Promoting mindfulness to improve the mother-child bond and parenting relationship
A driving force in the success of MATER in promoting recovery is our emphasis on improving the mother-child relationship for parenting women with substance use disorders (SUD). Our mindfulness-based approach helps to reduce stress and anxiety, promote self-compassion and improve relationships to ultimately foster a secure attachment between mother and child and prevent intergenerational trauma.
We developed and tested the innovative Mindfulness-Based Parenting (MBP) program using several core mindfulness principles to address the individual needs of women with SUD and to promote a nurturing child-rearing environment. This 12-week trauma-informed program offers women the tools to approach life with more calm and balance, thus reducing reactivity and promoting the integration of new skills and information.
MBP focuses on the intersection of mindfulness and parenting skills essential to children’s emotional health and well-being. The quality of the mother-child attachment influences the literal architecture of the child’s brain, impacting future success in all areas of life. To promote a secure mother-child attachment, we teach:
- Mindful listening
- Empathic responding
- Sensitive touch
- Appropriate limit setting
The Mindful-Based Parenting group has opened my mind to a more calm, cool and collected approach to parenting… The group has taught me useful techniques that allow me to listen to my kids, pay attention to their feelings and control my own emotions with compassion and, best of all, without judgment… Not only has MBP made a tremendous difference in the way I parent, but it has helped me to form better relationships in other areas of my life as well.
Our research shows trauma-informed MBP intervention for parenting women with substance use disorders is associated with significant clinical improvements in the quality of parenting behavior.