“Children are educated by what the grown-up is and not by his talk.” Carl Jung.
Being a parent is an amazing gift. But, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the day-to-day tasks and miss out on the joys that come with raising children, whether they’re 2 or 20. Yes, being a parent is difficult, there’s no denying that. And, yes, it is absolutely stressful. But, like with anything in life, it’s all about how you choose to look at it. Search for the difficulties and the stress and the frustration and you are bound to find it, especially when you are already coming from a place of stress and frustration.
But, what would happen if you were able to approach parenting from a different state? What if you found a way to appreciate the small moments, finding a sense of calm and balance even in the midst of everything going on?
This is the power of meditation for parents.
Being a parent means that you multi-task - there’s no way around it. But, how much you multi-task and how you feel when you are managing several things at once is totally up to you. One of the biggest benefits of a meditation practice is that it gives you a reprieve from all of your to-dos. Even just five minutes of focused attention during meditation can change your entire day.
And, once you’ve finished your meditation practice, there are four more important benefits you can appreciate as a parent…
- Reduce and Manage Negative Emotions. Each parent handles stress and anxiety differently, but, for most, the result is almost always the same: a negative emotion. Whether quiet anger or the kind that encourages you to yell (and then regret it later), these negative emotions impact how we interact with our kids. Meditation is proven to help minimize anxiety, reduce anger, and dramatically lower psychological distress.
- Learn to Let Go. When you sit in meditation, you learn how to detach yourself from your thoughts and feelings in a healthy way. This type of observation gives you the ability to “let go” without becoming indifferent. As parents, we are tested each day as we watch our children grow. And, at each step, we need to learn how to give our children the space they need, but without feeling like we love them (or that they need us) any less.
- Pay Attention. Although children love getting things, the thing they love the most is spending time with you. But, when you’re feeling distracted or stressed or angry, spending quality time with them is difficult. Because meditation helps you learn how to focus on what’s in front of you, practicing it can give you the attention you need to shower your child with love and affection.
- Stop Projecting. As your meditation practice deepens, you learn how to become an astute observer, which means you stop projecting your thoughts, ideas, beliefs, and fears onto your children. In doing so, you gift your child with the freedom to be themselves, without fear of judgement or disappointment.
Even just a few minutes spent in meditation each day can be enough to change the way you parent. Of course, the more you learn to enjoy the benefits of meditation, the more profound the effect will be on you and your family.
To get started, be sure to have a professional meditation teacher work with you one-on-one so that you develop a strong foundation for a sustainable practice.
AnJenette Afridi, MA, ERYT-500, is a pioneer in Lifestyle Medicine, Mindful-Based Strategies, and Creator of INHALE EXHALE SMILE℠ Meditation and Mindfulness Targeted Skills-Based Training for Kids, Teens, Adults, Seniors, Parents, and Business Leaders. AnJenette is a Lifestyle Medicine Consultant and a Meditation and Mindfulness Master Teacher with 30+ years in private practice. “AJ’s” professional credentials include a Master’s Degree in Psychology (MA) 1997, Experienced Registered Yoga Teacher (ERYT-500) 2002, American Psychological Association (APA) Member 1996, American College of Lifestyle Medicine Member, and Harvard Medical School CEU’s in Lifestyle Medicine and Mind Body Medicine (Herbert Benson, MD) the last 15 years.
AnJenette aka AJ has worked with corporations, hospitals, health centers, schools, and private clientele including adults and children. She is often featured at public and private in-person and online events, and she hosts events as well. AJ's warmth, credibility, and energetic sense of humor create an atmosphere that supports expansion, creativity, and abundant possibility.
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This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any medical issue or disease. The author does not in any way guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of this article and will not be held responsible for the content of this article. The information in this article is not intended to replace a personal relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. Always consult your personal health care provider for specific medical advice.