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The Spirit of Reflective Parenting

The Spirit of Reflective Parenting

Donovan’s lyrics capture the spirit of Reflective Parenting: To have a strong relationship with your child use your mind to understand their mind.

For those of you who feel you need a little review of what Reflective Parenting is all about, I have boiled it down to it’s 6 main ingredients.

  1. Be Present: When interacting with your child try to be in the moment as much as possible.
  2. Be Reflective: Try to understand your child’s words and behaviors in terms of something going on your child’s mind such as their feelings, intentions, needs, beliefs or goals. Try to understand you’re your own words and behaviors in terms of something going on your your mind such as your feelings, intentions, needs, beliefs or goals.
  3. Be Empathic and Firm: A strong parent-child relationship is built out of the balance between understanding, sensitivity and support on the one hand and clear firm limits and boundaries on the other
  4. Accept Uncertainty; Tolerate Ambiguity: Being reflective enables us to make sense of what people (ourselves and other people) are doing and saying. But since the mind is subjective and hidden there is plenty of room for uncertainty and ambiguity in our understanding of each other.
  5. Misunderstanding and conflict are normal and inevitable. We each have a separate and personal mind, which is why we frequently see the world from different perspectives. This can cause misunderstanding, even conflict, which can be resolved as long as people try to be reflective.
  6. Repair Ruptures in the Relationship: Children may not like when a parent is really angry or makes a hurtful comment, but they can cope. What they cannot handle is the feeling that the relationship bond is broken. Use your reflective capacity to increase your emotional sensitivity and decrease your hostility toward your child so that you can make sure to repair any relationship ruptures that may occur.



As a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, I have been in private practice for over 35 years, with a special interest in parents and couples.


June 19, 2017
  • Maternal Mental Health Conference Keynote Address: Culture and Diversity through a Reflective Practice June 19, 2017 @ 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    @ California Endowment, 1000 Alameda St, Los Angeles, CA 90012

    Dr. Pally will give a keynote address on June 19. The whole conference will bring together research and emerging voices that explore the complexities of perinatal mental health through the lens of culture and diversity. Speakers will address how culture informs both our stress and well-being and our definitions of self and other in the pregnancy, birth and postpartum period. The full schedule is expected soon. Continuing Education Units will be available!

    More information can be found here:

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