Children need space, too: The art of mindful parenting | #parenting

Dr. Honey Carandang

If there’s a silver lining to living life on lockdown because of the continuing new coronavirus disease crisis, it’s the greater amount of time many parents are getting to spend with their children.

Whether they’re now working from home, or pressed into becoming coteachers because of online learning, or simply being “persons deprived of liberty” (to use the current government doublespeak) for fear of catching an infection if they venture outside their homes, many parents are reporting that they’re finally getting to know their children.

Whereas, prepandemic, many parents had to carve out time from their busy schedules for “quality time” or “family bonding,” now they’re stuck at home with the kids.

It’s a golden opportunity—not to be squandered binge-watching Netflix or mired in back-to-back Zoom meetings—to form a really deep connection between parent and child.

Of course, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. With enforced togetherness, things can easily go awry.

Children need space too—they don’t want you breathing down their necks with corny “fun activities” or unwanted heart-to-heart talks when what they want is to chat online with their friends or post TikTok videos or simply be left alone.

Sincerity is well and good, but there’s such a thing as “skillful means”—knowing how and when to initiate a conversation with your children.

There’s a real art to parenting, and there’s no better guide to its finer points than child psychologist and family therapy pioneer Dr. Honey A. Carandang.

Her Parenting Academy seminar is a much-awaited annual event among parents and professionals. This year, for obvious reasons, it goes online via Zoom.

“Parenting with MLAC (Mindfulness, Love and Compassion): Keeping Your Balance in the Anxious New Normal” unfolds Sept. 24 with Carandang as main speaker and panelists Tess Aguilar and Bless de Asis.

“I will talk more about mindfulness and go deeper into balance as the key to emotional and spiritual wellness in these difficult times,” says Carandang.Mindfulness, she adds, is a way of paying attention without judgment.

“Mindfulness teaches you to respond, not react. It allows you to regulate your emotion. You respond thoughtfully, not impulsively. It’s almost the same as EQ (emotional quotient).”

Best known for her pioneering work in dealing with childhood trauma and family therapy, Carandang established the MLAC Institute for Psychosocial Services Inc. in 2010 with a team of psychologists. The main work of the foundation has to do with helping Filipino children and their families, specially the underprivileged, attain a state of psychological well-being and wholeness through various therapies. As well as being her initials, “MLAC” stands for Mindfulness, Love and Compassion, the key elements which inform the group’s work. INQ

“Parenting with MLAC” takes place 2 to 4 p.m., Sept. 24. There is a seminar fee of P1,000. Tel. 0917-8148722.

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