Category Archives: Parenting

Self Compassion to parent well

Treating ourselves with compassion and kindness is extremely important as we go through the joys and stresses of parenthood. This applies even when you are crabby, yelled at your kids, have six piles of laundry, and forgot to send the diaper bag to preschool!

Self Compassion is a crucial practice for parent. If we continually give to others without nurturing ourselves, our emotional gas tank will be stuck on empty.By nurturing and supporting ourselves, we will have more emotional resources to give to our children. By forgiving ourselves for the inevitable mistakes we make as parents remembering we’re only human and dong the best we can, we won’t waste precious energy beating ourselves up.

Instead we can learn from our mistakes and focus on the joy and meaning found in raising our little (or big) ones.

As our children see us model a nonjudgmental attitude toward ourselves when we make mistakes, it helps them handle their mistakes more easily. The honest truth is that we cannot teach our children what we do not know. This is why learning to be compassionate with ourselves is absolutely essential. We can tell our children to be compassionate with themselves all we want, but it won’t have much effect if we
can’t accept our own imperfections.

When we don’t know how to be compassionate with ourselves, we may default to blaming, shaming, and bashing ourselves. It is common to believe that being hard on ourselves helps us toe the line. The reality is that it doesn’t, in fact it makes it worse!

Lack of self compassion is linked to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, problems in relationships, vulnerability to the opinions of others, and difficulty recovering from painful experiences. Walking around with an inner critic who judges you for mistakes in the past and struggles in the present is quite depressing, and it produces a lot of anxiety. Imagine instead, that you have a compassionate friend on the inside who empathizes with you, helps you take care of yourself, and shows you how to be kind to yourself. Maybe this is hard to imagine right now, but it doesn’t have to be.

The reality is that being a parent in this day and age is very challenging, no matter what the age of your children – young, teens, or adults. Your children at every age are experiencing different life challenges than we did. Not only is this hard and confusing for them, it requires a volume of skills, knowledge, and resources that no parent possesses, including myself. These ever-changing demands can result in us being unrealistically hard on ourselves about our ability to parent well in every situation.

The inability to be kind to ourselves also makes it harder to forgive ourselves and let go of mistakes. We may lose hope and begin to shut emotionally. I don’t know about you, but I’ve made lots and lots of mistakes as a parent. How could I not? It’s unavoidable. We need a way to turn our inner critic into a compassionate friend.

Self-compassion helps to soothe our mistakes and regrets. It brings truth and grace to our hearts, helps us correct our mistakes, and repairs hurts with our children. It also gives us the freedom to learn what we don’t know and find solutions.

Parents who practice self-compassion might say something like the following to themselves when they make mistakes, goof up, or regret their actions:

“Being an adult has many wonderful parts but also some really hard parts. Sometimes I feel like I don’t know how to be a parent. Sometimes I’m confused about how to balance all my responsibilities at home, at work, and with friends. I have

trouble knowing what to do or say about big topics like terrorism, the economy, that changing morals in our country, drugs, and a whole lot more. I have trouble being encouraging and following through on discipline.

“I’m starting to realize that most adults feel like this way. It helps to know I’m normal. I think I’ll be kind to myself about what I’m going through rather that beat myself up about where I am struggling.

“I know I can find help from other parents and not have to figure all this out on my It feels good to know that, even if I’m not sure how, I can learn to be my own compassionate best friend.”

Parenting is an indescribable blessing, and it also takes a lot out of us. We make lots of mistakes, and we also do lots of things right. You heard me! You are doing so much right already. We can all learn new ways to parent and fine-tune what is going well. Be kind to yourself along the way.

The foundation for getting your kids to listen to you

So here’s the secret. Having a strong emotional relationship with our kids makes more of a positive difference than any parenting techniques we employ. When children feel emotionally connected to their parents, they feel known and accepted, and they are much more likely to listen.

Emotional connection happens when we spend time together – playing, listening, working together, and accomplishing goals together. There are a lot of things you can do to establish an emotionally close relationship with your child. As they feel connected to you emotionally they are more likely to listen to you. Here are the ways that will help you build a close relationship with your child.

Eye Contact

Babies as well as children soak in love through eye contact and being held. Whenever you are interacting with them , make sure you make eye contact both when things are going well and when they are not. Try not to look away or ignore them when they’ve done something wrong. You don’t want to accidentally give them a message that they are unacceptable to look at when they mess up.

Physical touch

Kids soak up hugs, kisses and being held. As children grow they may prefer other ways to connect physically, such as sitting close while watching TV or reading, wrestling, or pats on the shoulder. Get to know your children and what they like.

