40 Good Reasons To Practice Mindful Parenting

40 Good Reasons To Practice Mindful Parenting

Mindful Parenting

Mindfulness and meditation have proven beneficial for both parents and children. More and more studies are uncovering the short- and long-term benefits of incorporating mindful parenting practices into families’ lives (1).


Meditation and mindfulness are not mere techniques. They are states of being that bring less suffering, more presence, and peace into one’s life. Once a person has experienced the benefits of these practices and the ways in which they permeate our daily life and being, there is no going back. Mindfulness and meditation practices have a positive impact not only on the practitioner but also the people that surround this individual, including our children.


A Google search offers this simple definition of mindfulness: “A mental state achieved by focusing one’s awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one’s feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations.” Renowned meditation teacher John Kabat-Zinn also emphasizes the importance of noticing “nonjudgmentally” (2) because suffering is caused by the judgments we place on our perceptions.


Individuals who have chosen to apply these practices to their parenting have seen improvements in their own lives and the lives of their children. If you are not convinced of the value of these practices and wonder if they are just a fad, here are 40 benefits meditation and mindfulness can provide for parents and children.


For parents, a meditation and mindfulness practice offers numerous benefits:

  1. Develops more patience because we do not mix in our problems with those of our child.
  2. Reduces reactivity because we respond from a calm place instead of from past wounds when children push our buttons.
  3. Cultivates emotional awareness.
  4. Allows us to exercise self-regulation.
  5. Slows down time because we become more fully involved in our child’s life, and so do not miss out on the wonderful and simple moments of their childhood, which goes by too fast.
  6. Develops gratitude for all the mundane and extraordinary moments with our child.
  7. Helps us to become in tune with and accepting of our child’s actual needs, thus allowing us to make better choices.
  8. Promotes secure attachment with our child and a trusting relationship.
  9. Enables us to be more present, which allows space for us to listen with full attention and be able to validate our children.
  10. Develops compassionate and non-judgmental awareness in all interactions.
  11. Facilitates finding pleasure in and appreciating simple things.
  12. Helps us cope during stressful moments, such as tantrums or emotional outbursts.
  13. Promotes our ability to model proper emotion management, and this is how children learn best: by imitation.
  14. Prevents our children from becoming fearful or traumatized by our out of control reactions or screaming.
  15. Improves parenting interventions (3).
  16. Reduces stress, anxiety, and depression.
  17. Improves the immune system, which means parents are healthier (4).
  18. Promotes greater satisfaction with our parenting skills and therefore with our relationships with our children.
  19. Facilitates incorporating mindfulness into all aspects of our lives (5).


Children can also experience many benefits from a meditation and mindfulness practice:

  1. Develops the area of the brain responsible for emotion regulation and impulse control.
  2. Reduces stress, anxiety, and fears.
  3. Allows for a less reactive state to emerge.
  4. Promotes feelings of safety and security.
  5. Improves self-esteem and self-confidence because children feel heard, seen, and validated.
  6. Develops problem-solving skills by developing self-reflection and self-awareness, instead of being reactive and living on autopilot.
  7. Develops conscious individuals.
  8. Improves emotion management.
  9. Improves resilience.
  10. Cultivates better self-awareness of their thoughts, feelings, and sensations. Children become better skilled at communicating their needs to others.
  11. Promotes healthy psycho-social development in children. Improved social skills and interactions emerge because children become skilled communicators. Conversely, they become good listeners themselves.
  12. Creates grateful children able to live in the present moment.
  13. Fosters compassion and empathy for others; they become less self-centered.
  14. Diminishes behavioural problems, while improving emotional health and behavioural functioning (6) (7).
  15. Improves attention, focus, concentration, memory, and learning (4).
  16. Improves emotional intelligence.
  17. Reduces reactivity to others’ anger. They do not take it personally.
  18. Promotes self-reliance by teaching them to accept and tolerate their own emotions, feelings, sensations, and thoughts. In turn, they find comfort within by learning to soothe and calm themselves without depending on external factors.
  19. Allows children to find happiness from the inside, independent of external circumstances.
  20. Improves parent-child relationship during adolescence.
  21. Cultivates more emotionally and socially competent youth(8)(9).


