For the 97th episode of the Metta Hour Podcast, Sharon shares a conversation about raising resilient children with Mark Bertin, MD & Christopher Willard, PsyD.
Buzz words such as “thriving,” “resilience,” and “mindfulness” may fill headlines and sell books, but what do they really mean, and how do we cultivate these traits in ourselves and our families? Sharon and her guests look beyond the buzzwords and towards the basic concepts of skillful parenting that have been known across cultures for millennia. Together they explore the best of what both science and wisdom traditions have to teach us about cultivating happy, healthy families.
Dr. Christopher Willard (PsyD) is a psychologist and educational consultant based in Boston specializing in mindfulness. He has been practicing meditation for 20 years and leads workshops nationally and internationally. He currently serves on the board of directors at the Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy, and is the president of the Mindfulness in Education Network. He has presented at TEDx conferences and his thoughts have appeared in the New York Times, The Washington Post, mindful.org, and elsewhere. He is the author ofChild’s Mind (2010) Growing Up Mindful (2016) Raising Resilience (2017) and other books. Learn more about Chris’s work around the intersection of mindfulness, psychology and childhood development at drchristopherwillard.com.
Dr. Mark Bertin, a board-certified developmental behavioral pediatrician and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at New York Medical College. He is on the faculty of the Windward Teacher Training Institute, and from 2003 to 2010 was Director of Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at the Westchester Institute for Human Development, working in their foster care program. Dr. Bertin also leads mindfulness classes, having attended trainings at Jon Kabat Zinn’s Center for Mindfulness in Medicine among others, and he incorporates mindfulness into sessions on an individual basis for interested families. Dr. Bertin’s Child Development Central blog can be found at developmentaldoctor.com.
Beginning with a short guided meditation, Sharon’s guests introduce their work and share their history with mindfulness and meditation practice. The group examines what resilience means to them and how contemplative practice allows us to bounce back from adversity and manage life’s difficulties.
“The Buddha said life is suffering. We might say that life is stressful. So, how well do we manage those stresses? How well do we encourage our kids to manage those stresses? How much do we give them the skills to deal with life’s stresses, which is inevitable?” – Dr. Christopher Willard
Mindful Parenting (13:25)
How can practicing mindfulness with children create the right amount of support and space for them to work through their difficulties? Our group talks about bringing mindfulness to the table as a parent. They discuss the important roles of self-compassion and equanimity in the parent-child relationship.
“There is no perfect. It is about having that deeper connection and relationship and a safe space to be raised. It is important to recognize that you need a foundation of a close relationship, with depth and the resilience as a parent to try and just be there until a path seems clear when things get challenging – not to add to the situation ” – Dr. Mark Bertin
Check out Dr. Willard’s conversation with Ethan Nichtern about ways that parents and children can wake up together on Ep. 8 of The Road Home Podcast
The Umbrella of Resilience (34:20)
Sharon and her guests look at how the qualities cultivated through loving-kindness allow families to build resilience and grow together. They discuss the ways that developing resilience allows families to face the unique challenges presented by the digital age.
“When you do loving-kindness practice, you rest your attention on the silent repetition of certain phrases like, ‘May you be happy, may you be peaceful.’ It is like gift giving, offering positive energy. I find that children tend to really like that kind of meditation.” – Sharon Salzberg
The group opens the floor to questions from their live audience. They discuss common misconceptions around mindfulness practice, how to share contemplative practices with others without pushing it on them, easing ADHD with mindfulness, cultivating the innate wisdom within children and more!