Mindful Parenting is the term I use to describe the philosophy I use to guide my parent coaching. It is a combination of mindfulness techniques and attitudes, brain based parenting, and Collaborative Problem Solving. This works especially well with special needs children, as it meets them where they are, developmentally, cognitively and behaviorally.
Mindfulness often makes people think of yoga and meditation, and while those can be part of mindfulness, it is so much more. Mindfulness, simply stated, is being present, and being kind. Those 2 simple concepts are very complex ones to apply to parenting (or life in general!). I have adapted the 7 Attitudes of Mindfulness developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, Director of the Stress Reduction Clinic at the University of Massachusetts Medical Center, to suit parenting in Seven Attitudes of Mindful Parenting. Check it out for a deeper dive into mindfulness as it applies to parenting.
Brain based parenting has become widely known in the past few years, as science has begun to really understand how the developing brains of children affects how they learn. Psychologists and therapists such as Daniel A. Hughes have taken this information and transformed how they encourage families to approach parenting. The biggest challenge to parents, Hughes explains, is learning how to regulate emotions that arise―feeling them deeply and honestly while staying grounded and aware enough to preserve the parent–child relationship. Sometimes this can be blocked by stress, leading to less than optimal parenting. Learning to be a “good parent” is contingent upon learning how to manage this stress, understand its brain-based cues, and respond in a way that will set the brain back on track. Brain based parenting also includes understanding how your child’s brain is working and responding in a way that your child can understand at that place and time. Check out my suggested reading page for more information about brain based parenting.
Finally, Collaborative Problem Solving (CPS) is an innovative approach designed specifically for use with challenging children. Relationally based, CPS views challenging behavior as a learning disability of some very crucial cognitive(thinking) skills necessary to handle the demands of everyday life and not the result of a child’s willfulness or poor parenting. Through a more empathetic and accurate understanding of what is getting in a child’s way, we are better able to intervene to support children through a collaborative process of teaching skills and solving problems. I’ve added a number of books about Collaborative Problem Solving to my Recommended Reading page.
I blend all three of these philosophies in my coaching practice. Taking into account the age, developmental level and needs of the child, along with the needs of the parent(s), I help you design a style of parenting that best suits your family.