“I came across Joanne Jewell , the founder of the UAE Mindful Parenting concept, on Facebook and I liked her gentle approach, plus the fact she was a child counsellor and that her methods are backed up by the science of child development. My kids are close in age and I wanted to learn how to meet all their needs while retaining my sanity! I had previously done a different parenting course for toddlers, which gave me great strategies to use for those ages, but my eldest was growing out of those years and I felt I needed new tools as we were butting heads.

"There were several other mums on the course and we all had similar issues, although they manifested themselves differently in different children. It was an amazing support to hear that everyone has different struggles and the strategies that other parents use. The emphasis was very much on the cause of behaviour and about modelling the behaviour you want, rather than saying X but doing Y. That was a light-bulb moment for many of us, and quite scary when you realise that many of the unwanted behaviours in your kids are actually them mirroring things that we as parents do! The course also focuses a lot on empathy; not always trying to fix a child's problem immediately, but relating to them and empathising with them. It is also about 'self care' for ourselves as mums - you have to take care of yourself to be able to take care of your kids. That's a big one, and one that as mums we usually forget.

"I like Mindful Parenting because although it encourages a close relationship with your child, it still gives space for strong boundaries where necessary"

"I like Mindful Parenting because although it encourages a close relationship with your child, it still gives space for strong boundaries where necessary. I now take 10 minutes every day for one-on-one time with each child; it doesn't sound like a lot of time, but the difference in them has been huge! They are no longer as demanding or needy of my attention constantly and they have learnt to wait their turn and allow their sibling to have "mummy time". They really enjoy it, as do I, and it allows you to really connect with them on their level. I found before I was completely lost in the day-to-day routine of life and didn't stop to connect with my kids. Since doing this, I can now get on with things I need to do like work and cooking without constantly being interrupted for this or that (ie my attention!).

"The other big thing I've taken away from the course is empathising with them. Before I used to immediately leap to a solution - I think most parents do that! But by empathising with them first I've seen a change in how they handle situations with each other and friends. They are a lot more caring of others and less "me me me".  

"Some days I 'do well', and other days it all goes a bit wrong! It's a work in progress to change my habits. but when I see how my actions, behaviours and words impact theirs, it's a reminder for me to try harder. On the days I do well, they are easier. On days when I revert back to "shouty mum" they are nightmares too!

"The most important tool the workshop taught me is to slow down! I was running at 100 miles an hour to get everything done in a day, but I wasn't actually 'present'. By slowing down I'm trying to be more considered in my actions rather than acting without thinking. 

"These workshops supported me enormously as a parent. The tools Mindful Parenting has taught me are invaluable to how I tackle different situations. There are many different parenting styles, and you can take a bit from different styles, but Mindful Parenting has hit the nail on the head as to what makes sense to me and the kind of parent I want to be.”   

Sofi Chabowski and her family

For our lowdown on Mindful Parenting in the UAE, see here. For more details, visit the UAE Mindful Parenting website directly