Improve Mothers and Children with Autism with Mindfulness

Improve Mothers and Children with Autism with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience high stress in the form of psychological problems, marital strain, and/or family interaction difficulties. . . Mindfulness-based interventions have been found to be beneficial for these parents in many ways, such as decreasing their levels of depression, stress, and emotional reactivity . . . Additionally, many parents of children with ASD who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.” – Katy Oberle

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.

 

Providing care for children with autism can be particularly challenging. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Component Analysis of the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Program for Mindful Parenting by Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223597/), Singh and colleagues examine the ability of mindful parenting to improve children with autism and their parents. They recruited mothers of children with Autism spectrum disorder (ASD). After a 10-week preintervention control period the mothers were randomly assigned to receive training for 3 days followed by 30 weeks of practice of either Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS), mindfulness and meditation, or Positive Behavior Support (PBS). PBS involved instruction on how to positively manage their children’s behavior. They were measured before and after the intervention and yearly for 3 years following the intervention for perceived stress and amount of meditation practice and the children’s’ aggressive behaviors, disruptive behaviors, and compliance with mothers’ instructions.

 

They found that in comparison to baseline all groups had significant decreases in the mothers, perceived stress and the children’s aggressive behaviors and disruptive behaviors and significant increases in the children’ compliance with mothers’ instructions that was maintained over the 3-year follow-up period. But the group receiving Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) had significantly greater improvements in these measures than the mindfulness only group which in turn had significantly greater improvements than the Positive Behavior Support (PBS) group.

 

Dealing with a child with autism spectrum disorder is difficult, challenging and stressful. The results of the present study suggest that training in mindfulness and positive behavior support produces long lasting improvements in the children’s behaviors and the mother’s stress levels. The results further suggest that both mindfulness training and positive behavior support training produce significant benefits with mindfulness training superior. But the combination of the trainings produces maximum effects. Hence, the benefits of mindfulness training and positive behavior support training appear to be additive.

 

The levels of effectiveness of the combined Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) were quite remarkable with the children’s aggressive and disruptive behaviors almost reduced to zero and this compliance with the mothers’ instructions nearly doubled. The fact that these benefits last over 3 years is quite remarkable. As such MBPBS training should be recommended for mothers of children with autism spectrum disorder.

 

So, improve mothers and children with autism with mindfulness.

 

mindful parenting can affect not just you and reduce your own stress, but it can also help your children, as well.” – A. Stout

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Singh, N. N., Lancioni, G. E., Medvedev, O. N., Hwang, Y. S., & Myers, R. E. (2020). A Component Analysis of the Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) Program for Mindful Parenting by Mothers of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Mindfulness, 1–13. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-020-01376-9

 

Abstract

Objectives

Mindfulness-Based Positive Behavior Support (MBPBS) has been shown to be effective in reducing stress and burnout in parents and professional caregivers of children and adolescents with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The aim of this study was to assess the comparative effects of the mindfulness (MB) and positive behavior support (PBS) components against the MBPBS program for mindful parenting.

Methods

The study utilized a three-arm randomized controlled trial design, with a 10-week pre-treatment control condition, 30 weeks of intervention, and 3 years of post-intervention follow-up. Mothers of children with ASD were randomly assigned to the MB, PBS, and MBPBS conditions and provided 3 days of training specific to each condition. The effects of these programs were assessed on the mothers (i.e., training attendance, meditation time, perceived psychological stress) and spillover effects were assessed on their children with ASD (i.e., aggression, disruptive behavior, compliance with mothers’ requests).

Results

Mothers in the MBPBS condition reported greater reductions in perceived psychological stress, followed by those in the MB condition, and with no significant changes reported by those in the PBS condition. Reduction in the children’s aggression and disruptive behavior followed a similar pattern, with most to least significant reductions being in MBPBS, MB, and PBS condition, respectively. Significant increases in compliance (i.e., responsiveness to mothers’ requests) were largest in the MBPBS condition, followed by MB, and then PBS. Changes across all variables for both mothers and their children were maintained for 3 years post-intervention. After time and training type were controlled for, meditation time was a significant predictor in reducing aggressive and disruptive behaviors, and in enhancing compliance of the children with mothers’ requests.

Conclusions

Positive outcomes for mothers and their children with ASD were significantly greater in the MBPBS condition, followed by the MB condition, and least in the PBS condition. MBPBS appears to be an effective mindful parenting program on the assessed variables.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7223597/

 

Improve Autism in Adolescents with Mindfulness

Improve Autism in Adolescents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“mindfulness has emerged as a way of treating children and adolescents with conditions ranging from ADHD to anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, depression and stress. And the benefits are proving to be tremendous.” Juliann Garey

 

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disability that tends to appear during early childhood and affect the individual throughout their lifetime. It affects a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others, delays learning of language, makes eye contact or holding a conversation difficult, impairs reasoning and planning, narrows and intensifies interests, produces poor motor skills and sensory sensitivities, and is frequently associated with sleep and gastrointestinal problems. ASD is a serious disorder that impairs the individual’s ability to lead independent lives including complete an education, enter into relationships or find and hold employment. Mindfulness training has been shown to be helpful in treating ASD.

