122: Self-Compassion for Parents

Your Parenting Mojo Banner Episode Image showing the episode number and title of the episode 122: Self-Compassion for Parents with the Your Parenting Mojo logo on the image and slogan reading Research-based ideas to help kids thrive. And image of a person in an orange raincoat standing with back to the viewer standing in from of a sea and an incoming storm.

In this episode, Dr. Susan Pollak helps us to apply mindfulness skills to our relationships with our children so we can parent in line with our values, rather than just reacting when our children push our buttons.

You’ll learn:

  • What’s the point of mindfulness, and does it matter if we bring our full attention and presence to diaper changes?
  • Why we’re so hard on ourselves, even when we always try to be kind to others
  • Some concrete tools to use when you interact with your children TODAY in those moments when it seems like everything is falling apart.

Dr. Pollak is a psychologist in private practice in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She is a long-time student of meditation and yoga who has been integrating the practices of meditation into psychotherapy since the 1980s.

Dr. Pollak is cofounder and teacher at the Center for mindfulness and Compassion at Harvard Medical School and the Cambridge Health Alliance, and has just stepped down as President of the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, a position which she held since 2010. She also writes regularly for Psychology today on the topic of integrating mindfulness into daily life.


Book mentioned in the episode:

Self-Compassion for Parents: Nurture Your Child by Caring for Yourself (Affiliate link).

Other episodes related to this topic:

Parental Burn-Out

No Self, No Problem

Helping children to develop compassion

Patriarchy is perpetuated through parenting

Mindfulness tools with Mindful Mama Hunter Clarke-Fields


Some key points from the interview:

(04:08) Many of us, present company included, we’re not raised to be kind to ourselves.

(10:47) Mindful self-compassion acknowledges that we need to start with mindfulness. (I’ve been teaching this course for over a decade, and I’ve seen that) a lot of people just can’t start with compassion because it’s foreign for most of us to treat ourselves kindly.

(53:59) Allow yourself to rest for a moment feeling that you have distance from the storm, some space from the turbulence to recognize that you are not the storm. (paraphrased)

(59:03) It’s such a common misconception about mindfulness that you have to sit still and not think about anything. And, you know, people are relieved to know that [mindfulness] is not about stopping our thoughts. It’s really about finding a different relationship with our thoughts.

About the author, Jen

Jen Lumanlan (M.S., M.Ed.) hosts the Your Parenting Mojo podcast (www.YourParentingMojo.com), which examines scientific research related to child development through the lens of respectful parenting.

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