act like you just couldn’t care less. Meow.”
“My mind is always open to new knowledge and life experience”
“Have a mind that is open to everything and attached to nothing,” says Wayne Dyer. Once your intention is laid, let go and follow that which presents to you. Don’t attach to one idea and rule out everything else. Stay open and fluid and follow that which feels best to you in the moment. The more you release your hold on personal judgments, the more loving and open you will be to others’ view points. Remaining open to new information carries you along the path of enlightenment.
2. Know what you want
If you could have anything you want (which you can), what would it be? What would it look like, how would it make you feel, where would you be, what would you be doing, who would be with you? Without thinking about anyone else, what is it that would make YOU truly happy. Let your dreams be YOUR dreams. They fuel your desire for an improved life. Heed your inner voice and decide what it is you truly want.
Putting your dreams into words and knowing you are deserving of everything you ask for is one of the most important steps. Your visual pictures and the words you speak are your keys to creating your dreams. From the New Living Translation of the Bible, Luke 11:9 states, “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.” It’s OK to ask. Consciously ask with the intention you will receive, keep taking steps towards your goal, keep pursuing your dream and it will manifest in your life.
Meditation offers you a place for inner reflection and increased self-awareness, a space to feel connected to your divine life source and a home where you can come to know unconditional love and seek guidance. There is no right or wrong in meditation, just the moment, a moment of time that allows you to connect to the knowledge and answers within you while experiencing a calm inner peace.
Meditation also provides an opportunity for down time, allowing you to refocus and recharge. It’s a time to let go of what is not important and to connect with your higher self as a source of renewed energy and divine wisdom, leading to improved health and guidance.
With your mind rested and calm you can return to your children alert and mindful. Worry and stress will dissipate, to be replaced by patience, poise and peace. As a daily tool, meditation allows you to become the observer, to become proactive in your parenting rather than reactive. You will like yourself better as you display more patience and a better ability to listen and love unconditionally.
“Relaxation is perhaps the single most important key to health and wellbeing,” we are told by the Heart of Healing Centre in Sonoma, California in the US. “It is the antidote to stress, which is known to contribute to the development of disease. When we relax, our body has an opportunity to unwind. The benefits of relaxation have been well researched and include more energy, better sleep, enhanced immunity, increased concentration, better problem-solving abilities, greater efficiency, smoother emotions — less anger, crying, anxiety, frustration and less headaches and pain.”
As a teacher of relaxation, I am constantly told by my class attendees how wonderful they feel after relaxation. My client Mandy shared, “The addition of meditation and relaxation to my life has given me the ability to feel like I can cope. I have found I am a calmer, more mindful parent, have more energy and have a more positive outlook and this helps me daily to be a better parent. It also helps my children.”
6. Let Go and Let God
By now you can see and feel what you want and you have asked clearly for it from a place of calm contemplation. Now it’s time to release any concerns and allow the universe to bring your wishes to you. A popular affirmation that helps people every day is to “Let Go and Let God”. Whatever the label you give to your higher source — whether it be God/Source/The Universe/Higher-Self/Buddha/Spirit — it is all the same divine source energy. So Let Go and Let Source bring to you everything you desire and deserve. Each time you do this and you experience the manifestation of your desires, your faith will grow. Your faith will continue to grow until you only have absolute belief remaining that everything you intend will be.
All you need to do then is follow your intuition and inner guidance. Don’t follow the crowd — follow your feelings. Listen to others, but only take on that which resonates with you and makes you and your children feel good. If a child is not happy, then it was the wrong choice for you. When you and your children are in alignment, you will experience happiness and know you are currently doing what works for your whole family.
7. Live in gratitude
As you wake and before you sleep, give thanks for all that you have and for all that is on its way to you. Teach your children to do the same. The more you are grateful for, the more you will experience an abundance of things in your life to be thankful for.
Mindful parenting does not involve knowing all the answers and it does not mean being right all the time. A mindful parent observes their actions, is aware of when changes need to be made, opens their mind to learning and can laugh at their mistakes. A mindful parent is in constant contact with their inner-self and asks for guidance regularly. They know they can let go of worry and follow what flows their way to make them and their family feel good.
Joanne Mensforth is a Doctor of Philosophy specialising in holistic life coaching and holds her Masters Degree in metaphysical science. W: www.joannemensforth.com.au