 

Providing care for an adolescent with autism can be particularly challenging. These children’s behavior is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors. These make it difficult to relate to the child and receive the kind of positive feelings that often help to support caregiving. The challenges of caring for a child with autism require that the parent be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive to their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. And it improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

In today’s Research News article “MYmind: a Concurrent Group-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Youth with Autism and Their Parents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6945985/), Salem-Guirgis and colleagues recruited youths (aged 12-23 years) with autism and their parents. The youths received a mindfulness training program (MYmind) employing elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and yoga while the parents received a mindful parenting program. Training occurred in 9 weekly, 1.5 hour, sessions combined with daily home practice. The youths were measured before and after training and 10 weeks later for autism symptoms, mindfulness, emotion regulation, and mental health including adaptive skills, behavioral symptoms index, externalizing problems, and internalizing problems. Parents were measured for mindfulness, depression, anxiety, stress, and mindful parenting.

 

They found that following the program and at the 10-week follow-up the parents had significant increases in mindfulness and mindful parenting. After the program and at follow-up the parents reported significant improvements in emotion regulation, social motivation, and autism symptoms in the youths, including significant decreases in restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Finally, the youths had significant improvements in emotion regulation, especially the ability to experience positive emotions.

 

It should be noted that there wasn’t a control group. So, conclusions must be tempered with the understanding that there may be confounding factors at work here. Nevertheless, the results suggest that the MYmind program may be effective in improving autism symptoms, behavior, and emotion regulation in autistic youths and improve mindfulness and mindful parenting in their parents. This may be very helpful in improving the youth and the family system needed to deal with autism and markedly improve the lives of the youths and their parents. This justifies performing a large randomized controlled clinical trial in the future.

 

So, improve autism in adolescents with mindfulness.

 

many parents of children with ASD who engage in a mindfulness-based practice see a decrease in their child’s aggression and challenging behaviors and an improvement in the child’s overall functioning.“ – Katy Oberle

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Salem-Guirgis, S., Albaum, C., Tablon, P., Riosa, P. B., Nicholas, D. B., Drmic, I. E., & Weiss, J. A. (2019). MYmind: a Concurrent Group-Based Mindfulness Intervention for Youth with Autism and Their Parents. Mindfulness, 10(9), 1730–1743. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12671-019-01107-9

 

Abstract

Objectives

The current study evaluated the use of MYmind, a concurrent mindfulness program in which youth with autism and their parents simultaneously receive group specific mindfulness training. Youth with autism can experience emotional and behavioral challenges, which are associated with parental stress. Mindfulness-based programs are emerging as a promising support for these challenges, for both children and parents. While two studies have documented the use of concurrent parent-child programs, neither involve control conditions.

Methods

Using a within-subject repeated measures design with a baseline component, 23 parent-child dyads were assessed on mindfulness, mental health, and youth emotion regulation and autism symptoms. Participants also rated their perceived improvement on a social validity questionnaire.

Results

There was improvement in youth autism symptoms, emotion regulation, and adaptive skills, and in parent reports of their own mindfulness following the program. There was also some indication of a waitlist effect for parent mental health, but not for other outcome variables. Participant feedback was mainly positive.

Conclusions

MYmind has the potential to contribute to emotion regulation and adaptability in youth with autism, and mindfulness in parents, though more rigorous controlled trials are needed.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6945985/

 

Be Better Parents with Online Mindful Parenting

Be Better Parents with Online Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Managing our own emotions and behaviors is the key to teaching kids how to manage theirs. . . Unfortunately, when you’re stressed out, exhausted, and overwhelmed, you can’t be available for your child.” – Jill Cedar

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children.

 

The vast majority of the mindfulness training techniques, however, require a trained therapist. This results in costs that many parents can’t afford. In addition, the participants must be available to attend multiple sessions at particular scheduled times that may or may not be compatible with parents’ busy schedules and at locations that may not be convenient. As an alternative, mindfulness trainings over the internet have been developed. These have tremendous advantages in decreasing costs, making training schedules much more flexible, and eliminating the need to go repeatedly to specific locations. But the question arises as to the effectiveness of these online trainings in reducing parental stress and improving parenting.

 

In today’s Research News article “A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating an Online Mindful Parenting Training for Mothers With Elevated Parental Stress.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650592/), Potharst and colleagues recruited mothers who were high in perceived stress and reported parenting problems. The mothers were randomly assigned to either receive an online mindful parenting program or to a wait list control condition. The online mindful parenting program consisted of 8 weekly session with instructions and exercises on meditation, mindful parenting, and self-compassion. They were measured before and after the training and 10 weeks later after the wait list group had received the intervention for parental stress, overreactive parenting discipline, mindful parenting, self-compassion, anxiety, and depression. In addition, both parents rated the child for child aggressive behavior and emotional reactivity.

 

They found that the online mindful parenting program in comparison to baseline and the wait-list control group produced significant reductions in anxiety, depression, overreactive parenting discipline, parental role restriction and child emotional reactivity and significant increases in self-compassion.

 

These results suggest that an online mindful parenting program can be successfully implemented and that it significantly improves the psychological health of the mothers, their parenting, and the child’s behavior. Mindful parenting has been previously shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The contribution of the present study is in demonstrating that mindful parenting can be successfully conducted online with stressed mothers. This greatly increases the ability to roll out this effective program to a much wider audience at low cost.

 

Parenting is difficult and stressful enough under the best of conditions. It is encouraging to find a relatively simple, convenient and inexpensive program that can help the parents to become better parents and to ease their psychological burden.

 

So, be better parents with online mindful parenting.

