Does Meditation Really Help Parents Be Calmer?

March 29, 2012 Comments Off

At times, Melissa McClements found it very tough coping with her adorable toddler’s tantrums. This was until she took up a parent and toddler meditation class that helped her deal with her toddler’s tantrums better. Can one really stay calm when their child is misbehaving? Let’s find out through Melissa’s experience.
Recently, I started going to a meditation class with my toddler. You are probably thinking, “What kind of parent tries to silence their mind in the presence of someone who believes silence means shouting “Hickory Dickory Dock” while sticking pencils up their nostrils?

I might be that parent, and I might have experienced a cringe-worthy moment when my two-year old daughter asked me why the man (Buddhist monk) was dressed up like a lady but overall the meditation class went surprisingly well. Meditation equipped me with tools for day-to-day life with a toddler. It is a fact that no matter how cute your toddler’s company might be; you can never relax in their active presence!

My daughter, Phoebe, at most times might be a beguiling toddler who loves singing more than talking and breaking out in constant giggles. Unfortunately at times, she has these horrible outbreaks of tantrums. Such tantrums involve head butting and screaming until she is blue in the face. I still have nightmares when I think about a particular incident that involves a tuna sandwich in a café.

Seeing my ruffled and frustrated state due to our toddler’s tantrum, my husband recommended meditation classes. He had recently taken meditation classes to cope with stress from work. Normally, I wouldn’t get involved in such things but the recent improvement that I have seen my husband due to the meditation class is praiseworthy. So I decided to try a parent and toddler meditation group at the local Buddhist center with my daughter.

On my first day, we were directed towards a large room filled with cushions, baskets of toys, little tables, an endless supply of color pencils and drawings of Buddha to color in. Yes, you get the picture; the parents were supposed to meditate while the toddlers were allowed to roam freely. There were also two helpers in the room who kept an eye out for the toddlers.

A shaved man dressed in an orange robe stepped on the podium. He sat cross-legged; I felt uneasy at first. After a while, of listening to him talk, I sort of relaxed. The adults were asked to close their eyes while the man on the podium would guide us through the meditation. I was surprised to discover that as parents started meditating, the children also went strangely quiet. That also helped me meditate.

This was until I became aware of Phoebe constantly punching her drawing with a pencil. Then I started to think about my irritation. I opened one of my eyes and stared crossly at her. Undaunted Phoebe laughed and told me to me close my eyes again. At that moment suddenly I remembered the monk’s words advising us to change our reactions to the individual’s behaviors as it will help us perceive the world more positively.  I realized then how much racquet other kids present in the room were causing. I wasn’t bothered by them simply because I wasn’t responsible for them. Thus, I decided to ignore my daughter’s hole-punching.

It was a wonderful experience overall. However, Phoebe had to ruin it by commenting on the monk’s outfit that made me realize we had to work on her gender stereotyping. Still, we are attending weekly meditation classes, and though I can’t claim to be a saint, but yes I have learned to be much calmer.

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