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The Morning Cup


Mindful Parenting is a contemplative practice through which our connection to our child, and awareness of our child’s presence, helps us become better grounded in the present moment

Your mindful parenting practice

tip of the day.

Sip slowly.

The Mindful Parent is an organization devoted to sharing with parents and other child caregivers ways in which to enhance the many joys of parenting.  By mindfully attending to our children, both when we are physically present with them and when we are physically separated from them, we can enhance our sense of connection to them and, in turn, our connection to the cosmos.  This makes us a better parent, a happier person, and a more vital human being.


To facilitate a more mindful approach to parenting, The Mindful Parent publishes on its website, and in its newsletter, mindful  parenting  verses and commentaries.  The Mindful Parent website also serves as a community forum that encourages and supports a mindful parenting dialogue and the sharing of mindful parenting experiences.


In the spirit of developing a mindful parenting community, we encourage you to submit a mindful parenting verse, commentary, and imagery to share with others.  We believe that through our collective experience, we can help each other develop a deeper and more meaningful mindful parenting practice.  Click here to learn more about making a submission.  We thank everyone who has made a contribution.

Please contact us with your questions about mindful parenting or to share a mindful parenting experience.  The Mindful Parent conducts mindful parenting  workshops and seminars


The Week of August 2, 2010

The Morning   Cup


If you would like a copy of The Morning Cup column e-mailed to you, click here.


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The Daily Sip: Resistance is Futile?

One of the great challenges of being a parent is exercising authority in a mature and present manner. This challenge is perhaps greatest when we become frustrated, for it is during these times that we are more likely to be reactive, short tempered, and have available to us fewer cognitive resources to draw on to be reflective, rational, and kind.


At the same time, it is during these moments of challenge that we teach our children, through our example, how to relate to such moments.  And indeed, how we react likely bears a resemblance to how our caregivers reacted years ago when we were young, and is being learned, today, by our children.  Neuroscience is revealing just how connected this exchange is, penetrating deeply into the structure and function of our children's developing brains . . . and ours.


Today's Morning Cup explores the opportunities that await us - in the here and now - each time we catch ourselves becoming reactive in relation to our child's conduct and their seemingly endless "demands."  To set the stage for the mindfulness exercise that follows, we'll recast the most common of parenting scenarios -when your child asks for something and you say "no." 


As is often the case, your child does not simply accept your pronouncement and engages in a series of manipulations to get you to change your mind.  Put simply, your child resists and that resistance is often futile.  Mindful parenting involves seeing more clearly what is taking place during challenging moments, and is inspired by our connection to our child. 


The next time your child asks you for something and you reply "no," bring awareness into that moment.  Does their "manipulation," annoy or frustrate you?  If you feel an agitation in response to your child's behavior, recognize the possibility that you are now resisting your child.  But, this resistance is not necessarily futile.  To the contrary, approached mindfully, this resistance is fertile. 


It surely is the case that the answer "no," is often appropriate.  But, sometimes, for any of a variety of reasons (e.g., stressful moments, feeling drained, preoccupied) the answer "no" is largely reactive and has little to do with the substance of your child's request. It is in this moment that you can explore whether you are acting in a mature and present manner.  Doing so will offer you insight into your true nature and offer your child a priceless glimpse into the mind of a loving and present parent.  (While love surely flows endlessly, it is the joining of the love with presence that can be profound).


The idea that your resistance can be fertile means that you can learn by becoming more mindfully aware of what is taking place - within you, you child, and the situation - in that moment.


The next time you catch yourself having delivered a quick "no" to your child's request, make the conscious decision to gather some information.  Call your child over (or if you and your child are in the thick of it, pause) and suggest that you may have been hasty in your reply and it would be helpful if you had some more information.  Move to a different location and sit down.  Breathe with awareness and look your child in the eye.  Ask your child to make the "request" again and to briefly explain their reasons.  As your child is talking, allow your eyes to soften and your belly to move easy with the breath. Listen with ears that are grateful to be hearing your child's voice.


As your child speaks, you may notice thoughts arising in your mind that are quick to deny their request and "see through" their reasons.  You may feel the impulse to interrupt them.  You may begin to feel irritated.  Pay attention to these inner experiences and breathe. A mature and present response is one that can be delivered with compassion and clarity.  Sometimes that response is "no," and sometimes it is "yes." 

One of the great gifts of mindfulness is the insight that alongside the reactivity that surfaces in these moments also resides wisdom and compassion. Alongside the reactivity resides wisdom and compassion.  Treating the moment in this way allows you to connect more deeply with that wisdom and compassion so that it may factor into your decision-making.


With a mind and body open to the mystery of the next moment, allow yourself the opportunity to respond to your child's request with an open heart and an alert mind.  No matter what you decide, you will both be transformed.

Wishing you all the best,

Scott Rogers

Founder, The Mindful Parent Community and Website

Author, Mindful Parenting: Meditations, Verses & Visualizations for a More Joyful Life