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What is Present Parenting:

Present Parenting is a parenting approach that uses mindfulness to navigate the daily positive and negative moments with children and it also shares a long-term vision of how those precious moments can progressively lead toward the natural process of children growing into mature adults.

Present Parenting is similar to so very many positive parenting sites, techniques, and styles. We're grateful there are many sharing their thoughts and experiences on such an important topic! Check our references page for a few of our favorite sites and authors.

In addition to so many great ideas out there, Present Parenting also shares a few unique thoughts that may spark some inspiration for your family as it did for ours.

Throughout this site, there are 2 major individual themes that ultimately work together:
1. Understanding Accountability for Immature Behavior
2. Using Personal Mindfulness in Every Day Parenting 

1. Let's start with ACCOUNTABILITY:  

As an infant grows into a toddler and then on to young childhood, adolescence, and eventually adulthood, WHO is accountable for both the progress of that child and for the immature behavior or mistakes made along the way? Present Parenting teaches that accountability starts 100% on the parents shoulders (as opposed to the completely dependent infant's shoulders) and VERY gradually and mindfully shifts towards the child as he or she matures both physically and emotionally.

Here's why: 

Scientists are becoming more and more certain that the center of moral choice and intentional behavioral regulation, or in other words true accountability, lies in the proper functioning of the prefrontal cortex region of the brain. This area of the brain (which sits right up front behind the forehead) is not at all fully formed yet in infants, is barely starting to function here and there in young children, becomes a little more solid during the ages of 7-12-ish, but then goes under mass construction again during the adolescent years so it can arrive as a more efficient, mature, and well-balanced brain ready to be used more wisely starting around the mid-20s through late adult years.  

If accountability for ignorant and immature behavior is primarily shifted to young children before the age of 8-ish, or is done in a less-than-mindful way at any age, the child's incomplete brain will find alternative ways to process the burden of accountability that should otherwise be the responsibility of the "missing" prefrontal cortex. This increases the likelihood of greater behavioral challenges in later years because other areas of the brain become over-used and ignorantly defensive in nature, which leaves the prefrontal cortex left underdeveloped when it eventually IS time for it to take some responsibility.  

The Accountability Pyramid is the basic model we use to guide how and when to shift accountability towards our growing children so that they can increase their likelihood of proper brain development and mature adulthood.

Accountability in this model shifts much slower than most current parenting trends and instead recommends that parents endure, embrace, accept and appreciate children for WHO THEY ARE in the present moment while simultaneously guiding them towards progress.     

2. Using PERSONAL MINDFULNESS in Every Day Parenting

Because the natural pattern of brain growth in children feels tediously slow, Present Parenting encourages parents to spend ample time improving personal mindfulness in order to be more aware of, accepting of, and progressive towards this delicate and gradual accountability shift in their children.

To effectively use the Accountability Pyramid,
 showing children (more than telling them) how a mature prefrontal cortex handles both joyful and stressful moments throughout the growth stages of life is essential. This requires personal mindfulness, or present-minded choices.

Essentially, a child can behave how ever they are going to behave and regardless of who is accountable at any given moment, parents need to be prepared to respond in a mindful way rather than a reactive and potentially destructive way. This. is. very. difficult! Personal mindfulness is a skill that helps parents look inward and honestly assess their own personal strengths and weaknesses and work towards greater personal peace and wisdom so that chaotic, immature moments with their children can become moments of growth and progress. 

The Present Parenting tab discusses attitudes towards immature behavior (which many parents find they need to adjust) and 4 types of responses parents can have when they encounter immature behavior. Examples of exercising personal mindfulness are found in the blog

Improving personal mindfulness is a unique journey for everyone. Useful ideas are plentiful and worth studying among many mindfulness experts. This site lists a few steps on this page: How to Change.  Please also feel free to contact us with a question, follow our Facebook page, or message us for personal mentoring or to join a mentor group.  

 A few extra thoughts:

The dictionary defines “present” as:

Noun: “a gift or something willingly transferred by one person to another without thought of compensation” (ie. unselfishly)
Adj: “being in a particular place physically and/or mentally”

and “parenting” as:

Noun: “the rearing of children or the methods and techniques used or required in the rearing of children”
Adj: “of or concerned with the rearing of children”

Present Parenting is therefore unselfishly giving oneself physically and mentally to the rearing of children. The resulting "gift" is that parent and child will each develop a healthier, more balanced mind and thus enjoy greater peace and wisdom...together.

Parents use a variety of styles when disciplining their children. Brent and I developed Present Parenting as a style we attempt to use with our 8 children. Because other parents regularly ask us about our "style", we created this website to share it.