Focused attention

This means spending focused time with your child every day, if possible, by interacting with them on activities that they enjoy. You may feel like, “If I give them any more focused attention I’m going to die!”

We give them lots of attention just to keep them alive! We feed them, change their diapers, do the laundry, drive them to events, help with homework, and break up fights, to name a few.

Spending 15-30 minutes a day with each child builds a deep emotional connection with them that will help them listen to you and feel loved by you. Ask your child, “I’d love to spend twenty minutes with you one-on-one most days. What would you like to do during that time?’

Validation with empathy

Validating your children’s feelings helps them feel known and loved. Validating their feelings doesn’t mean you agree with them or see things the same way. The purpose is to let them know you understand what they are going through. You put yourself in the shoes of your two-year-old, five-year-old or ten-year-old, and ask yourself, “What must it be like to be my child in this situation? What would it be
like for them to have this happen?’ You then reflect back their thoughts and feelings while still applying boundaries.

Let’s say your daughter is very upset that her brother touched her favorite shirt. You’re probably thinking, “ How could this be the end of the world to her?’But it is.

Because you want to connect with her on a heart level, you say,

Mum: “You are really upset that your brother touched your favorite shirt.”
Child: “Yeeeeeeees!”
Mum: “It is so special to you, and you don’t want anyone to touch it.”
Child: “Nooooooo!”
Mum: “ I understand how upset you are, and that you are angry. Even though you are angry, you cannot hit your brother. You will need to tell him you are sorry, and next time something like this happens, come to me and tell me what you are upset about instead of hitting him. I love you very much.”

When we let them know we understand what they are feeling they become less upset and calm down. More important, it build a close relationship with them. They understand that “Mommy and Daddy love me, even when I do something wrong.”

Be ‘A work in progress’ parent

Parenting is one of the hardest job on this planet, yet so rewarding and worthwhile. We as parents, grow on this roller coaster ride with everyday challenges, developing & progressing, learning from our mistakes and trying our best to be better each time.Parenting is about being mindful and conscious in all your interactions with your child. It is about connecting with your children at a deeper level and nurturing their essence.

Conscious parenting requires a change in the way you view your child’s behavior and respond consciously to his/her needs. Simply put, it means, seeing your children as they are, or seeing the ‘spirit or the essence of their being’. When we practice being a conscious parent and enter into a deepest state of
presence, then we entered into the present moment, then we can understand who is our child in the present moment, listen to them with different years, with a different understanding, different insight and attuned to them in a completely different way. Kids like to get their way. But there’s something every child wants even more: Someone who loves them, no matter what. Someone who doesn’t yell when they make mistakes. Who is calm and patient, even when they’re mad or whining. Someone who controls their own emotions so they can listen and empathize, even when they’re wrong, even when they were so upset they were rude. Someone who holds a vision of them as their best self, even when they can’t find that self. Imagine growing up with that parent. That’s what every child wants. Of course nobody can be that parent 24/7 and we don’t get it right one hundred percent of the time, and that’s okay as long as we do not stay in the wrong. Instead of focusing on the error of our ways; instead of focusing on the things we get wrong day to day, we need to remember the bigger picture.

We keep resolving to “do better.” But being hard on yourself doesn’t make you a better parent. Even resolving to be more patient doesn’t necessarily help. What we all need is more support, the kind of support that helps us stay calm and regulate our own emotions. It is important to learn from our mistakes and then to move forward. Assess what went wrong, and plan for the future. Your kids will see it. Depending on their age they may not understand what they are witnessing but they will learn from your action, so take steps forward, even if they are small. The goal obviously is to be the kind of parent who raises great human beings. But the kicker is, we are actually raising human beings!

How can you become ‘A work in progress’ parent?


1. Create a loving and peaceful environment

Your child absorbs everything equally, good or bad. Hence, create an environment that is positive, encouraging, and safe for them to explore and learn. Any negative element in the environment can affect them, leading to inhibitions or phobias.

2. Be present to your own emotions

It is easy to get upset and angry when your child disobeys you. But the focus here is to stay calm and assertive while being kind irrespective of the situation. Introspect on your reaction to the situation. Responding helps you understand the reasons for your child’s inappropriate behavior and come up with ways to control it the next time.

3. Be empathetic & love your child unconditionally

Before you respond to your child, take a pause, and reflect on how you would act if you were in your child’s place in a particular situation. That can help them gain a perspective and respond accordingly. When you are empathetic, your child begins trusting you and looks up to you for advice. Love provides them a safety net, makes them feel confident, and secure.

