Mindful Parenting: Discipline with Less Stress

A young mother with red hair assists her child with an art project at their table.

This has definitely been a challenging year for many parents. For starters, you may have had difficulty explaining the state of the world today. There’s a good chance you’ve had plenty of time to figure out the best way to broach those topics, as many schools have been closed during quarantine.

With so many parents forced into homeschooling and spending more time with their kids in close quarters, tensions run high. How can mindfulness help us parent effectively without giving up or going stir-crazy?


Mindful Discipline: Tips and Techniques

The following may be helpful when you find yourself under extra parenting pressure. 


Emphasize the Good

Lots of kids share a common complaint: their parents don’t praise them enough when they’re on their best behavior, and raise the biggest fuss when they’re not. When you parent more mindfully, you’re more aware and appreciative of the good times.

So be sure to commend your kids when they do right. When you’re having a good day and enjoying yourself, say so. That way, when things aren’t as rosy, it’ll be easier for your kids to take your criticisms seriously and accept responsibility.


Speak Often and Honestly

What do you expect from your children daily? Take time to get clear on this, and share it with your kids before a blowup happens. 

What seems obvious to you (we don’t jump on the kitchen table) isn’t to many children (we’re allowed to jump on other furniture and it’s fun).


Center Yourself Before Reacting

A lot of our parenting regrets come down to how we handled a situation in the heat of the moment. Mindful parenting involves putting yourself in time-out first.

Before you discipline, be alone for one minute. Take deep breaths, strike a singing bowl, do a relaxing visualization exercise. Then go address the problem.


Stick to What’s Working

As parents, we’ll try out lots of different ways to get our kids to behave the way we expect them to. But it’s important to give any approach the chance to really work. That means sticking with it for a little bit.

If we’re constantly switching up parenting styles, it’s confusing for kids. Furthermore, mindfulness encourages us to let go of results and dedicate ourselves to being fully present in the situation. Incidentally, this leads us to the results we want.


Self-Care for Stressed Parents

Admit it – maybe your children aren’t that poorly behaved. You’re only human, and sometimes our patience isn’t as plentiful as we need. Consider the following as you parent more mindfully:


  • Every parent that you think is doing “better” than you, probably isn’t. We only share what we want our friends, neighbors, and social media followers to see.


  • If letting the kids have a little more screen time is the only way you’ll get 30 minutes of peace, that’s okay. Put them on FaceTime or Zoom with a relative if you don’t want them to scroll aimlessly.


  • Do one thing purely for yourself every day. A short meditation, a walk, sleeping in an extra 20 minutes.


  • Saying ‘no’ is sometimes the best self-care there is. If you don’t feel like hosting other kids, giving rides, or watching that movie for the fifth time this week, say NO!


How has mindfulness made you a better parent? Share in the comments below!


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