from Everyday Blessings - The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting

by Myla and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Copyright Ó1997 Myla Kabat-Zinn and Jon Kabat-Zinn

Hyperion, 114 Fifth Avenue ,N.Y 10011



In deciding on how we are going to parent, and what our priorities are, we need to be aware of the paramount importance of building and maintaining trust and and feelings of connectedness with our baby, both for his long-term well-being and for the long-term well-being of the family as a whole. (...)Scientists who study infants have found evidence that the most basic lessons of emotional life are laid down in the small, repeated exchanges that take place early on between parent and baby. Of all such intimate moments and exchanges, the most important seem to be those that "let the child know her emotions are being met with empathy, accepted and reciprocated." This process is called attunement. Knowing that attunement in infancy forms the basis of a child's later emotional competencies might motivate us to pay greater attention, moment by moment, to how we actually interact with our children, especially when they are little, and to the choices we make about their care.


Babies are not babies for very long. This formative stage in which they are completely dependant on us is relatively brief and very precious. During this time, their sense of well-being being is intimately related to how attuned we are to what they are feeling and needing in each moment, and the quality and constancy of our responses. So in parenting mindfully, we try as best we can to cultivate the kind of responsiveness that honors the sovereignty of our children.