This morning I read an article about the basis of addiction. It was all about how we have all been taught that addictive substances are the reason behind addictive behaviour and that this is not necessarily the case.
The article gave a summary of a lab rat experiment where a single lab rat was give two water bottles, one with heroin in and the other with plain water. The rat got addicted to the heroin and died. Probably what we would expect.
What I didn’t expect was the next move forward with the experiment. Next time they created a happy rat home with rat friendly toys and distractions and enough room for lots of rats to happily live together and get exercise. This time the rats did not get addicted to the heroin bottle and having tried it they went back to the water.
The write up of the experiments made a very convincing argument for the fact that as long as we have a happy life generally and we are mixing with lots of other people and are active then we won’t become addicted.
The need for social interaction is key. With the rats it was being alone with the drug that led to addiction. When they were happy in a social group they didn’t get addicted despite the same availability of the drug.
As a parent I think it is completely normal to be concerned about our children and how they grow up. I can hardly bare to think of Noah getting addicted to anything later in life. On a less dramatic note both my sister and I have concerns when our boys spend too much time on our iPads. Noah seems to get hooked on Peppa Pig and my nephew is a Mind Craft fanatic.
Reading this article made me think about the role of mindfulness in parenting. The message that stuck with me is that we need our young to be happy and secure in their environment and not shut away and alone. Exercise and company are key.
So when our boys are on their favourite iPad apps we should be engaging with them about it. We shouldn’t get at them and send them into their rooms to do it. We should take an interest and make it something that we can be part of. We already encourage them to be active so hopefully we are half way there.
Being encouraging and supportive is something that all parents strive for. Most of us would admit that there are times when we are tired and impatient with our children and a little more calm and understanding would go a long way.
Mindfulness really helps improve our relationships. When we are mindful we are able to see situations clearly and react in a way that we are happy with. Rather than snapping at our children because we are frustrated with them we can keep our cool and handle things much better. If encouragement and understanding are what is needed we will be level headed enough to get it right.
Just the presence of mind to take a few deep breaths before you communicate with your child about their iPad use could make all the difference. Rather than getting in from work and snapping at them a friendly chat could make all the difference.
As we continue along the journey of being parents I’m sure more serious addictions will cross our minds. It is a huge comfort to me that providing a supportive environment is the key. That is something I can do. With mindfulness it is something that we can all commit to.
Having a motivation which is not purely based on your own gain makes mindfulness meditation so much better. By focussing on what it can do for your loved ones it changes the route of the exercises and improves your motivation. Doing something for someone else is so much better.
Come on a Revitalise Day to see how much mindfulness can change your life. It could do so much for you but perhaps even more for your family.