Mindful Parenting

Shivani Prabhakar

Do you hug your kids every day? Like breakfast, lunch and dinner, hug should be made part of daily routine. The mindful way to hug is breathe thrice while you hug your child. It is kind of a reminder which conveys in a non-verbal way to the child; darling, I am here for you.
Do you spend quality time with your kids? Quality time is a time which we spend with our kids when they need us. We have to be with them when they need us emotionally, mentally and physically. We often ignore the demand of our kids when they need us, such as, they want us to play or talk and as we have other occupations, we often ignore their demands and divert their attention to what we expect form them. As parents, it is very important to understand the need of our children, then, forcing them to do what we expect and think is right.
Most of the times, when we reach home our bodies are there but our minds somewhere else. We meet our children with our expectations, worries about future and their career. As parents we often forget that our children have a present too and in the worry of taking care of their future, we are not heeding to their present and we miss them in the present as they are. That’s why it is often said that children grow very fast. This is because we focus a lot in the future and, never enjoy their present. Hence, a hug when you or your child reach home is a recognition of appreciating their present.
We often have expectations from our kids to perform well academically and otherwise also, for them to have a bright future, and we, as parents, often do so in pressure of our society, friends and relatives; and of course, with a fear that our kids should not lag behind and then, what people will think. In such a pursuit, we want our kids to run a race and win it which they may inherently not meant for. Have we ever observed our kids as they are, what are their inherent interests and unique talents? Jiddu Krishnamurti has said, ‘Nature is busy creating absolutely unique individuals, whereas culture has invented a single mould to which all must conform. It is grotesque’.
Every child is unique with a different purpose in life. They have their only intelligence and their intelligence is pure; not influenced and conditioned. I would like to share an incident. Once in my office, we had a debate as to who is a true leader? There were different views, such as, a leader should be an influencer; a true leader produce leaders; a true leader has followers etc. and the same day, I had the fortune to learn the pure and real definition of a leader from my five years old son who was made monitor of his class. When I reached home from work, he said; Mama, today I have been appointed as a monitor of my class. I applauded in happiness and pride. Suddenly, my son said, but I don’t want to be a monitor because a monitor has to work for everyone. Isn’t it a real definition of a leader as a leader has to work for everyone? After this incident, I have now started learning form my son and younger daughter too. Whenever I have a difficult situation and/or I am confused, I go to my kids, and ask them for solutions, and you know, I always get some great and unique ideas.
We also need to understand, education should be a means to life skills which are confidence, positivity, to know oneself and to know how to live and celebrate life. Some children perform academically or otherwise well in early stages of their life and some perform well in the later stages of their life, and therefore, there should be no comparison. We should be patient and should not put any pressure on the child to win the race which is not his/her inherent nature and they should be given enough space and time to create their own unique personality.
Now is the time, when we should stop conditioning our children with rotten education, old culture and societal conditionings. Let them grow as they are and be their true selves, and if they are their true selves, they will really grow as unique individuals with extraordinary success and happiness. Our only job as parents is to observe, support and guide them in whatever they want to do and not what we think; they should do, however, the most important thing is; you should gift them your presence; a real presence by giving them a mindful hug every day by saying inside your mind; darling, I am here for you.
The author is an Awareness & Parenting Coach at Sachetan (Centre of Mindfulness)