Inspired by her own parenting challenges, Debbie developed a passion for all things parent-related and began a quest to educate herself and others on positive, mindful approaches to enhance and foster healthy and harmonious family relationships.
As a Certified Parent Educator and Mindfulness facilitator, Debbie brings together her knowledge and expertise in the areas of positive parenting, mindful parenting and social/emotional development to assist parents in creating a sense of calm, confidence and connection within themselves and their families. She facilitates engaging parenting classes, workshops and individualized parent coaching. In addition, Debbie is trained in the Mindful Schools curriculum and offers mindfulness training for children, parents, educators, businesses and community organizations.
What is mindfulness and how does it relate to parenting?
Mindfulness is how we pay attention to life in a non-judgmental way, with kindness and curiosity. It’s about being in the present moment and becoming aware of the moments when we may be distracted or tuned out.
We have nothing but this moment.
When we’re not fully in the moment we’re either in the future or past. When we’re living in the past or future, we’re adding stories. They aren’t truly our reality These stories just add stress.
Stress is inevitable but we can change our relationship with stress and mindfulness is a tool we can use to change that relationship. When we are aware of the triggers in our life, we are able to respond to them rather than react to them. We can recognize the triggers and instead of parenting from that “charged up space” we can become more aware of our actions. We can utilize tools to bring ourselves into a state where we aren’t triggered.
Recognizing the trigger is the first step. Immediately upon recognizing it, and naming it, we lessen it’s intensity. In order for us to be successful with recognizing the triggers, we have to begin to practice this state of mindfulness and living in the moment, when we aren’t in the heat of the moment.
Our kids depend on us to regulate their emotions based upon how we regulate ours.
It’s important for us to recognize that adults have tantrums too. But how we react to them and handle them, models to our children how they should also handle their emotions.
Simply apologizing to our kids when we’ve blown up can help them see that perfection isn’t expected. That it’s okay in your family for people to be real, and the reality is, very few (if anyone) can hold it together all the time.
Taking responsibility for our actions and modeling our vulnerability, lessens the need for us to be perfect parents. We model to our children that it’s okay for us to mess up even as parents and teaches them it’s okay for them to mess up too. Emotions are sometimes messy. Nobody’s perfect.
Simple Strategies to Implement Mindfulness
- Choose one meal to eat mindfully. Simply slow down, notice what’s on the plate and what it feels like to pick up the spoon or fork
- Go on a nature walk and begin to notice what’s around you
- Gratitude check in
- Gratitude jar and consistently reflect on the things we often forget about
Gratitude increases happiness
Gratitude has a profound effect on grounding our lives. It brings us back into the reality and allows us to be fully present in all the abundance our lives have to offer right here and right now. Teaching our kids to live from this state of gratitude is powerful.
It’s okay to not always be okay
We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to do it all and be the best at everything. Living this way can be completely exhausting. It’s okay to give ourselves permission to not always have it together.
It’s okay to give yourself permission to say no.
You don’t have to carry the weight of everything on your shoulders. Asking for help from those around you can be one of the hardest and most humbling things, yet there should be no shame in admitting we need help.
We often have a story in our heads that our moms or other moms had it all together, and thus we believe we should too.
It’s time to release that expectation of perfection.