Parenting is a stressful job, something of an impossible necessity, and no one’s the perfect “mother” or “father”. But we can certainly try, right? There are instances where our children make the job much more difficult, and our initial reaction is to react, to respond in a way we feel; and there lies the problem according to this Huffington Post article. Giving in to that initial anger you feel when your child purposely throws that plate to the ground or that shame when your kid throws a tantrum in the middle of the street for the hundreds of passerby’s to see, that’s when we should regulate, our own emotions, that is. The theory is that our children will learn to control their own emotions by watching us, and if we’re constantly letting loose on the things that trigger us most, then that’s a sign to the little ones that it is okay to lose control. The author of the article notes that the stress that we feel in these situations comes as a result of our fight or flight instincts, which puts us in high gear when we experience a sudden trigger of emotion. So, when you’re mad at little Tommy boy for that spilled milk, you’re feeling that same feeling you would feel as if you were in actual physical danger.
Of course, there are things you can do to “not react” when situations like these come around. When you become a mindful parent, you pay attention to your own feelings, and you approach them calmly, because negative emotions like anger and shame are normal and they will arise. When you do this, you can empathize more with your child, which will better help you in understanding their needs and feelings. You will become less critical and the mother-child relationship will improve. Now, you probably won’t be good at it the first time around, which is typical, and you’ll need to practice. There are three key factors to mindful parenting, according to Dr. Kristin Race, author of Mindful Parenting: Simple and Powerful Solutions for Raising Creative, Engaged, Happy Kids in Today’s Hectic World. They are: to acknowledge what you feel when your kid upsets you, to learn to not act on the negative emotions, and to empathize with the child, even when its difficult.