Teens Thrive When Parents Practice Mindfulness

A new study suggests mindfulness-based training could improve the parent-teen relationship, with fathers benefitting the most from mindfulness training, leading to a reduction in aggression in teens.

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Raising children is the ultimate mindfulness practice. And now researchers are trying to figure out whether mindful parenting may affect teen behavior. A recent study looked at if mindfulness instruction might lead to changes in parenting strategies, parent-teen relationships, and problem behaviors like aggression.

Researchers had a group of parents participate in the Mindfulness-Enhanced Strengthening Families Program as part of a longitudinal, randomized-controlled trial published in Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. After training, parents were more positive and shared better relationships with their teens. Additionally, the researchers made an interesting observation: adolescents of mindful fathers were also less aggressive.

“Changes in positive parenting strategies can enhance relationships at a time when parent-child interactions typically increase in conflict,” said the study’s lead author, Doug Coatsworth, Ph.D., Professor and Director of the Applied Developmental Science Program at Colorado State University.  “Mindful parenting is a set of skills and ways of approaching parenting tasks that changes over time—meaning that interventions that effectively target these skills can influence the way that parents parent with attention, acceptance, emotional attunement, and compassion.”

Mindful parenting programs—those designed to incorporate mindfulness-based principles and practices with traditional parenting skills—are increasing in…