 

It seems there’s no one right way to parent mindfully. Happily, there are many right ways. Sometimes “It’s as simple as practicing paying full attention to our kids, with openness and compassion, and maybe that’s enough at any moment.” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Potharst, E. S., Boekhorst, M., Cuijlits, I., van Broekhoven, K., Jacobs, A., Spek, V., … Pop, V. (2019). A Randomized Control Trial Evaluating an Online Mindful Parenting Training for Mothers With Elevated Parental Stress. Frontiers in psychology, 10, 1550. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01550

 

Abstract

Objectives

The prevalence of maternal stress in early years of parenting can negatively impact child development. Therefore, there is a need for an early intervention that is easily accessible and low in costs. The current study examined the effectiveness of an 8-session online mindful parenting training for mothers with elevated levels of parental stress.

Methods

A total of 76 mothers were randomized into an intervention (n = 43) or a waitlist control group (n = 33). The intervention group completed pretest assessment prior to the online intervention. Participants completed a post intervention assessment after the 10 weeks intervention and a follow-up assessment 10 weeks later. The waitlist group completed waitlist assessment, followed by a 10-week waitlist period. After these 10 weeks, a pretest assessment took place, after which the waitlist group participants also started the intervention, followed by the posttest assessment. Participating mothers completed questionnaires on parental stress (parent-child interaction problems, parenting problems, parental role restriction) and other maternal (over-reactive parenting discipline, self-compassion, symptoms of depression and anxiety) and child outcomes (aggressive behavior and emotional reactivity) while the non-participating parents (father or another mother) were asked to also report on child outcomes.

Results

The online mindful parenting intervention was shown to be significantly more effective at a 95% level than a waitlist period with regard to over-reactive parenting discipline and symptoms of depression and anxiety (small and medium effect sizes), and significantly more effective at a 90% level with regard to self-compassion, and mother-rated child aggressive behavior and child emotional reactivity (small effect sizes). The primary outcome, parental stress, was found to have a 95% significant within-group effect only for the subscale parental role restriction (delayed small effect size improvement at follow-up). No significant improvements on child outcomes were found for the non-participating parent.

Conclusion

To conclude, the results provide first evidence that an online mindful parenting training may be an easily accessible and valuable intervention for mothers with elevated levels of parental stress.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6650592/

 

Reduce Parenting Stress and Improve Youth Psychological Health with Mindfulness

Reduce Parenting Stress and Improve Youth Psychological Health with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. Mindfulness is about letting go of guilt and shame about the past and focusing on right now. It’s about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it.” – Jill Ceder

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The research is accumulating. So, it is important to review and summarize what has been learned.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Effect of Mindfulness Interventions for Parents on Parenting Stress and Youth Psychological Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562566/), Burgdorf and colleagues review, summarize, and perform a meta-analysis of the published research studies on the effects of mindfulness training on parents and children. They found 25 published studies.

 

They report that the published research studies found that following mindfulness training there were moderate to large reductions in parental stress levels. They also found that parental mindfulness training improved their children with significant improvements observed in internalizing and externalizing symptoms, in higher level thinking ability (cognitive domains), and in their social function. In addition, the greater the reductions in parental stress levels reported, the greater the improvements in youth cognitive abilities and externalizing symptoms. Hence, mindfulness training for parents affected the family positively, reducing the perceived stress of parenting and improving their children’s psychological and social abilities. Mindfulness training would appear to have very positive benefits for parents and children.

 

So, reduce parenting stress and improve youth psychological health with mindfulness.

 

“It seems there’s no one right way to parent mindfully. Happily, there are many right ways. . . And sometimes, “It’s as simple as practicing paying full attention to our kids, with openness and compassion, and maybe that’s enough at any moment.” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Burgdorf, V., Szabó, M., & Abbott, M. J. (2019). The Effect of Mindfulness Interventions for Parents on Parenting Stress and Youth Psychological Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. Frontiers in Psychology, 10, 1336. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.01336

 

Abstract

Background: The psychological well-being of parents and children is compromised in families characterized by greater parenting stress. As parental mindfulness is associated with lower parenting stress, a growing number of studies have investigated whether mindfulness interventions can improve outcomes for families. This systematic review and meta-analysis evaluates the effectiveness of mindfulness interventions for parents, in reducing parenting stress and improving youth psychological outcomes.

Methods: A literature search for peer-reviewed articles and dissertations was conducted in accordance with PRISMA guidelines in the PsycInfo, Medline, PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and ProQuest Dissertations & Theses databases. Studies were included if they reported on a mindfulness-based intervention delivered in person to parents with the primary aim of reducing parenting stress or improving youth psychological outcomes.

Results: Twenty-five independent studies were included in the review. Eighteen studies used a single group design and six were randomized controlled trials. Within-groups, meta-analysis indicated a small, post-intervention reduction in parenting stress (g = 0.34), growing to a moderate reduction at 2 month follow-up (g = 0.53). Overall, there was a small improvement in youth outcomes (g = 0.27). Neither youth age or clinical status, nor time in mindfulness training, moderated parenting stress or overall youth outcome effects. Youth outcomes were not moderated by intervention group attendees. Change in parenting stress predicted change in youth externalizing and cognitive effects, but not internalizing effects. In controlled studies, parenting stress reduced more in mindfulness groups than control groups (g = 0.44). Overall, risk of bias was assessed as serious.