4. Behave the way you want your child to be

Children learn from what you do rather than what you say. So, before you tell them something, show it to them through your behavior. Be consistent in your words and actions. If they don’t match, it will confuse your child. For instance, you don’t want your child to shout, so you tell him, “don’t shout” at the top of your voice. He might ask you, “Then why are you shouting mom?”

5. Be courteous in your communication

Talk to your child like you are talking to an adult – respect them and be courteous. As a parent, you are the first teacher to your child, hence teach them how to communicate as well as respond. Your child takes in all the emotional learning from you and uses it later in their interactions.

6. Be a good listener

Listen to what your children have got to say. Ask your children questions and listen to their answers to understand their perspective. That way they feel being heard and valued.

7. Boost your child’s abilities

Every child has a potential and talent. You need to tap into that potential. Identify the skills in your children and help them master them. Motivate them to cultivate varied interests, talk to them, and involve yourself in their activities to let them know that they have your support.

8. Practice mindfulness and be calm

Meditation helps you connect with your inner self and relaxes your senses. When your mind is at ease, you become patient and tolerant, and these qualities help you deal with children.

9. Spend time with yourself

In the daily hectic schedule and challenges of very day life we tend to be hard on ourselves, not taking time off to take a break and relax. Taking a break, relaxing, listening to music, watching a movie or doing anything you love, helps you to energize & refresh your mind & body.

10. Resolve your issues

At times, your child’s actions may hit a sensitive memory that you haven’t made peace with. It is essential for you to resolve your issues before they affect you and your children. You can do so by talking it out with your partner or through connecting with your inner self. Your insecurities must not impact your parenthood.

The world of smart phones & your children

Our world today is at the highest peak of technological advancement. And it is a blessing to our everyday living. It pushes mankind forward into the future. However, like a coin that has two sides to it, it is also a curse. Smart phones have completely revolutionized the way communication is perceived these days. Instant messaging, internet and a zillion apps have taken the entire world in its grip. People, irrespective of their age group, have started valuing this “wonder of technology” more than their friends. The most affected segment of the population is the younger generation who has become a victim of smart phone addiction. Parents, in this digital era, have a significant role to play in regulating the number of hours their kids spend on phones.

When kids ignore their friends and everyone else, disregard calls and messages from their parents and continue playing on their phone or even act irritated and behave aggressively when their phone is taken from them, parents need to take steps because their kid might have formed an addiction to smart phones.
Using the results of their study to reflect a national consensus, the experts estimated that 600,000 children show signs of smart phone addiction. They found that while 70 per cent of primary school kids are using smart phones for more than half an hour a day, only ten per cent of kids were monitored when they did so.

Scientists even found that the use of smart phones caused disturbances to young people’s sleep and feeding patterns. Kids in junior school demonstrated speech development and attention issues.

“Children who are left alone too early in the virtual world can develop health problems as a result,” said Marlene Mortler, the federal commissioner for drug-related issues. “Some become hyperactive or aggressive and, in others, it can lead to internet dependency.”

Ways to deal with smart phone addiction with children

Discuss limits and boundaries

Call a family meeting to come up with a smart phone plan, says Bell. Work with your kids to choose some appropriate times to use mobile devices—perhaps after homework and chores are completed—and decide how much time per day is acceptable.

The family can establish some rules as follows:

  • No smart phones on the dining table.
  • Turn off smart phones before sleeping.
  • Hand over the phone during tests or exam weeks.
  • No finished home works, no smart phones.

By creating rules like these, children will learn to obey rules and be more responsible even at a young age. Also, parents can limit their phone usage by getting limited internet packages and monitoring their kid’s activities on their phones.

Once you’ve set the terms, stick to them—parents included. “You have to be a good role model,” says Bell. “Kids learn media habits from adult role models and the research is telling us that’s bad news.” The better news is research shows that just having household rules in place will make everyone more likely to follow good habits.

Be role model to your children

I have heard about a number of cases where parents themselves are so much occupied by their cell phones that warning their kids against its use seems to be a futile practice. Parents are the first role models that a child has. If parents also indulge in phones for long hours, the children are bound to emulate this habit of theirs. It is advisable for parents to stay away from phones as much as possible so that they have a good example to present. If, however, your profession demands a lot of phone

usage, do it when the kids are out to play. You wouldn’t like to be blamed for triggering that bad habit in your child.

