Unlearn parenting habits

by Jun 27, 2023Parenting0 comments

In cultivating a mindfulness practice, habitual ways of thinking and being are brought to awareness; things we think or do without thinking. When you witness your thoughts and words as a “unbiased observer”, it becomes easier to see how these thoughts and words create your world. “Our words reflect our thoughts, our thoughts reflect our beliefs, and our beliefs, especially the unexamined ones, run our world.” This quote indicates how unexamined beliefs influence so many of our habitual ways of thinking and doing. For example:

“For years, Vanessa Cornell’s time and attention had been consumed by keeping up with the schedules and demands of five young children. She thought she was being a “good mom” by abandoning her own needs in order to solely focus on theirs, until she just couldn’t do it anymore. “It started out as a little voice that something was off until it got so loud that I couldn’t ignore it anymore,” she says. “I felt like I was sleepwalking through life. I was so unhappy, resentful and just hit a wall”-Washington Post. 

We could spend a good deal of time and effort unpacking Vanessa’s thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, and that could, at some point, be useful in dismantling long believed narratives, but for today, for now, start with where you choose to place your attention. Whenever you find yourself questioning your parenting words, thoughts, and actions, shift your attention to a physical sensation or emotion. For several moments choose to place your attention on that one thing. When you become aware of even the slightest amount of ease, you can return to your “ruminations”, but now with the ability to shift your attention when needed. Some of the ways in which you will know you need to intentionally place your attention in the present is when you become aware of past thinking or future thinking or when you find you are “caught” in a narrative or story. Often the intensity of an emotional reaction to a thought can guide us to shift our attention to the present. Once you have cultivated the ability to choose where to place your attention, you will have an enhanced ability to determine which parenting habits are serving you and which need to be re-examined in order to decide how much change is needed to arrive at a peaceful place.