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Fonagy ( 1998a ) has suggested that the core of prevention of psychopathology in early childhood should be the enhancement of mentalizing. To that end, this paper introduces Mindful Parenting, an innovative psychotherapeutic group designed to promote reflective functioning in parents and their infants/toddlers. The interdisciplinary underpinnings of this group work, including the utility of applied infant observation, is followed by exposition of the structural components of Mindful Parenting. Evocative moments from the group experience are interwoven, in an effort to make plain the ways that Mindful Parenting seeks to restore, cultivate, and sustain the most basic, verbal and nonverbal, affective contacts between parent and child. The paper concludes with clinical material on the birth of a thinking couple.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation based on the Buddhist tradition, which has been used over the last two decades to successfully treat a multitude of mental health problems. Bringing mindfulness into parenting (“mindful parenting”) is one of the applications of mindfulness. Mindful parenting interventions are increasingly being used to help prevent and treat mental disorders in children, parenting problems, and prevent intergenerational transmission of mental disorders from parents to children. However, to date, few studies have examined the hypothesized mechanisms of change brought about by mindful parenting. We discuss six possible mechanisms through which mindful parenting may bring about change in parent–child interactions in the context of child and parent mental health problems. These mechanisms are hypothesized to be mediated by the effects of mindfulness on parental attention by: (1) reducing parental stress and resulting parental reactivity; (2) reducing parental preoccupation resulting from parental and/or child psychopathology; (3) improving parental executive functioning in impulsive parents; (4) breaking the cycle of intergenerational transmission of dysfunctional parenting schemas and habits; (5) increasing self-nourishing attention; and (6) improving marital functioning and co-parenting. We review research that has applied mindful parenting in mental health settings, with a focus on evidence for these six mechanisms. Finally, we discuss directions for future research into mindful parenting and the crucial questions that this research should strive to answer.

This paper introduces a model of “mindful parenting” as a framework whereby parents intentionally bring moment-to-moment awareness to the parent–child relationship. This is done by developing the qualities of listening with full attention when interacting with their children, cultivating emotional awareness and self-regulation in parenting, and bringing compassion and nonjudgmental acceptance to their parenting interactions. First, we briefly outline the theoretical and empirical literature on mindfulness and mindfulness-based interventions. Next, we present an operational definition of mindful parenting as an extension of mindfulness to the social context of parent–child relationships. We discuss the implications of mindful parenting for the quality of parent–child relationships, particularly across the transition to adolescence, and we review the literature on the application of mindfulness in parenting interventions. We close with a synopsis of our own efforts to integrate mindfulness-based intervention techniques and mindful parenting into a well-established, evidence-based family prevention program and our recommendations for future research on mindful parenting interventions.

The purpose of this study was to examine pathways in a model which proposed associations among parent mindfulness, parent depressive symptoms, two types of parenting, and child problem behavior. Participants' data were from the baseline assessment of a NIMH-sponsored family-group cognitive-behavioral intervention program for the prevention of child and adolescent depression (Compas et al., 2009). Participants consisted of 145 mothers and 17 fathers (mean age = 41.89 yrs, SD = 7.73) with a history of depression and 211 children (106 males) (mean age = 11.49 yrs, SD = 2.00). Analyses showed that (a) positive parenting appears to play a significant role in helping explain how parent depressive symptoms relate to child externalizing problems and (b) mindfulness is related to child internalizing and externalizing problems; however, the intervening constructs examined did not appear to help explain the mindfulness-child problem behavior associations. Suggestions for future research on parent mindfulness and child problem outcome are described.

Sometimes life seems like it's all about hurrying--so many places to go! And sometimes it's hard when things don't go your way--it can make a piggy angry and sad. So how do young piggies find a peaceful place in a frustrating world? They meditate!

Explains the varying techniques for working with children in different age groups (from five to eighteen) and shows how the benefits of meditation can help in a range of ways: from relieving shyness, anxiety and tension to reducing hyperactivity, aggression and impatience.

Presents twenty-six teaching tales from the world's religions along with a variety of activities, and includes techniques for meditation, relaxation, and yoga.

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