What is Reflective Parenting and what does it do to you and your child?
Reflective parenting is interacting with your child while keeping a close eye on his/her state of mind and emotions, as well as yours. It is a skill by which a parent thinks about and explores the meaning behind their child’s behavior, as well as what triggers their own reactions to their children.In the book, “Beyond Smart ” by Linda Morgan, (http://linda-morgan.com/) she talks about her interview with Yaffa Maritz, who is a psychologist and clinical directror of Listening mothers and Reflective Parenting Programs.
The practice of this skill heightens the awareness of both the child’s emotions and feelings as well as the parent’s own emotions and feelings. When a parent reflects on his/her feelings, it leads to his/her ability to regulate and manage feelings. This skill also helps the parents gain a greater understanding of his/her child and an awareness that his/her child is an individual gifted with his/her own uniqueness and therefore, his/her desires, emotions, and motivations are all his/her own. And when we accept our child as he/she is, this helps us respond to him/her with more sensitivity. And, as we, parents, venture into this journey of discovery, our children will follow. We will learn to have more empathy for our child’s struggle with ‘doing it right’ all the time.
Why is this important to the child? Our children are born with a sense of empathy and compassion. And when our children grow up in an environment where our children’s feelings are recognized, his/her emotions are acknowledged and not ignored or dismissed, our children will grow up to learn to express their emotions, instead of shutting them off. They will grow up with the ability to feel compassion for others.
How can we create this culrure of calm and reflection in our home? Give our children even just fifteen minutes a day of undivided attention. In this fifteen minutes, remove all forms of distractions ( cell phones especially). Spend this fifteen minutes doing something that your child chooses. During this time, do not teach, correct or make any judgements of what your child is doing. Try to use this time being conscious of your child’s feelings and emotions, as well as yours.Try this- the pay-off is great!
In addition to paying attention to your own emotions, it would also be good to talk with your child about emotions- yours and his/her emotions. Acknowledge both your emotions. When their is an emotional situation, describe and discuss these feelings with him/her.This will give him/ her more a sense of self- control.
I invite you to a session of discovering yourself and practicing this skill.
Any improvements we can do on ourselves will always be an improvement on our own children. For our children are worth all these!!