To Develop Observation in the Present Moment
The Mindful Parenting Course developed by Netherlands Professor and Clinical Psychologist Prof. Susan Bögels focuses on the experience for parents to learn techniques in getting along with their children. During the course, participants would carry out a series of practice including focusing on breathing for several minutes (3-minute Breathing Exercise), body scan, mindful walking and mindful stretching. Those practices aim to facilitate the parents to learn how to concentrate on "the instant moment” non-judgmentally and switch from "the Doing Mode” to "the Being Mode”.
Mindfulness helps activate the prefrontal cortex of our brain which is responsible for the functions of attention, organization, planning and viewing things from different perspectives. When having pressure in parenting, a parent may have more sensitive observation and wise reaction if he/she could look at the incident from various perspectives, instead of reacting with autopilot mode, such as scolding or physical punishment.
Cammy joined the Mindful Parenting Course around half a year ago.
She admitted that she knew nothing about Mindfulness before the course and felt quite bored for the Mindful Breathing Practice during the first interview. "I have just lost my job at that time, so I joined the course hoping to learn more techniques in parenting.” However, after experiencing a number of Mindfulness practices, Cammy gradually realized the pressure on her shoulders, and admitted to herself that she was in pain or obsession. However, admission does not mean passive acceptance. The purpose for observing the instant emotions is merely to learn to coexist with unhappiness, but not to suppress it or to seek immediate solution.
Cammy’s favorite practice is Mindful Walking, "I always love to walk along the seaside. I used to escape from the reality while walking. Now, I can spare my time to review and take care my emotional needs while walking. I am allowed to feel sad or cry. The acceptance of the fragility of my own can help me stand up again.”
Mindfulness has also changed the mindset of Cammy to interact with her son.
"When he had self-harming behavior, I could only react it from my perspective with "the Doing Mode” and try to find the way to calm him down. After learning Mindfulness, I would adopt the ‘3-minute Breathing Space’ practice to lead myself into "the Being Mode” whenever he loses control emotionally. I build up my empathy and capacity to understand my son’s feeling and his needs at that moment. Even though the immediate reaction is similar to that in the previous circumstance, the mindset is so different. I would have conversation with my son after he calms down to find out the reason of his reaction and discuss with him what he expects me to do when that happens again.”
Research indicates that the MindfulParenting Course is able to help reduce children’s rebellious and damaging behavior, improve children’s emotional management ability, reduce parenting pressure, enhance parents’ emotional management in parent-child interaction, and improve the effectiveness of parenting.