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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

8 Habits of Highly Effective Parents - Be Present

Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The first Habit of Highly Effective Parents is to be present and mindful. There is a Zen saying, that I often quote; 'When walking walk, when eating eat'. But we can extend this to say, 'When Parenting, parent'.

What I mean to say is when you are there with your kids put away the phone, the computer. Simply put away everything and just be there. How can we expect our children to respect and respond properly if we can't treat them with the same respect. I am sure that we all know someone that just can't be present in a conversation. They, often in the middle of your sentence, pull out their phone to check a message or an email. If it bothers you don't do it to your children.

The respect factor aside, this small habit also helps us to focus on the non-verbal cues that our children show to us. Are they really OK, when they tell us that or are they worried? Now I am not going to list a set of these cues because each kid is different. But you know your children and should be able to read them.

I think that you will be pleasantly surprised that if you begin to really pay attention to them that they will begin to pay attention back. This is especially true for teenagers but can apply to all ages.

And like most of these habits that I will be talking about, being present will apply to more then just your parenting. If you can stay focused on a task, like your job, then you will be able to do it better.

As we go forward from here, try a simple exercise, either with your kids or at some other time. Better yet do it at both occasions. Turn off the TV, the radio, the phone and yes even the computer. Then sit down to do one thing and one thing only. Whether it is write for business or pleasure or to just play with your kids or any other singular task. You will find that after you get started that time will cease to be. In fact you may find that hours have gone by in what feels like minutes.

We oftentimes experience this in ritual. The sole focus on ritual tasks shifts our attention into being present at only that moment and none other. So try this exercise out, your kids will appreciate the attention.

When you try this habit out make sure to comment below or send me a message. I would love to hear your experiences.

Blessed Be!

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