Slate's Hannah Rosin observes the "mindful parenting" movement as aligned with the stress of modern parenting, while simultaneously setting parents up to fail.
In its diagnosis of the ills of modern parenting, the mindful parenting movement is spot on. In her new book Mindful Parenting, family psychologist Kristen Race writes in a chapter called “Overscheduled” about Eva, a girl whose mother brings her in for therapy. Eva was a calm kid who in the middle of first grade suddenly turned anxious and defiant, so Race asked her mother to write down her weekly schedule. Every day after school Eva has some planned activity, such as gymnastics or soccer. Then she goes home, watches TV, does her homework, and after dinner practices piano. Eva, Race points out, has almost no unscheduled time in her week and no “calming” activities.
Carla Naumburg at Psych Central pushes back. "Rosin essentially endorses of the concepts of mindful parenting ... while simultaneously dissing the whole idea."
Mindful parenting is fundamentally about how we approach whatever it is we are thinking or doing. Are we distracted, judgmental, angry, anxious, or controlling? Or are we aware, connected, compassionate, and forgiving? (And I’m not just talking about how we treat our children here. I’m talking about how we treat ourselves. The two are inextricably connected.) Are we able to notice the crazy monkey flinging crap all over the inside of our brains and just let it go, perhaps chuckling at bit at ourselves as we mentally walk away? Or do we get so caught up in trying to catch the little jerk and cleaning up the mess that when our child happens to wander into the room, we bite her poor little head off?
In describing essentially "Mindfulness 2.0" David Hochman (NY Times) relishes the Silicon Valley irony fest.
Mr. Gordhamer started Wisdom 2.0 in 2009 to examine how we can live with technology without it swallowing us whole. The wait lists for his panel talks and conferences now run into the hundreds. The “Disconnect to Connect” meet-up was typical. The audience was mostly young, mostly from the Silicon Valley tech scene and entirely fed up with taking orders from Siri. “There was a time when phones didn’t tell you to do everything,” said Mr. Gordhamer, 45, as the conversation got rolling. “What’s work, what’s not work, it’s all become blurred.”
And yet, the problem may offer a solution. Loïc Le Meur, a French blogger and entrepreneur and the evening’s guest speaker, recommended a meditation app called Get Some Headspace. The program bills itself as the world’s first gym membership for the mind. “It’s a way to have a meditation practice without feeling weird about it,” said Mr. Le Meur. He was wearing Google Glass with only a hint of irony. “You don’t have to sit in a lotus position. You just press ‘play’ and chill out.”
Psychology Today's expert clinical psychologist advises us to hit the "pause button" before we deal with children facing "emotional storms".
When we think about it, most adult problems (in relationships, careers, etc.) arise when we are not fully present and are not able to regulate our emotions. Not being able to calm down in the moment and make conscious choices about how we want to behave often results in behavior that we later regret. The tools mindfulness practice provides will make our children more resilient when facing the stresses in their lives, including those involving school, bullying, peers, parents and teachers. Kids can learn from a young age that it's okay to feel whatever they feel, but that they don't have to act from emotion, that they can instead act rationally. They can formulate a sense of safety and security within themselves by developing their ability to tolerate emotions and building the skills to calm themselves down.