Reviewer Bani Sodermark. Bani has a Ph.D in mathematical physics and has been a teacher of physics and mathematics at the university level in both India and Sweden. For the last decade, her interests have been spirituality, healthy living and self-development. She has written a number of reviews on Amazon. Bani is a mother to two children.
Author: Susan Burgess
Publisher: Susan Burgess
Mindfulness as a tool in parenting
Mindfulness is an ancient meditation technique that was reframed and modernized by Jon Kabat-Zinn, founder of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical School to suit individual needs in the late seventies. This program called “Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction" has helped thousands of people with a wide variety of conditions arising out of stress, prominent among them being chronic pain, anxiety, sleep problems and depression. This technique was redefined to include cognitive behavioral therapy by Seagal, Teasdale and Williams.
According to the new form of therapy, “mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way on purpose in the present moment and nonjudgmentally”
Modern research studies have thoroughly documented how and why the practice of mindfulness works. It is a way of incorporating meditation into mainstream society and helps both the body and the mind. In this book, the author attempts to apply the concept of mindfulness to the not- so- easy task of parenting.
The challenges of parenting are many and manifold. After the physical strain of getting up in the middle of the night to feed and change nappies, there is a different routine each for the time the child goes to kindergarten, and then to school and from then on to high school and college. “The stress of being a parent never lets up.” There is also a lot of negative stress today arising out of overstimulation and over scheduling of activities.
This book talks of practical ways to “to find a balance between work hours and our own interests and needs”. “Mindful parenting is a set of coping techniques that begins with your needs as a person first and then as a parent.”
After talking of the challenges of parenting children into independent, self-sufficient human beings, the author takes up the concept of discipline in the home and elucidates her notion of positive discipline therein . This section includes a list of do’s and don’ts based on encouraging good behaviour and refraining from punishing bad behaviour while also creating safe boundaries, learning from mistakes and creating healthy relationships so that one does not have to monitor the child 24/7.
Next, the author meanders into the heart of the book where she takes up the concept of mindful parenting in action. This is where she takes up a discussion of how to handle children of all ages, from preschool to teenage as a mindful parent. She talks of the most common parenting mistakes, emphasizing the importance of forgiving ourselves for our own indiscretions and how to apologize for them. She also points out hidden stressors in the home and provides injunctions on how to de-stress, slow down and enjoy life, not forgetting the importance of a good night’s sleep. She ends by describing a mindful household, where a family that plays together and takes conflicts in its stride, stays together.
This is a very well written book. It is based on concepts that make a lot of intuitive sense, Living these concepts, however, is a totally different matter. This book can, nevertheless, help the parent reading it, to experience a sense of what mindful parenting can be. It could provide him/her with the very comforting realization that s/he does not need to be picture perfect and that there are many others in the same boat.