This is my all time favorite parenting book and it completely changed the way I view parenting when I read it in 2005.
Myla & Jon Kabat-Zinn are parents to three grown children. Jon is the founder and director of the Stress Reduction Clinic and is the author of Wherever You Go, There You Are (another book I highly recommend).
So what exactly is mindful parenting?
Jon had this to say in an interview, “Mindfulness, which lies at the heart of Buddhist meditation, means moment-to-moment, non-judgmental awareness. It’s cultivated by refining our capacity to pay attention, intentionally, in the present moment, and then sustaining that attention over time. It means becoming more in touch with our life as it is unfolding.
Parenting through mindfulness has the potential to penetrate past surface appearances and behaviors and allow us to see our children as they truly are, so we can act with some degree of wisdom and compassion. The more we are able to keep in mind the intrinsic wholeness and beauty of our children especially when it’s difficult to see the more our ability to be mindful deepens”
In the back of the book, they list 12 exercises for mindful parenting. There are two that have helped me change my perspective the most. One is “Try to imagine the world from your child’s point of view, purposefully letting go of your own. Do this everyday for at least a few moments to remind you of who this child is and what he or she faces in the world.”
The other one that helps keep my focus is “Imagine how you appear and sound from your child’s point of view, i.e., having you as a parent today, in this moment. How might this modify how you carry yourself in your body and in space, how you speak, what you say. How do you want to relate to your child in this moment“?
I use these as tools with my three children and it allows me to see past their behavior. It helps when I’m getting angry and feel like yelling, to see myself, as they see me. Facing that and looking at it honestly, can be scary sometimes but putting yourself in your child’s place, will show you the world in a whole new way.
This insightful book approaches parenting from a Zen Buddhist position, but will benefit anyone who wishes to learn and maintain gentle/mindful parenting methods, regardless of religious beliefs. If you’re looking for a typical “kids versus parents” book, this is not one of them. Borrow it from the library and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
If you’re interested in purchasing this beautiful book, please click above to be taken to amazon.com’s secured server. Thanks!© 2011 An Unschooling Life