How parents think about their internal states and about their emotional experiences impacts their parenting. Parents who demonstrate dispositional mindfulness, the capacity for open awareness and attention in the present moment, experience lower levels of stress. The present study assessed whether mindful parents may show more positive parenting and be perceived more favorably by their children in parent-child interactions.
One hundred and twenty-seven mothers completed measures assessing mindfulness and stress, and their early adolescent children (M age = 10.87 years; SD = 0.90) completed measures assessing their mothers’ perspective-taking, and disclosure to and conflict intensity with their mothers.
Using path analysis, we found that mothers’ greater dispositional mindfulness was associated with adolescent reports of greater maternal perspective-taking through less maternal stress. Further, mothers’ greater dispositional mindfulness was associated with more adolescent disclosure to mothers and less intense conflict through less maternal stress and greater maternal perspective-taking.
Our results suggest that mothers’ stress and perspective-taking may indirectly link parent mindfulness and adolescent perceptions of parent-adolescent communication.