What is it?
Having worked as a child and adolescent counsellor for many years, Joanne Jewell developed the UAE-based Mindful Parenting as "an ethos and set of skills that incorporates the concepts of connection and mindfulness to build a lifelong positive relationship with our children, while also teaching them all the skills they will need to become
well-balanced, emotionally intelligent adults."
How can it be put into practice?
The technique at the foundation of mindful parenting is connection – all positive learning comes from a connection with the person who is teaching us, whether that be a parent, a peer or a teacher. The important thing is to recognise that when a child is experiencing any emotion, be it happiness or sadness, they are not in their logical brain, which is where learning takes place. What this means for us as parents is that connecting with your child, on an emotional level first, and then helping them to move into their logical brain, makes it much quicker and easier for us to teach and for them to learn in the way their brain learns best.
There are many ways to connect with your child and the most effective is the use of empathy – not only because this builds connection, but also because it teaches your child about their emotions and how to manage them in the future; we can call these skills self-soothing and self-regulation. The other key component of Mindful Parenting is self care: it’s vital as parents that we look after ourselves first so we can be available, both emotionally and physically, to look after our children. One strategy for self care is the practice of mindfulness (which I use), and there are many other strategies too – in the workshops I encourage parents to find a self-care practice that works for them.
What sort of parent usually comes to you?
I have parents from all walks of life, all nationalities and all belief systems. Many want to use strategies that teach their children skills they will need both now and as adults, for example cooperation rather than compliance, and empathy rather than control. Some parents come because they have a specific issue – sleeping, eating, siblings, boundaries etc. Others come to learn about the next developmental stage in their child’s life. Whatever the reason parents come, the feedback I get tells me that they achieve their goals and more.
Details: Six-week workshops are held across Dubai and Abu Dhabi, priced at Dh1,600pp or Dh2,400 per couple. Private consultations also available, and regular free taster sessions are held throughout the year. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or see website for more details.