For parents who already feel like they are pressed for time, meditation might just seem like another task to try to fit into a busy day. However, if you regularly feel stressed or emotional in your daily life, or if you feel the time you spend with your kids lacks quality, taking a short amount of time to meditate regularly might be what you need to be more patient and present with your family.
Here are some qualities that meditation develops which can help you be a better parent:
Patience and calm
When we feel agitated, stressed or on edge, it only takes the tiniest thing—a spilled drink, a disrespectful comment, or a toy on the floor—to set us off. Reacting to our children with anger is something that every parent wants to avoid, but when we feel stressed or overwhelmed, we don’t always have control over our emotions.
Meditation can help us to regain that control, so we can respond to our children calmly and with patience, instead of reacting angrily.
Understanding and compassion
Sometimes when our child is emotional or upset, it can be difficult to understand how they feel and why they feel the way they do. We may just see them as being irrational, and not take their feelings or emotions seriously. Meditation allows us to open our minds, so we can put ourselves in the shoes and situations of others, rather than clinging to our own perspective or interpretation.
It also gives us the space to ask—and then truly listen—when our children tell us how they feel. Only when we understand why they feel the way they do can we respond with kindness and compassion.
If you feel like your relationship with your child lacks creativity and excitement, that’s probably because it does! Many of us ask our kids the same questions day after day, or plan the same activities together time and time again. While routine is important, every relationship could use some creativity or livening up every once in a while.
Research has found that practicing mindfulness meditation leads to more creative ideas. Mindfulness meditation, some researchers say, lessens “cognitive rigidity” and helps us develop creative and innovative ideas. It also reduces stress, which generally allows people to be more open minded and to think outside the box.
Everyone has habits. Some are beneficial, and some aren’t. Only when we can identify these patterns are we able to change or adjust them. Meditation helps us to cultivate the self-awareness required to notice these patterns, and determine which are helpful to our children and ourselves, and which aren’t.
With this aware perspective, we can practice responding more productively in certain situations. Or, we may find that we can prevent, through thoughtfulness and planning, the situations that cause us to lash out or become tense.
Although none of us will ever be ‘perfect’ parents, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement in terms of how we interact with and relate to our kids. Meditation might just be the tool you need to become a more relaxed, happy and patient parent.
-The Alternative Daily