Mindful Parenting

Parenting is a special interest for me. Being a parent can provide the most joyful yet the most challenging experiences of a lifetime. Little else can arouse such fear, hope, frustration, joy and exhaustion. Who could know that the tiny baby you welcomed into the world could create such powerful and sometimes conflicting emotional reactions?

My approach to parenting has three main emphases: to foster healthy parent-child relationships, to help parents develop their self-reflective capacity, and to assist parents in understanding and responding to their child'’s developmental needs.

Most parents are aware of the importance of establishing a secure emotional attachment with the child. This attachment forms the basis of a child’'s personality and provides a “secure base” for the child to venture independently in the world and form connections with others. As a child grows and changes, we as parents are also required to stretch and adapt to our child’'s new stage of development.

West Palm Beach Therapist

Parenting is an ongoing learning process. For every parent there are good days, bad days, and days that are simply impossible. On the impossible days, frustration can get the best of the most loving and well-intentioned parent. Through mindfulness training, I can help you to more successfully navigate these difficult times. Mindfulness works by helping parents develop their self-reflective capacities.

When children “push our buttons” as parents, it helps to take a step back to reflect on what is being triggered in us. It may be something from our own childhoods, or current fears and worries about the child'’s well-being, which can cause a sense of helplessness or even failure. Rather than reacting automatically, parents can learn to take time to reflect on their inner state, while also keeping in mind the inner state and developmental stage of the child.

A great challenge for most parents is finding the optimal balance of nurturance and limit-setting at each stage of development. I see limit-setting not as punishment, but as a form of responsiveness to your child’'s needs for safety and containment. As children grow, they also have a need to test the limits of their control and power.

“"Don'’t take it personally"” is a primary rule of parenting. When a parent understands a child “from the inside out”, there is less likelihood of feeling personally attacked by a child’'s tantrums or angry words. It is then easier to calm the child’'s inner emotional turmoil. When calm, informed and self-aware, parents are able to respond more effectively to the challenges of child-rearing.

Through Mindful Parenting, it becomes easier to:

  • Attend to your own emotional state, be compassionate toward yourself, provide yourself with adequate self-care and support.
  • Understand how your child’'s stage of development may be affecting his or her emotions, thoughts and behavioral reactions.
  • Appreciate and become more attuned to your child’'s unique approach to the world and establish security for your child through your responsiveness.