Conclusions: Mindfulness interventions for parents may reduce parenting stress and improve youth psychological functioning. While improvements in youth externalizing and cognitive outcomes may be explained by reductions in parenting stress, it appears that other parenting factors may contribute to improvements in youth internalizing outcomes. Methodological weaknesses in the reviewed literature prevent firm conclusions from being drawn regarding effectiveness. Future research should address these methodological issues before mindfulness interventions for parents are recommended as an effective treatment option for parents or their children.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6562566/

 

Improve Mindfulness and Parenting in Military Mothers with Mindfulness Training

Improve Mindfulness and Parenting in Military Mothers with Mindfulness Training

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Being a mindful parent means that you pay attention to what you’re feeling. It does not mean that you will not get angry or upset. Of course you will feel negative emotions, but acting on them mindlessly is what compromises our parenting.” – Jill Cedar

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. The need for mindful parenting is greater in military families where parents may periodically be away on deployment. So, it is important to further investigate the effects of mindfulness training on military families.

 

In today’s Research News article “Do Less Mindful Mothers Show Better Parenting via Improvements in Trait Mindfulness Following a Military Parent Training Program?” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6491856/), Zhang and colleagues recruited military mothers who either themselves or their partner had been deployed. They were randomly assigned to receive services as usual (control condition) or to receive a 14-week program of training in parenting, mindfulness, and emotion coaching of children. They were measured before and 1 and 2 years after the intervention for post-traumatic stress, negative life experiences, mindfulness, coping with children’s negative emotions, parental efficacy, and self-reported and observed parenting skills.

 

They found that mothers who received the training and were low in mindfulness to begin with had significantly greater increases in mindfulness 1 but not 2 years later than the control mothers or mothers who were high in mindfulness at the start. They also found that the higher the mother’s level of mindfulness at the 1-year follow-up the higher their levels of self-reported parenting skills, locus of control, and coping with children’s negative emotions at the 2-year follow-up.

 

These finding suggest that training in parenting skills and mindfulness can produce long lasting improvements in the mindfulness and parenting skills of military mothers after either they or their partner were deployed. This was especially true for mothers who were low in mindfulness to begin with. The study lacks and active control. But it is unlikely that placebo or experimenter bias effects last for up to 2 years. So, it is likely that the training was responsible for the effects. It would be interesting in future research to investigate the impact of the training on the children’s health, well-being, and behavior.

 

So, improve mindfulness and parenting in military mothers with mindfulness training.

 

With practice, you’ll find yourself calmer most of the time. Your child will be more cooperative, just because you’re different. And when you’re in a more peaceful state, you’ll find that some of the challenges with your child simply begin to melt away.” – Aha Parenting

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Zhang, N., Zhang, J., & Gewirtz, A. H. (2019). Do Less Mindful Mothers Show Better Parenting via Improvements in Trait Mindfulness Following a Military Parent Training Program? Frontiers in psychology, 10, 909. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00909

 

Abstract

Parental deployment to war poses risks to children’s healthy adjustment. The After Deployment Adaptive Parenting Tools (ADAPT) program was developed for post-deployed military families to promote children’s well-being through improving effective parenting. ADAPT combines behavior management with emotion socialization skills for parents, using brief mindfulness practices to strengthen emotion regulation. We used a three-wave longitudinal, experimental design to examine whether ADAPT improved parental trait mindfulness (PTM), and whether the effect was moderated by baseline PTM. We also investigated whether improved PTM was associated with behavioral, cognitive, and emotional aspects of parenting such as self-reported parental locus of control (PLOC), self-reported parental emotion socialization (PES), self-reported and observed behavioral parenting skills. We analyzed data from a randomized controlled trial (RCT) of the ADAPT, with a focus on mothers (n = 313) who were either deployed (17.9%) or non-deployed and partnered with a husband who had been recently deployed to Iraq and/or Afghanistan and returned (82.1%). Families identified a 4–13-year-old target child (Mean age = 8.34, SD = 2.48; 54.3% girls) and were randomized into ADAPT (a group-based 14-week program) or a control condition (services as usual). At baseline, 1-year, and 2-year follow-up, PTM, PLOC, PES, and parenting skills were self-reported, whereas home-based family interactions involving parents and the child were video-taped and assessed for observed behavioral parenting skills such as discipline and problem-solving using a theory-based coding system. Results showed that mothers with lower baseline PTM reported higher PTM at 1-year while mothers with higher baseline PTM reported lower PTM at 1-year. PTM at 1-year was associated with improved self-reported parenting skills and supportive PES at 2-year, as well as indirectly associated with improved PLOC and reduced nonsupportive PES at 2-year through PTM at 2-year. No associations between PTM and observed parenting skills were detected. We discuss the implications of these findings for incorporating mindfulness practices into behavioral parenting interventions and for personalized prevention considering parents’ pre-existing levels of trait mindfulness as a predictor of intervention responsivity.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6491856/

 

Shift Work Increases Stress, Psychopathology, and Family Conflict and Less Mindful Parenting

Shift Work Increases Stress, Psychopathology, and Family Conflict and Less Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

When you work at night, you’re cut off from friends and family, you have little social support, your diet may not be as healthy.” – David Ballard

 

Work is very important for our health and well-being. We spend approximately 25% of our adult lives at work. How we spend that time is immensely important for our psychological and physical health. Indeed, the work environment has even become an important part of our social lives, with friendships and leisure time activities often attached to the people we work with. Our work situation can have profound effects on the family and child rearing practices.

 

It has been shown that low workload and high sleep quality are important to high levels of mindfulness during work which, in turn leads to many benefits for the job and the employee. Keeping workload at a reasonable level should improve both sleep quality and mindfulness which should, in turn, promote better work. It should also promote better family life and more mindful parenting. But there is actually very little systematic research on the effects of the work environment and schedule on the individual’s family life and mindfulness.

