KonMari Your Parenting & Spark Joy in Your Kids’ Lives

KonMari Your Parenting & Spark Joy in Your Kids’ Lives
by Dr. Marla Reis, Ph.D.

It wasn’t that many years ago that the world was a much simpler, less overwhelming place for our children.

Whereas parents used to worry about providing enough, today’s parents regrettably face the challenges associated with over-giving and providing too much.

When I was raising my children (who are now adults), as well as when I’ve worked with families on issues of conscious parenting and discipline, great attention was placed on the balance of “being” and “doing.”

Our conversations so often went to an underlying belief that, if our children are bored or unhappy, we must be failing as parents. As a result, we’ve gone to the other extreme, and many of our children have wound up stressed-out, with over-scheduled and frantic lives filled with excessive screen time and an inability to tolerate being in their own company.

In Kim John Payne’s book, Simplicity Parenting, he writes how normal personality idiosyncrasies combined with the stress of “too much” can lead to mental health issues.

Payne explains that although the children were physically safe, they were exposed to toxic and messy emotional environments. “Privy to their parents’ fears, drives, ambitions, and the very fast pace of their lives, the children were busy trying to construct their own boundaries, their own level of safety in behaviors that weren’t ultimately helpful.”

For example, Payne conducted a study in which he simplified the lives of children with attention deficit disorder. Within four months, 68% went from being clinically dysfunctional to clinically functional. The children also experienced a 37% increase in academic and cognitive aptitude, which is not attributed to prescription drugs like Ritalin.

We adults are responsible for the emotional wellbeing of our children... not just their physical and academic successes. Helping them learn to prioritize their emotional self-care at an early age is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.

I believe that helping the child develop this insight is the essence of parenting.

Over the past months, Zen Mind Space has been honored to create intentional events for various life milestones, and this has included Mindful Birthday Celebrations for children. We include meditation, yoga, sound bowl therapy, essential oils, mantras, food, and lots of activities to create connection to self and others. (We’ve had amazing feedback from children and parents alike, and the parents have also arranged for their own adult celebrations at Zen!)

We also offer weekly yoga and meditation classes for kids and have just begun a weekly DBT Group (mindfulness-based therapy) for older adolescents and young adults. And, of course, we focus a lot on mindful parenting in individual and couples’ therapy sessions.

If we can mindfully create a schedule for self-care in the same way we create all the other scheduling that takes place for our children, we can help provide a sense of calm and safety in their otherwise chaotic worlds. It provides a release of tension children know they can rely on and allows children to recover and grow, serving a vital purpose in child development.