Method: Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and thematic analysis, this qualitative study investigated the experiences of 27 parents (25 mothers, 2 fathers; age ranged from 31 to 54 years) who had participated in an 8-week mindfulness-based intervention as part of a randomized controlled trial. Parents were invited to describe their experiences in the group intervention and discuss the changes occurring in their daily interactions with their children.
Findings: Data analysis revealed parents’ changes involve four patterns: a) an overall improvement in parenting and better relationship with child; b) development of a mindful way to self-regulate and new patterns of response; c) an enhanced ability to differentiate personal issues from child problem; and d) greater self-reflection after incidents of dysfunctional parent-child interactions.
Conclusion and Implications: The findings reveal experiences of a group of Chinese parents applying mindfulness to facilitate changes in parent-child interactions. For parents with ACEs, the enhanced ability to differentiate personal issues from child problems suggests the key role of fostering awareness in this process. The findings also delineate how parents realized that their personal experiences had contributed to their own dysfunctional parenting. The study provides implications for developing systematic social work parenting group interventions for ACE populations and informs cross-cultural social work practice when working with clients from Chinese culture and similar backgrounds.