 

In today’s Research News article “Work-Family Conflict and Mindful Parenting: The Mediating Role of Parental Psychopathology Symptoms and Parenting Stress in a Sample of Portuguese Employed Parents.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A), Moreira and colleagues recruited parents of children of any age up to 19 years online and had them complete an online questionnaire measuring type of employment, work schedule, hours worked per week, work-family conflict, anxiety, depression, parenting stress, and mindful parenting, including subscales of listening with full attention, compassion for the child,  non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning, self-regulation in parenting, and emotional awareness of the child.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindful parenting, including each of the 5 subscales, the lower the levels of work-family conflict, anxiety, depression, and parenting stress. They also found that parents with a shift work schedule and also parents working full-time had significantly higher levels of work-family conflict. On the other hand, parents with flexible schedules had significantly higher levels of mindful parenting. In addition, path modelling revealed that higher levels of work-family conflict were indirectly associated with lower levels of mindful parenting through anxiety and depression symptoms and parenting stress. In other words, work-family conflict heightened anxiety and depression symptoms and parenting stress which in turn lowered mindful parenting.

 

These results are interesting but correlational, so no definitive conclusions regarding causation can be reached. But the results suggest that work scheduling has a large association with the mental health of the parents and as a result with mindful parenting. Shift-work is associated with greater parental mental health issues and lower mindful parenting while flexible work schedules have the opposite effect, being associated with better parental mental health and better mindful parenting.

 

There is a need in future research to manipulate work scheduling to observe its causal impact. But tentatively, the current research suggests that companies should investigate the implementation of more flexible work schedules for their employees. The improvement of their mental health and the consequent improvement of family life would likely make the employees, healthier, happier, and more productive and loyal to their employer. In addition, the improved mindful parenting would likely improve the well-being of the children.

 

We leave decisions about flexibility and the organization of work to individual companies, which means that the decisions of first-line managers in large part create our national family policy.”- Fran Sussner Rogers

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Moreira H, Fonseca A, Caiado B and Canavarro MC (2019) Work-Family Conflict and Mindful Parenting: The Mediating Role of Parental Psychopathology Symptoms and Parenting Stress in a Sample of Portuguese Employed Parents. Front. Psychol. 10:635. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635

 

Aims: The aims of the current study are to examine whether parents’ work-family conflict, emotional distress (anxiety/depressive symptoms and parenting stress) and mindful parenting vary according to the type of employment (full-time, part-time, and occasional), the type of work schedule (fixed, flexible, and shift), and the number of working hours per week and to explore whether parental emotional distress mediates the association between work-family conflict and mindful parenting dimensions.

Methods: A sample of 335 employed parents (86.3% mothers) of children and adolescents between the ages of 1 and 19 years old completed a sociodemographic form and measures of work-family conflict, anxiety/depression symptoms, parenting stress, and mindful parenting. The differences in study variables among types of employment, work schedules and number of weekly working hours were analyzed. A path model was tested through structural equation modeling in AMOS to explore the indirect effect of work-family conflict on mindful parenting dimensions through anxiety, depression and parenting stress. The invariance of the path model across children’s age groups (toddlers, preschool and grade school children, and adolescents) and parents’ gender was also examined.

Results: Parents with a shift work schedule, working full-time and 40 h or more per week, presented significantly higher levels of work-family conflict than those with a fixed or flexible schedule, working part-time and less than 40 h per week, respectively. Parents with a flexible work schedule presented significantly higher levels of self-regulation in parenting and of non-judgmental acceptance of parental functioning than parents with a shift work schedule. Higher levels of work-family conflict were associated with lower levels of mindful parenting dimensions through higher levels of anxiety/depression symptoms and parenting stress. The model was invariant across children’s age groups and parents’ gender.

Discussion: Work-family conflict is associated with poorer parental mental health and with less mindful parenting. Workplaces should implement family-friendly policies (e.g., flexible work arrangements) that help parents successfully balance the competing responsibilities and demands of their work and family roles. These policies could have a critical impact on the mental health of parents and, consequently, on their parental practices.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00635/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A

 

Improve Children’s Generosity with Mindful Parenting

Improve Children’s Generosity with Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent,” – Justin Parent

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. The challenges of parenting require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction.

 

Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child. Mindful parenting has been shown to have positive benefits for both the parents and the children. So, it is important to further investigate the nature of the effects of mindful parenting on the behavior of children.

 

In today’s Research News article “The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A), Wong and colleagues recruited mothers and children who were 4 to 6 years old. The mothers completed a measure of mindful parenting. The children were asked to select a single toy from a chest containing a number of toys. They were rated for time to decision making, decision-related stress, doubt/indecisiveness, and confirmation seeking. The children were also examined for how many stickers that they were willing to share with a stuffed bunny character after the bunny shared some with them.

 

They found that there were no significant relationships between mindful parenting by the mother and any measure of the child’s decision making. But there was a significant relationship between mindful parenting and the child’s sharing behavior such that the greater the mother’s mindful parenting, the greater the sharing behavior by the child.

 

These are interesting findings that mothers who parent mindfully have children who share more generously. It is not known why this would be true. But it can be speculated that mindful parents are themselves more generous toward the child which affects the child’s generosity. Regardless, this higher sharing may result in greater prosocial behaviors as the children grow into adulthood. This is another example of the positive effects of mindful parenting.

 

So, improve children’s generosity with mindful parenting.

