'Mindful strength parenting' is having a moment - and it has some amazing benefits
We all just want to raise good kids, don't we?
Books, blogs and "experts" are all scrambling to tell us how to parent and how to best make sure we raise kids into fully functional, normal adults.
There are as many theories as there are parents out there on how to achieve just this, and often, it feels like they are all designed to make us even more stressed about whether we are doing it right or not.
However, there is a new style of parenting out, and this one sounds like something we can actually all be on board with – no, really.
Say hello to 'Mindful Strength Parenting.'
It might sound a bit Gwyneth Paltrow, but it is actually just about shifting the way you see your kids. See? Easy.
At the heart of “mindful strengths parenting,” writes psychologist Ryan Niemiec, is something called “positive reframing.”
What this means, is simply looking at your child’s behaviour and taking a moment (and a deep breath) to interpret it in a different, more positive way.
“When you get upset with your child for their behaviour, pause and consider a positive reframe. What character strengths might they be using?” he writes. “Sometimes reframing involves replacing only one word in your thought process.”
For example, your son is not “stubborn.” He is “determined.” Your daughter is not “wild.” She’s “exuberant and joyful.” Your kindergartener is not “clingy.” He is “sensitive and loving.”
Before we project our greatest fears and insecurities onto little, still-developing people, experts like Niemiec encourage parents to take a moment to ask ourselves if our own issues are driving us to view their natural ways as something that requires correction. Are we saying “No!” more than we need to?
Look – let's be clear; Niemiec is not suggesting you blind yourself to your kids’ mistakes or reframe every transgression as a triumph. (“Oh, my son just set fire to the couch? He’s so curious!”) Rather, he writes: “I’m encouraging a more balanced approach to our parenting—one that does not fall into a deficit-only, problem-focused approach.”
Maybe it's just all about trying to look at the glass as half full, mamas? I don't know about you, but I'll give it a shot.