If you are new to mindfulness, start small. Choose moments throughout your day where you can pay attention to the unfolding of each moment. Become the non-judgmental observer of the experiences taken in by your five senses. Moreover, take in the beauty of your life. Incorporating mindfulness and meditation into our family life can only prove beneficial to all those involved.



  1. Many of the benefits covered in this post are also summarized here : Duncan,L.G., Coatsworth, J.D. & Greenberg, M.T.(2009) A Model of Mindful Parenting: Implications for Parent–Child Relationships and Prevention Research Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 2009 Sep; 12(3): 255–270.doi:  10.1007/s10567-009-0046-3.
  2. Kabat-Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness-based interventions in context: Past, present, and future. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice,10, 144–156. doi:10.1093/clipsy/bpg016.
  3. Dumas, J. E. (2005). Mindfulness-based parent training: Strategies to lessen the grip of automaticity in families with disruptive children. Journal of Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology,34, 779–791. doi:10.1207/s15374424jccp3404_20.  [PubMed]
  4. Mindfulness Web Site: Greater Good: The Science of a Meaningful Life. www.greatergood.berkeley.edu/topic/mindfulness
  5. Coyne, L. W., & Murrell, A. R. (2009). The Joy of Parenting: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Guide to Effective Parenting in the Early Years. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.
  6. Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Winton, A. S. W., Fisher, B. C., Wahler, R. G., McAleavey, K., et al. (2006). Mindful parenting decreases aggression, noncompliance, and self-injury in children with autism. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders,14(3), 169–177. doi:10.1177/10634266060140030401.
  7. Singh,N.N, Lancioni, G.E., Winton, A.S.W.,  Singh, J., Curtis, W.J.Wahler, R.G.,& McAleavey, K.M. (2007) . Mindful Parenting Decreases Aggression and Increases Social Behavior in Children With Developmental Disabilities, 31 (6) , 749-771. doi: 10.1177/0145445507300924
  8. Eisenberg, N., Cumberland, A., & Spinrad, T. L. (1998). Parental socialization of emotion. Psychological Inquiry,9, 241–273. doi:10.1207/s15327965pli0904_1.  [PMC free article]  [PubMed]
  9. Katz, L. F., Wilson, B., & Gottman, J. M. (1999). Meta-emotion philosophy and family adjustment: Making an emotional correction. In M. J. Cox & J. Brooks-Gunn (Eds.), Conflict and cohesion in families: Causes and consequences. The Advances in Family Therapy Research Series (pp. 131–165). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Why Rush?

Why Rush?

That lucky 13!

December 13th…. a date forever engraved in my mind. How can I ever forget that Monday morning that changed my life forever…

Five  years ago today, at the tender age of two and a half my beautiful daughter Beatrice  was diagnosed with High Risk Leukemia. I won’t get into the story of what happened that day, nor the story of her illness because it was all documented on a blog I created just for her. I did this so that she could remember how courageous she was and all that she had been through. It was also very therapeutic for me to get it out of me because the pain of seeing her suffer was literally unbearable. Finally, the blog allowed people close to me to be updated without me having to be tortured by repeating our daily struggles over and over again… going through it once was traumatic enough…

This post is a positive post. It is a post about love, about cherishing every moment with your kids. It’s about taking the time to stop and smell the roses, and watching  the butterflies or fairies as they fly by.

Why hurry?

When I catch myself telling my daughter to “Just hurry up!”, whether it’s to get to bed, or rushing out the door for an appointment or school, I quickly remind myself of how precious every minute with her is. All too often when we were stuck in the hospital (her treatment lasted almost 3 years), how I wished we could be home doing the “boring” things. Because she was so weak and tired by the illness and the chemo, she had no energy to do what normal 3 year olds do. How I longed to see her jump around, run and scream, and be “annoying”…

I can truly say that I do cherish every moment with her and when I stray.. .Whether it’s wishing I had more time to write my blog posts, or when I feel rushed, I quickly ask myself if I’d rather be in 2010 when I was forced to live each moment to the fullest because I never knew what tomorrow might bring. Certainty no longer existed in my world… That was taken from me, December 13, 2010! I knew all too well, that our lives would never ever be the same.

What really matters!