More healthy engagements

Today’s kids have forgotten how to enjoy their childhood. They are more interested in staying indoors glued to their phones. If this is the case with you, it is time to take charge of your kids. Motivate them to play outdoor, engage them in physical games

like cricket, soccer, tennis or any other activity the child may love to explore. Go out for a walk in the park, play puzzles, jigsaws, blocks, engage in healthy discussions, reading time, creative activities like painting, DIY, clay molding, music, dance etc.

The bottom line

Technology is a blessing. There is no denying that fact. Parents cannot tell kids to stop using smart phones. After all, parents as adults even need and use it for their own benefit. Parents can, however, stop their kids from being addicted to it by setting an example and having a careful and thorough explanation as to why there is a need to limit their phone usage. By following the tips above and to make them understand the negative side of smart phone addiction, parents can raise their kids to be more responsible and successful.

Develop strong emotional connection with your child

We all crave those close moments with our children that make our hearts melt. Connection is as essential to us parents as it is to our children, because that’s what makes parenting worth all the sacrifices.

We live in a fast-paced society. I hear it all the time in my practice: “How can I connect with my child?” When the toils of everyday life creep in, parents can get so bogged down in schedules that the relationship with their children can seem distanced and disconnected.

Parents want to connect with their children more than ever these days. Living in the Bay Area can be demanding, and not leave as much time for your family as you would like to have. You are not alone in feeling this way. I see many families that are going through this.

Research shows that we need at least five positive interactions to each negative interaction to maintain a healthy, happy relationship that can weather the normal conflicts and upsets of daily life. So when we’re short on positive interactions, our relationship balance dips into the red. As with any bank account, we’re overdrawn.


That’s when kids resist our guidance and develop attitude, whether they’re two ortwelve.Life is busy, and you don’t need one more thing for your to-do list. Instead, why not create a few daily habits that replenish your relationship account with your child? After thirty days, any action becomes a habit, so you don’t have to think about it.

10 ways to develop strong connection with your child


1. Have physical connection everyday

As family therapist Virginia Satir famously said, “We need 4 hugs a day for survival. We need 8 hugs a day for maintenance. We need 12 hugs a day for growth.”

Give your child as many hugs as possible. Snuggle your child for the first five minutes when they wake up and before they go to sleep. Hug them when they leave for school, and one when they return home and often in between.Give them a kiss on the top of the head. Hold hands at the dinner table.If your kid is having a hard time,sit next to them and put your arms around them.Tousle hair,pat backs, rub shoulders. Make eye contact and smile, which is a different kind of touch. Parental touch is safe, and therefore irreplaceable. When kids don’t get enough healthy parental touch, they go looking for love in all the wrong places.

2. Undivided play time

Spend at least 30 minutes of special time with your child, just following their lead and pouring your love into them. This habit alone can transform your relationship with your child. Let them be the director and tell you what to do. Listen compassionately to their long story about troubles with kids in their class, without getting over-excited or jumping in to fix anything. Turn off your phone and be with them completely without any distractions. This would make your child feel that they are important
enough to their parents

3. Connect to their emotions on upsets

No matter what your child says, empathize. Actions may need to be limited, but all emotions are acceptable. When you acknowledge how your child feels, you strengthen your connection and build emotional intelligence. Remember that you’re the one he trusts enough to cry with, and breathe your way through it. Just acknowledge all those feelings and offer understanding of the pain. That creates safety, so he can move through those emotions and back into connection.

4. Ask for their opinion

Ask your child what activity he or she would like to do with you instead of planning a camping trip or something that you think is ideal. You may both have the same vision, but be open to it being something like playing video games together or building a fort. When you do ask their opinion:

  •  Be flexible.
  •  Ask what they need more of from you. “How do you think Mommy or Daddy can be better?” is one way to ask.
  • Ask for honesty.
  • They may not have an answer, but they may have some good pointers. Requests could be as simple as “more snuggles” or “play with me more.”
  •  Take heed. Our children can help us become better parents, if we only humble ourselves enough to ask, listen, and follow through.

Asking for your child’s opinion doesn’t give him or her too much to power. Instead, it helps your children trust themselves and shows them that their opinion is respected and appreciated.

5. Express your unconditional love to provide them safe loving space

Whether or not you think your child knows they’re loved unconditionally, make sure to communicate those thoughts. When children are assured that love is unconditional, it brings about a feeling of relief.

For example, you could say, “No matter how upset I ever get, there is nothing you can ever do to make me stop loving you. I love you unconditionally and nothing will ever change that.”

Constantly looking for approval from parents can be draining (for both parent and child). Instead, encourage them do the best they can for themselves, with no need for approval from others. Explain how doing your best makes you feel good from the inside out.