As a mother of three children, I am always searching for ways to make their life experiences more positives and enhanced than mine. I was always concerned by this and have read many books and followed some advice, however, for me, the best thing that I did that impacted their lives in a more positive way was changing myself first. I will explain: when I became more aware of who I was and who I wanted to be and started to work on it, I became more aware of my self-limiting beliefs and could be more present for them.
Limiting beliefs are those that constrain us in some way. Just by believing them, we do not think, do or say the things that they inhibit and in doing so we impoverish our lives. They arefalse beliefs that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life. For example a person could acquire a limiting belief about their ability to succeed as soon as they fail.Self-limiting beliefs can and do often pose as formidable obstacles tosuccess and progress on the life path. Limiting beliefsoriginate from experiences and events, and we subconsciouslyinternalize fear and insecurity surrounding them. These beliefs drive our behavior and choices in a very subtle butvery powerful manner. But the worse on all of it is that most of our limiting beliefs are created when we are still a child, and we don’t know how to manage such feelings and experiences. Also a lot of our limiting believes are not ours but our parent’s, which are transmitted to us by their behavior, feelings and teachings.
The baby’s brain till 6 years old absorbs and learns by observing the world around them. The child till that age can not distinguish properly between what is real or not, so if you say to a child that he/she can not do something, they will grow up believing that it’s true and will probably never try to do it, even if they try they will probably fail on the first attempt, because the belief is sometimes so strong that they don’t want to “disappoint” it. That’s why as a parent we should be aware of our own limiting believes and our own limitations to try to not pass then to our children. Of course we can not be perfect, and we will never, but when we are more aware of our own actions, and if we are present to our children we can observe more what do we teach them, how we behave around them and also how our own struggles could affect them and talk about that, teach them and show them that sometime we fail, but we need to keep trying to succeed.
The practice of mindfulness is an excellent tool on this matter, because it helps us to stay present and aware of our thoughts and acts each moment. When we start to practice mindfulness we become more and more aware of who we are and what kind of beliefs we hold.
Mindfulness is also an excellent way to reconnect with yourself without the external stimuli. Our beliefs, perceptions and attitudes are deeply coloured by external experiences and events. The first step is to become aware and take stock of who you are. The first objective of mindfulness is self-discovery without judgment. The individual simply observes his feelings, thoughts and reactions without criticism.
In other hand, parenting is one of the most stressful, demanding and challenging job roles and can be an uncertain path to navigate. It is also one of the most rewarding and transformational experiences. It is up to us as to whether we transform parenting into a positive or negative experience. Most parents react automatically to their children, without consciously paying attention to their response. Parenting can be described as a subjective activity that is influenced by several internal as well as external factors. Over time, we tend to respond on auto-pilot and concern ourselves with outcomes rather than being fully engaged in the present moment. Past habits, conditioning and behaviors often determine our parenting patterns. That’s why parents should consider incorporating mindfulness in regards to their dealings with their children by developing a conscious, intentional attitude and behaviour style.
The underlying philosophy of a mindful parenting involves acceptance of uniqueness and the ability to reassure the child that they are always loved. One of the biggest stumbling blocks for most parents is setting high expectations for their child. Whether in regards to academic or sports performance, behaviour or appearance, parents tend to react on auto-pilot rather than respond intentionally in the moment. Discipline is extremely important in a child’s upbringing; however, it should be imparted with a loving attitude along with complete engagement in the current moment. This way, you can enjoy every minute with your child.
At its core, mindful parenting helps you to clearly understand your children without your own fears, expectations or insecurities colouring your behaviour. As parents, we have a propensity to give way to automatic and aggressive reactions that are often detrimental to a child’s wellbeing.
Unfortunately, a lot of parenting behaviours revolve around moulding external behaviours to fit the ‘accepted’ parent/child expectations. With this form of parenting, we aim to raise children who are too eager to please, as opposed to healthy, happy, confident and independent children. Mindful parenting helps raise children who are able to make proactive and responsible choices.
Modern approaches to parenting advocate the principle that adults need to learn self-discipline first. Being self-aware and loving yourself helps connect with your children in a calm, composed and connected manner as opposed to habitual reactivity. This empowered approach also helps eliminate the need to make your children too eager to please which benefits you rather than them. By examining your own motives and beliefs, you can regulate your behaviour towards your children. The reason behind this powerful piece of advice is that parental behaviour is often driven by selfish and internal motives that may be hidden. Quiet and calm introspection can help you become more self-aware and the improved self-awareness is able to bring greater clarity to your relationship with your child. If you continue to engage in reactive parenting, this pattern of behaviour is then passed onto your children who will then be inclined to practice similar parenting towards their children.
It is important to understand that parents are transformed by their children as much as children are transformed by their parents.