I went from a busy successful career, to an unemployed stay at home single mom, living off donations ! I quickly found out what was really  important in life, and that I could truly be happy with little.. really. I got rid of my 40K truck, avoided stores and became creative when it came to entertain my daughter and bond with her. Forget fancy cars and restaurants, buying clothes, decorating the house, going to the the hairdresser, etc. Getting her back to health, and enjoying life to the fullest were my only priorities. Since then I realized that all we need is health and the rest will follow, because without it… well… your options are limited.

I was never a big spender, not into useless luxuries, but still, I’d spoil myself from time to time. I tell people that, although it was truly the worse time of my life, I had never been happier. No small feat for a  naturally anxious mom who worried a lot.

Decluttering my life!

Being in the helping profession, I was always into self improvement and getting my act together, and just like  everyone else…. I am always a work in progress and I  always have something to work on. Well, the gift of Beatrice’s  illness was to teach me to live in the moment, to  let go of resentments and of a past that is long gone, the importance of forgiveness to be able to move on, to not spend too much time worrying about a future that doesn’t yet exist, and to clean up shop when it came to relationships that no longer served me. It taught me to appreciate every single moment as a gift because it truly is. You never know how in an instant it can all be taken away, just like that, in the blink of an eye! Trust me.

The gift of patience!

I have always been ambitious professionally and striving to do more, and better my craft and also keep reinventing myself. That has not changed. What has changed is the urgency to get things done, to do more. It has taught me to be patient: all in due time.  Sure I get frustrated when I don’t get to the end of my To Do list or reach my goals’ timeline, but I quickly set myself straight, and bring myself to the present moment, and live it fully, in gratitude and acceptance. I constantly have to remember “all in divine timing” and I try to let go of trying to control the outcomes. And finally… when I lose my way, get frustrated or down, I sing to myself the chorus of the song “Unanswered Prayers”, or I repeat this very helpful mantra that has served me well so many times “Man’s rejection is God’s protection”.


(Lyrics that touch me : Sometimes I thank God for unanswered prayers ; Remember when you’re talkin’ to the man upstairs ; That just because he doesn’t answer doesn’t mean he don’t care; Some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers )


I try not to resist what is anymore, you know the “bad” stuff… So it is not that I don’t have all the human emotions and struggles that most of us face.. I have just found a better way to cope with them when they arise. I have tried to start seeing that everything happens for a reason and I wait for the gift to show up. That is a major change for me: my immediate reaction naturally tends to always be anxiety!

It is inevitable that through every tiny or major hurdle lies a gift. Whether it be a better opportunity, catching my daughter’s special moves, bonding more, there is always a silver lining.

What’s the rush?

All this to say that, when we rush we are really chasing the future which has not yet happened and by doing so, we miss out on the beauty and the gift of this present moment. And if we don’t cherish that present moment, it is forever lost. So we need to live NOW. We need to slow down.

Before you know it your child will grow up and many things they do now will be gone forever due to the mere fact that they are maturing. And then… you will look back with nostalgia or regret. All too often parents can’t wait for their kids to walk and be independent, but with independance come distance. They no longer want to snuggle, they no longer need your help, they slowly but surely need you less and less. This is why, to be able to let go, you truly need to cherish all  these mundane moments as they arise because in their simplicity they are special because they are fleeting, and quickly pass you by.

So slow down… Instead of rushing the bedtime and morning routines, grant them more time. Allow children to be their natural selves, which is to live each moment as they arise (as we should) mindfully, playfully, full of awe with  the simplest things. As a result, there will be less nagging, less screaming, less arguing, less repeating  for compliance because they will have had the time to live fully at their pace, not yours. And when it is time to go, time to sleep, they will be ready…

Slowing down and being a participant in their lives instead of a referee will also bring you closer. And there is nothing more important than the parent-child bond. Love is truly at the core of a healthy relationship.

Our teachers!

It is us that need to slow down. WE have lost our way and forgotten what is important in life. We need to see the world through children’s  eyes, and hear the message they are attempting to pass on : “simple is better; now is what counts”.

When we slow down, we can truly learn from our children by simply being a witness of how they approach life and get back to that state from where we come from, but have forgotten our natural state. They know how to be mindful, they know what living life fully means, they know the importance of the present moment… we are the ones who need to learn these skills once again. And once we do, life will be so much more pleasant!


