3 Techniques to Apply Mindful Parenting

Available for Interviews: Dr. Pete Loper

Dr. Pete Loper, MD, MSEd, FAAP, is a triple board-certified physician in pediatrics, psychiatry, and child psychiatry. He is also a professor and executive coach and is dedicated to mental health and wellness advocacy.

What Dr. Loper could say on
Mindful Parenting:

  • Put simply, mindfulness is being fully present where your feet are on the ground. Instead of perseverating on the past, or worrying about the future, mindfulness is an active practice of being fully present with one’s thoughts and feelings at the moment. 
  • Mindful parenting is the practice of supporting and responding to your child instead of dictating and reacting to emotions.  It’s about acceptance of the “here and now,” without judgment and as it comes, instead of trying to alter or escape from it.  

  1. Mindfulness can be used in the home to minimize distractions and barriers, both internal (feelings) and external (cellphones or other screens), to be consciously and intentionally present with the ones that you love most.  

There are 4 major components of mindful parenting:

    1. Self-awareness, or the capacity to reflect and identify your feelings.
    2. Self-regulation, or the capacity to sit with your feelings without impulse or reaction. 
    3. Empathy, or the capacity to appreciate and understand your child’s feelings.
    4. Social skills, or specifically the ability to use non-verbal communication to demonstrate that you are listening.   
Benefits of Mindful Parenting
  • When you practice mindful parenting by modeling self-awareness, self-regulation, listening skills, and compassion, you support the development of your child’s emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence is vital to your child’s academic, professional, and relational success, and to their overall wellbeing. 
  • Mindful parenting is a core component of the authoritative parenting style, which is the parenting style that has been demonstrated to produce more resilient, self-assured, and relationally competent children. 
Limitations of Mindful Parenting
  • Mindful parenting is not appropriate in circumstances of imminent risk to your child, where the immediate reaction to your feelings is required to prevent danger or harm. Additional limitations are often socially prescribed and typically occur when your child tantrums or becomes distressed in public. Your capacity to “look, stop, and listen” (see below) may be compromised by your desire to mitigate embarrassment and the judgment of onlookers. In these types of circumstances, even the most mindful parents may find it difficult to simply sit with the feelings at the moment. 
3 Mindful Parenting Strategies & Techniques
    1. “Look”:  The first step is to simply non-judgmentally “look” at or observe your current feelings. 
    2. “Stop”: Don’t just do something, sit there. The second step is to simply sit with your feelings, acknowledging them without judging them or responding to them. 
    3. “Listen”: Finally, listen to your child’s perspective without judgment, and even if you disagree.

Mindful parenting works well in most circumstances. It is particularly important when your child is trying to assert his or her will. This often occurs when there are clearly established rules that your child has violated or wishes to violate. In circumstances where your child is limit testing, or has broken the rules, mindful parenting allows you to acknowledge your child’s autonomy while simultaneously helping them organize their feelings of distress and support them in learning boundaries. 

 

Interview: Dr. Pete Loper

Dr. Pete Loper began his undergraduate studies in English at Kenyon College prior to completing his premedical coursework and Bachelor of Arts at the University of South Carolina (U of SC).  He earned his Doctor of Medicine from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, and his Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania.  Following medical school, Dr. Loper completed a residency in pediatrics. He then worked as a pediatrician in a private practice setting while completing a second residency in psychiatry and a fellowship in child and adolescent psychiatry.  He has also completed the American Psychoanalytic Association’s Psychoanalytic Fellowship Program and the Teleos Leadership Institute’s Coach Development Program.

Dr. Loper has been featured in numerous academic publications and media outlets and it is through these channels that he can dedicate his time to be an advocate for mental health and wellness.

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