 

“Mindful mornings may be less efficient, but they’re more pleasurable. ‘What’s happening right now is all there is. Why make everybody unhappy? If we’re five minutes late to preschool it doesn’t change anything. What changes things is the frustration, and the stress that builds up and then everything unravels.’” – Juliann Garey

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Wong K, Hicks LM, Seuntjens TG, Trentacosta CJ, Hendriksen THG, Zeelenberg M and van den Heuvel MI (2019) The Role of Mindful Parenting in Individual and Social Decision-Making in Children. Front. Psychol. 10:550. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550

 

Children are confronted with an increasing amount of choices every day, which can be stressful. Decision-making skills may be one of the most important “21st century skills” that children need to master to ensure success. Many aspects of decision-making, such as emotion regulation during stressful situations, develop in the context of caregiver-child interactions. This study examined whether mindful parenting predicts children’s individual and social decision-making. The current study included 63 mother-child dyads from The Netherlands (Child Mage  = 5.11, SD = 0.88, 50.8% girls). Mothers completed the Dutch version of the Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale (IM-P). A “Choice Task” was developed to measure individual decision-making skills, and a “Sharing Task” was created to measure social decision-making in young children. Higher maternal mindful parenting significantly predicted more sharing after controlling for covariates (child age, sex, SES, maternal education level; Wald = 4.505, p = 0.034). No main effect of maternal mindful parenting was found for any of the individual decision-making measures. These findings suggest that mindful parenting supports children’s social decision-making. Future research should investigate if the combination of mindful parenting and children’s early decision-making skills predict key developmental outcomes.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00550/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A

 

Reduce Cell Phone Dependence in Adolescents with Mindfulness

Reduce Cell Phone Dependence in Adolescents with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“With its emphasis on harnessing attention with intention (i.e. redirecting it on purpose), mindfulness—with all its scientifically-established health and well-being benefits—has the potential to keep us from drifting hopelessly away from one another. Perhaps it can keep us connected, even though we might only be feet away from one another as we tap out texts, emails ,or check up on our “social” life on social media.” – Mitch Abblett

 

Over the last few decades cell phones have gone from a rare curiosity to the dominant mode of electronic communications. They have also expanded well beyond a telephone and have become powerful hand-held computers known as smartphones. In fact, they have become a dominant force in daily life, occupying large amounts of time and attention. We have become seriously attached. They have become so dominant that, for many, the thought of being without it produces anxiety. Many people have become addicted. It is estimated that about 12% of the population is truly “addicted,” developing greater levels of “tolerance” and experiencing “withdrawal” and distress when deprived of them.

 

Recent surveys and studies paint a vivid picture of our cell phone addiction: we feel a surge of panic when we are separated from our beloved cell phones. This phenomenon is so new that there is little understanding of its nature and causes. In today’s Research News article “.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00598/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A), Li and colleagues examine the relationships of parental attachment, alexithymia, and mindfulness with cell phone dependence in adolescents. They recruited adolescents (average age 14.9 years) and had them complete scales measuring parental attachment, alexithymia, mindfulness, and mobile phone dependence.

 

They found that the higher the levels of mindfulness and parental attachment the lower the levels of mobile phone dependence and that the higher the levels of alexithymia the lower the levels of parental attachment and the higher the levels of mobile phone dependence. In a mediational analysis they found that the relationship between parental attachment and mobile phone dependence was moderated by mindfulness such that the higher the levels of mindfulness the greater the impact of parental attachment on lowering the levels of mobile phone dependence. Similarly, they found that the relationship between alexithymia and mobile phone dependence was moderated by mindfulness such that the higher the levels of mindfulness the less the impact of alexithymia on heightening the levels of mobile phone dependence.

 

These findings suggest that youth with secure attachment to their parents become less dependent on their mobile phones and that this association is strengthened by mindfulness. In other words, mindful youths are more highly impacted by their attachment to their parents. Alexithymia “is characterized by reduced capacity to identify, analyze and express emotions, restricted imagination, and an externally oriented thinking.” Hence, the findings also suggest that youth with poor emotion regulation become more attached to the mobile phones and that mindful youths are less impacted by their lack of emotion regulation. So, mindfulness is associated with lower dependence on mobile phones by moderating the associations of parental attachment and alexithymia on mobile phone dependence.

 

Since mobile phone dependence is becoming more and more of a problem it is important to find antidotes. Mindfulness may be just such an antidote. The present results, though, are correlational and causation cannot be determined. So, it remains to be seen if mindfulness training can, in fact, alter the relationships of parental attachment and alexithymia with mobile phone dependence. This will be important to determine in the future as mindfulness training may be used to lower the dependence of youths on mobile phones and thereby improve their connections with other people and their environment, improving their well-being.

 

So, reduce cell phone dependence in adolescents with mindfulness.

 

“To say we are addicted to our phones is not merely to point out that we use them a lot. It signals a darker notion: that we use them to keep our own selves at bay. Because of our phones, we may find ourselves incapable of sitting alone in a room with our own thoughts floating freely in our own heads, daring to wander into the past and the future, allowing ourselves to feel pain, desire, regret and excitement.” – Stephany Tlalka

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Li X and Hao C (2019) The Relationship Between Parental Attachment and Mobile Phone Dependence Among Chinese Rural Adolescents: The Role of Alexithymia and Mindfulness. Front. Psychol. 10:598. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00598

 