To read about Beatrice’s journey and mine, click on this link.


How Do Children Grow Us Up?

How Do Children Grow Us Up?

Usually it is more natural to think that children are the ones that need to grow up, not us :-). But you will be surprised to know, or maybe not, that children also allow us to grow up. You can read more about this in Dr Shefali Tsabary’s book on  Conscious Parenting. It is simply a good read for all parents and she explains in more details how, while we parent our children, our old wounds tend to come up to the surface. And in the process this can at times taint our judgment when it comes to our interactions with our children.

When we accept that we too need to grow, and we open our eyes to the lessons our children place upon our paths, it actually strengthens our bond, and in the process we have a lot more compassion for our children.

5 easy steps for better self care for moms

5 easy steps for better self care for moms

ID-100281564You might think: “What does self care have to do with parenting skills” ? Well it has everything to do with it. As I’ve mentioned probably several times by now, we teach our children mainly by what we do, more than by what we say. If you want your kids to take good care of themselves in your absence, you need to do it for yourself as well.

If they see you always prioritizing other people’s needs before your own, you are teaching them to place others’ needs first at the expense of their own…. People pleasing, does that ring a bell (read more)?

Our unhealed wounds are passed down from one generation to the next, when we live and parent unconsciously. All too common are women raised with the principle that putting their needs first equals being selfish. Other childhood or past wounds lead to lack of proper self care. And if you struggle with this, delve deeper into your issues, and work through them. This will greatly change the way you parent your child, for the better.

Adequate self care starts with setting  healthy boundaries, which goes hand in hand with self respect, and self respect fosters healthy self-esteem.  If your self esteem is healthy, the greater the chances your child will develop a healthy self esteem as well (read more and here).

In the midst of attachment parenting and conscious parenting, there is still space to take good care of yourself. How will your child learn self love if you don’t have love for yourself. You teach people how to treat you, and it starts with your family. If you send conflicting messages between your actions and your words, trust me, your children will follow your actions.

I have seen it too many times in my practice, parents asking me to heal their child of an ailment which is only a mirror image of their own suffering. But like most moms, and I have been guilty of this on many occasions, sometimes we show more love and dedication to our children than we do to ourselves.

We always put them first, at the expense of our own health and wellbeing. But I learned the hard way that if I did not heal or take care of myself first, then I am not a good teacher to my daughter.

It is important that you create for yourself rituals of self care, set clear boundaries for respect of mommy time: practice your favourite hobby, socialize with your friends, have date nights with your husband or partner, workout, do yoga, meditate, read, etc. Whatever brings you joy and peace. It is important that you have time for yourself only.

Step 1: Do make a point to make yourself happy once a day for the easy doable things, and regularly for bigger ticket items. Here are a few examples of what I like to do for myself on a daily basis : read a book at bedtime, meditate, yoga, write my book, listen to my favourite radio station when I cook or walk the dog or drive. Here are examples of things I like to do for myself on a weekly basis : meet with a good friend, go out for tea or coffee in my favourite café and write, have a nice long walk with the dog, take a nice bath with candles, work on an art project, take time alone in my healing room, light a few candles, put soft music, and read special passages in various books (or inspirational cards) that I have, or just sit there in silence and gratitude.

Step 2: Create a special space in your house or apartment for yourself. It can be a whole room or a section of a room. If your space is small you can use a divider or the architecture to create an illusion of a separate space. You can create a non-religious altar where you keep special items in that area (on a table or bookshelf). It can have pictures of people you love, special stones, books, candles, crystals, incense, essential oil diffuser, a Himalayan salt lamp, or any inspirational object that has special meaning to you (example 1 of altar, example 2 of altar; beautiful pictures of altars) . You can add a comfortable chair or cushions to sit on, a music player to relax the senses, etc. Your space can have a theme, a colour, special decorative items, etc. The sky is the limit when it comes to deciding what you make of that space. The important part is that when you enter that space, immediately it shifts you into a positive state of mind, and thus will relax you and help you disconnect or unwind, and bring you peace and joy. I recommend that you give that space a name. I call mine the “healing room”. Retreat to that space in those moments of self care.

