Reflective parenting

In teaching, reflective practice is vital in order to evolve teaching skills and best practice – it is the same for parenting. While consistency is important in setting up secure boundaries, whatever these are for your family, it is also really important to allow for experience-based shifts.

Just as in yoga asana, you should arrive in your body and breath in the present moment, because your physical and emotional experience is always changing. So should you sit and reflect on how you and your child/ren are communicating and respond to what is current and appropriate. In other words, children grow and change, just as we do, so we need to keep fresh in our communication, present in our reactions, and regularly reflect on what does/doesn’t work.

Taking five to ten minutes a day to sit meditatively and reflect on the day’s parenting can be a really grounding practise. Allow yourself to observe both the aspects of your day where you have felt like you’ve been ‘doing well’ as well as those where perhaps you feel you ‘got it wrong’ or ‘could do better’. Know that these are all subjective judgements anyway and be generous to yourself – try to avoid getting caught up or attached to the stories. None of the day’s events are definitions of you as a parent, just snapshots – tomorrow you can take a whole load of new shots tweaking and reframing from experience.

You can encourage children to take this time too – even very young children can reflect in simple terms what has made them feel good that day, times they’ve felt sad and how they felt better. It’s a simple way of developing responsibility for their own emotional growth.

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