Mobile phone has experienced a significant increase in popularity among adolescents in recent years. Findings indicate dependence on mobile phone is related to poor parent-child relationship. However, previous research on mobile phone dependence (MPD) is scant and mainly focus on adult samples. In this view, the present study investigated the association between parental attachment and MPD as well as its influence mechanism, in sample of adolescents in rural China. Data were collected from three middle schools in rural areas of Jiangxi and Hubei Province (N = 693, 46.46% female, Mage = 14.88, SD = 1.77). Participants completed the Inventory of Parent and Peer Attachment (IPPA), the twenty-item Toronto alexithymia scale (TAS-20), the Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS) and the Mobile Phone Addiction Index Scale (MPAI). Among the results, parental attachment negatively predicted MPD and alexithymia were exerting partial mediation effect between parental attachment and MPD. Further, mindfulness acted as moderator of the relationship between alexithymia and MPD: The negative impact of alexithymia on MPD was weakened under the condition of high level of mindfulness. Knowledge of this mechanism could be useful for understanding adolescents’ MPD in terms of the interaction of multiple factors.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.00598/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_943967_69_Psycho_20190326_arts_A

 

Improve Adolescent’s Self-Compassion and Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindful Parenting

Improve Adolescent’s Self-Compassion and Reduce Emotional Eating with Mindful Parenting

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

Interestingly, parents who simply had higher trait mindfulness did not see significantly better outcomes for their kids, suggesting that being mindful and being a mindful parent may be two different things.” – Jill Suttie

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. These challenges require that the parents be able to deal with stress, to regulate their own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child.

 

Obesity has become an epidemic in the industrialized world. In the U.S. the incidence of obesity, defined as a Body Mass Index (BMI) of 30 or above has more than doubled over the last 35 years to currently around 35% of the population, while two thirds of the population are considered overweight or obese (BMI > 25). Sadly, children and adolescents have not been spared with 1 in 5 school age children and young people (6 to 19 years) classified as obese. This can be particularly troubling to adolescents who are very sensitive regarding their bodies and appearance and can be the victim of ridicule or shaming by peers.

 

One helpful method to reduce intake and help to control body weight is mindful eating. It involves paying attention to eating while it is occurring, including attention to the sight, smell, flavors, and textures of food, to the process of chewing and may help reduce intake. Indeed, high levels of mindfulness are associated with lower levels of obesity and mindfulness training has been shown to reduce binge eating, emotional eating, and external eating. In addition, mindfulness has been shown to improve the individual’s ability to respond adaptively to emotions. Hence, mindfulness may be an antidote to emotional eating. It is not known if mindful parenting can reduce emotional eating in adolescents.

 

In today’s Research News article “Is Mindful Parenting Associated With Adolescents’ Emotional Eating? The Mediating Role of Adolescents’ Self-Compassion and Body Shame.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_812127_69_Psycho_20181030_arts_A ), Gouveia and colleagues recruited parent-adolescent dyads of mother or father and their 12-18 year old adolescent. The parents were measured for body size and mindful parenting. The adolescents were measured for body size, self-compassion, body shame, and emotional eating. The dyads were separated based upon the Body Mass Index (BMI) of the adolescents into normal weight and overweight and obese (BMI > 85th percentile) groups. They then performed a regression analysis of the data.

 

They found that the best fitting model of the data indicated that mindful parenting of the adolescents by the parents was associated indirectly with reduced emotional eating by the adolescents. The indirect path indicated that mindful parenting was associated with increased adolescent self-compassion which was in turn associated both with reduced emotional eating and reduced feelings of shame concerning their bodies which in turn was associated with reduced emotional eating. They also found that the facet of mindful parenting that was most associated with the benefits was the parents’ compassion for the child.

 

These results are correlational, so no conclusions regarding causation can be inferred. The results, however, are suggestive that the parents’ compassion for the child affects the child’s feelings of compassion toward itself which helps the child overcome feeling of shame about its body, all of which contribute to reduced eating in response to emotions. It remains for future research to determine if promoting parental compassion toward the adolescent may cause positive change in the adolescent, improving self-compassion, reducing body shame, and in turn reducing emotional eating.

 

So, improve adolescent’s self-compassion and reduce emotional eating with mindful parenting.

 

“Mindful parenting means that you bring your conscious attention to what’s happening, instead of getting hijacked by your emotions. . . It’s about accepting whatever is going on, rather than trying to change it or ignore it. Being a mindful parent means that you pay attention to what you’re feeling. It does not mean that you will not get angry or upset. Of course you will feel negative emotions, but acting on them mindlessly is what compromises our parenting.” – Parent Co

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Gouveia MJ, Canavarro MC and Moreira H (2018) Is Mindful Parenting Associated With Adolescents’ Emotional Eating? The Mediating Role of Adolescents’ Self-Compassion and Body Shame. Front. Psychol. 9:2004. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004

 

This study aimed to explore whether parents’ mindful parenting skills were associated with adolescents’ emotional eating through adolescents’ levels of self-compassion and body shame. The sample included 572 dyads composed of a mother or a father and his/her child (12–18 years old), with normal weight (BMI = 5–85th percentile) or with overweight/obesity with or without nutritional treatment (BMI ≥ 85th percentile) according to the WHO Child Growth Standards. Parents completed self-report measures of mindful parenting (Interpersonal Mindfulness in Parenting Scale), and adolescents completed measures of self-compassion (Self-Compassion Scale-Short Form), body shame (Experience of Shame Scale), and emotional eating (Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire). Two path models, one with the total score for mindful parenting and the other with its dimensions, were tested in AMOS. Mindful parenting, specifically the dimension of compassion for the child, was indirectly associated with emotional eating through adolescents’ self-compassion (point estimate = −0.27, p = 0.03, CI 95% [−0.61, −0.06]) and through self-compassion and body shame sequentially (point estimate = −0.19, p = 0.03, CI 95% [−0.37, −0.05]). The path model was invariant across weight groups but not across adolescents’ sex (the indirect effects were significant among girls only). This study provides a novel comprehensive model of how mindful parenting, especially the dimension of compassion for the child, can be associated with adolescents’ emotional eating behaviors by suggesting a potential sequence of mechanisms that may explain this association. This study suggests the beneficial effect of both mindful parenting and adolescents’ self-compassion skills for adolescent girls struggling with feelings of body shame and emotional eating behaviors.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02004/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_812127_69_Psycho_20181030_arts_A

 

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

Improve Parenting and Reduce Stress with Mindfulness

 

By John M. de Castro, Ph.D.

