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Mindful : December 2013
Raising the Mindful Child (and Parent) Small children are so present with their experience that they usually don’t need help connecting to the moment. As children g row older, though, the complexities of social engagement, the pressures of school, and the distractions of technology play a sig nifica nt role in their daily lives. They, like us, need all the help they ca n get coming home to themselves with awareness and compassion. What they’ve learned from their parents over the years can make a sig nifica nt cont ribution to their ability to do so. It is difficult to separate raising a mindful child from raising a mindful parent, since we are often, without even realizing it, passively teaching our kids to be mind- ful or mindless. We can be so focused on “teaching ” our kids how to be responsible and compassionate adults that we forget that they’re learn- ing the most by watching how we are being in the world. If you’re staring at your phone while answering your child’s questions, you’re teaching them that fully listening isn’t that important. If you’re hyper-stressed and snap at the driver who just cut you off, you’re teaching them that acting out agg ression is a healthy response to perceived slights. On the other hand, when you stop to help some- one who dropped something on the street, you’re teaching them to give thought to oth- ers, the root of compassion. When you’re willing to talk openly about emotions—both yours and theirs—and you treat yourself with kindness in difficult times, you inspire emotional intelligence and self-compassion. When → December 2013 mindful 75