Buddhist teachings can provide a helpful framework for parents who want to raise their children with mindfulness and compassion says Jonah Engler.
Here are some basic principles that can guide your parenting:
1. Don’t try to control everything – let go of attachment to outcomes
As a parent, it’s natural to want to protect your child and control their environment. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t control everything. Letting go of attachment to outcomes will help you to be more present with your child and less stressed.
2. Be patient – cultivate patience and understanding
One of the most important things you can do as a parent is to cultivate patience and understanding. Children are learning and growing, and they will make mistakes. By being patient, you can help your child feel safe to explore and learn.
3. Be kind – extend compassion to your child and others
Buddhists believe that all beings deserve compassion. As a parent, you can extend compassion to your child by listening to them, empathizing with their feelings, and providing love and support. You can also model kindness by being compassionate towards other people in your life.
4. Be present – focus on the here and now
It can be easy to get caught up in worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. However, it’s important to live in the present moment as much as possible. This will help you to be more present with your child and appreciate the small moments that make up life.
5. Encourage self-awareness – help your child learn about their own mind and feelings
As your child grows, it’s important to encourage them to be aware of their own thoughts, feelings, and experiences says Jonah Engler. This will help them to have more insight into their own lives, as well as develop empathy for others.
6. Teach mindfulness – help your child learn how to focus on the present moment
Mindfulness is the practice of being aware of what’s happening in the present moment. It can be helpful for children to learn how to practice mindfulness, as it can help them deal with stress and anxiety, focus better in school, and become more aware of their own thoughts and feelings.
7. Promote self-regulation – help your child learn how to manage their emotions
Self-regulation is the ability to control one’s emotions and behaviors. Children who are able to regulate their emotions are less likely to get into trouble or act out, and are more likely to have academic and social success. There are many ways that parents can help their children learn how to regulate their emotions, such as through mindfulness, breathing exercises, and positive reinforcement.
8. Help your child develop a sense of purpose – give them something to be passionate about
As a parent, it’s important to help your child find something that they’re passionate about. This can give them a sense of purpose and direction in life. It can also help them to develop a positive outlook, as they’ll know that there’s something in their life that is worth pursuing.
9. Encourage critical thinking – help your child question everything
Buddhists believe that it’s important to question everything, including the teachings of Buddhism. This attitude of inquiry can help children to become critical thinkers who are able to question authority and think for them. Additionally, encouraging critical thinking can help children to become more tolerant of other people’s beliefs and perspectives.
10. Foster a love of learning – encourage your child to be curious about the world
One of the best things you can do as a parent is to encourage your child to be curious about the world. This can help them to develop a lifelong love of learning, which will benefit them in all aspects of their life.
As a parent, it’s important to cultivate qualities like patience, understanding, and compassion says Jonah Engler. These qualities will help you to be more present with your child and less stressed. Additionally, it’s important to encourage your child to think critically and question everything. This will help them to become an independent thinker who is able to tolerate other people’s beliefs and perspectives. Lastly, it’s important to foster a love of learning in your child. This will help them to be curious about the world and constantly learn new things throughout their life.