 

“We can practice ‘mindful listening’ by simply being present for the other person, and giving them space to talk without imposing our own agenda. As one person in a family consciously practicing mindfulness in this way, you may find that you are modeling it for the others, and quietly encouraging them to listen with greater attention and empathy.” – Tessa Watt

 

Raising children, parenting, is very rewarding. But, it can also be challenging. Children test parents frequently. They test the boundaries of their freedom and the depth of parental love. They demand attention and seem to especially when parental attention is needed elsewhere. They don’t always conform to parental dictates or aspirations for their behavior. They are often affected more by peers, for good or evil, than by parents. It is the parents challenge to control themselves, not overreact, and act appropriately in the face of strong emotions. Meeting these challenges becomes more and more important with adolescents, as here are the greatest struggles for independence and the potential for damaging behaviors, particularly, alcohol, drugs, and sexual behavior.

 

own emotions, and to be sensitive and attentive their child. These skills are exactly those that are developed in mindfulness training. It improves the psychological and physiological responses to stress. It improves emotion regulation. It improves the ability to maintain attention and focus in the face of high levels of distraction. Mindful parenting involves the parents having emotional awareness of themselves and compassion for the child and having the skills to pay full attention to the child in the present moment, to accept parenting non-judgmentally and be emotionally non-reactive to the child.

 

In today’s Research News article “Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile.” (See summary below or view the full text of the study at: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A ),   Corthorn examined the effects of mindfulness training on parenting. They recruited healthy adult mothers of preschool children (2-5 years of age). They formed a no treatment control group and a mindfulness training group which received an 8 week program of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) that was adapted for mothers. They met for 2 hours per week for discussion and practiced mindful meditation and yoga. They were also instructed to practice at home. Both groups were measured before and after training and 2 months later for mindfulness, parenting stress, anxiety, depression, and mindful parenting, including subscales measuring listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, non-judgmental acceptance of self, and empathy and acceptance for the child.

 

They found in comparison to the control group and the baseline that after mindfulness training there was a significant reduction in parental stress and significant increases in mindfulness and mindful parenting including the subscales measuring non-judgmental acceptance of self as a mother, listening with full attention, self-regulation in the parenting relationship, and empathy and acceptance for the child. These improvements were maintained over the two months follow-up period. They also found that after training but not 2 months later there were significant decreases in overall stress and parental stress subscales of “Parental Distress” and “Difficult Child”.

 

These are interesting results that suggest that the Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) adapted for mothers produced significant and lasting improvements in the mothers’ mindfulness and parenting skills and reduced their stress levels. It has been clearly shown by other research that mindfulness training reduces the psychological and physiological responses to stress, and improves parenting  Future research should investigate the effects of the mothers’ participation on the well-being of their children. But, it is clear that mindfulness training is beneficial for the mothers. The mothers are better able to listen to, empathize with, and accept their children and these benefits would predict greater psychological health in the children.

 

So, improve parenting and reduce stress with mindfulness.

 

“As parents, perhaps the most precious thing we can give our children is the gift of our full presence, in the moment. This is the deep intention and invitation for parents as they make space for mindfulness practice in their lives. Mindful parenting takes to heart the deep truth that we can only give to our children what we have given first and fundamentally to ourselves.” – Lisa Kring

 

CMCS – Center for Mindfulness and Contemplative Studies

 

This and other Contemplative Studies posts are also available on Google+ https://plus.google.com/106784388191201299496/posts and on Twitter @MindfulResearch

 

Study Summary

 

Corthorn C (2018) Benefits of Mindfulness for Parenting in Mothers of Preschoolers in Chile. Front. Psychol. 9:1443. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443

 

The present study evaluated whether mothers’ participation in a mindfulness-based intervention led to statistically significant differences in their general levels of stress, depression, anxiety, parental stress, mindful parenting, and mindfulness. Forty-three mothers of preschool-age children participated, 21 in the intervention group and 22 in the comparison group. Scores of mental health variables were within normal ranges before the intervention. All of the participants worked at the Universidad Católica de Chile (Catholic University of Chile), and their children attended university preschool centers. Repeated measured ANOVA analysis were performed considering differences between gain scores of each group, rather than post-treatment group differences. This was chosen in order to approach initial differences in some of the measures (mindfulness, mindful parenting, and stress) probably due to self-selection. As predicted, the intervention group showed a significant reduction in general and parental stress and an increase in mindful parenting and general mindfulness variables when compared with the comparison group. Effect sizes ranged from small to medium, with the highest Cohen’s d in stress (general and parental) and mindful parenting. In most cases, the significant change was observed between pre- and post-test measures. Follow-up measures indicated that the effects were maintained after 2 months.

https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2018.01443/full?utm_source=F-AAE&utm_medium=EMLF&utm_campaign=MRK_755938_69_Psycho_20180904_arts_A