Step 3: Self love and self care involve loving your imperfections and doing so out loud. Show your kids that it’s OK to not be perfect and to make mistakes. Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. Don’t be so hard on yourself and such a perfectionist, as this is what you are teaching your kids to be. Instead of paying attention to your perceived flaws, pay attention to your strengths and assets, and highlight them and be proud of them. Teach the same to your kids. Even super models hate parts of themselves, no one is perfect! If you catch yourself berating yourself or your appearance, correct yourself as you would correct your child. Tell that mind of yours to take a hike!

You need to embrace your mistakes and imperfections, they are gifts. If you don’t, your child will not only mirror them back to you, but how do you expect them to embrace their own imperfections ? Lead by example or you will be perceived as a fraud by your kids. Start by practicing this simple technique called “Mirror Work” as taught by Louise Hay (see here for instructions) and change the way you talk to yourself (more here). What you keep affirming becomes your reality. So make sure you affirm good thoughts in your life.

Step 4: Develop a gratitude practice. Once a day, at least, reflect on what you are grateful for (you can even write it in a beautiful journal). It is especially important to do this on difficult days as it will put things in perspective. Psychology research has shown the positive impact of keeping a gratitude journal (e.g., better sleep, better mood, fewer illness, more happiness – read more articles on the impact of gratitude). Read some  tips on keeping a gratitude journal. Do this gratitude quiz to see how grateful you are :-), it will give you a great baseline measure. It is well known, that an attitude of gratitude leads to greater life satisfaction.

Step 5: If you have unhealed wounds, invest in a good therapist. YOU are worth it.  As you heal your wounds, and take care of yourself, naturally your child will benefit. You will then parent more consciously and thus be more present emotionally to you child’s actual needs, and you won’t project your own issues on him or her (Watch videos here on being a conscious parent).

“When mama’s happy everyone is happy”. This saying bares so much truth. Take the time to pamper yourself, it’s well worth it.

Action Step: To practice self care and self love, requires a bit of introspection. Start by deciding what you value in life and what brings you joy, carefully ponder on this. It may take a few days. Look at your schedule and see how, on a daily, and weekly basis, you can make time for yourself. Develop those rituals that show how much you love yourself by working through the 5 steps mentioned above and start seeing positive changes in your life and your family’s life. Keep me posted below!

For more on self-care, read this good book by Cheryl Richardson (The Art of Extreme Self-Care). Designed to complete one chapter a month.



Out of Control : A Book on Discipline

I am only a third of the way through Dr. Shefali’s second book “Out of Control: Why Disciplining Your Child Doesn’t Work… and What Will”. I am quite pleased with the content, just as I was with her other book ‘The Conscious Parent”. Just to give you a taste of the book, here are a few sample quotes I have already come across:

If you believe that discipline is a vital aspect of parenting, then you assume that children are inherently undisciplined and need to be civilized.

Because discipline focusses on the behaviour and  not on the feelings driving the behaviour, it undercuts the very thing we are trying to accomplish.

Stop imposing lessons on your children, allow the lesson to emerge naturally out of the situation. Punishement does NOT work.

To berate our children for their behaviour while aiding and abetting it is to compound the damage we are doing.

Unless we identify and untangle our emotional patterns, we will unwittingly foster dysfunctional behaviour in our children

All conflict with our children originates with our own internal subconscious conflicts.

I can’t rave enough about Dr. Shefali’s approach to parenting and about the books she has birthed through the process. If from the moment a child is born, parents would parent in this fashion, their family lives would be so much more serene, enjoyable, and less stressful  and mind boggling.

I was lucky enough to have my daughter at a later age (42). I had the fun, the career, world travels, and through life experiences, and therapy,  gained the wisdom to parent from within. My daughter is a testament and proof that conscious parenting is the most fulfilling way to parent, and the most beneficial to her growth and uniqueness. Watching her blossom into the amazing human being she already was born to be is simply a gift. All this without any hidden agenda on my part of who she should become, what she should like, how she should be. She is my greatest teacher on how to parent her, and she continues to help me grow up and grow from within.

Parenting, although the toughest job in the world, doesn’t have to be the most stressful job in the world. It CAN be the most beautiful spiritual journey you have ever taken. Try it.

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