Actionable tips to start becoming not just a better parent but a thriving parent with a strong connection to your kid/s, and better parenting skills.
We’ve all heard of the term ‘conscious parenting’. Is it just another catchphrase of the moment? It kinda sounds good, but what does it really mean and why should we care?
We break it down.
Probably the biggest challenge facing parents today is regulating their own emotional responses and being patient, despite feeling stressed and/or overwhelmed.
Even the most relaxed parents feel exasperated, overwhelmed, and frustrated at times, and respond to their kids in ways they may regret later.
Let me be clear, it’s SO important to not let yourself fall into the guilt, self-judgment & self-punishment trap! That’s not what this is about AT ALL.
As you recognize the emotional response within yourself, take the approach of conducting a discovery quest and experiment with these methods.
Being curious about understanding yourself better and noticing things without judgment is a good approach.
So, what can you do to become more patient, calm and loving in your responses as a parent?
It starts with taking responsibility and becoming more aware.
Your first task
If you want to develop a close and loving bond with your children, the first step is actually taking responsibility.
In any relationship, it can be easy to slip into the blame game. Let’s face it, we’ve all done it! And it’s damaging to any relationship.
It’s a trap we just don’t want to fall into with our kids – blaming & shaming them for their behavior – which can even turn into resentment over time.
But unfortunately this is how most of us were parented so this is how we parent by default.
A new Truth
This multi-generational parenting approach is based on faulty thinking, the false belief that some children are just bad or difficult or have personalities that can rub us the wrong way.
Children are pristine souls until conception when they begin to feel, absorb and respond to the emotional environment around the mother in the womb.
Until the age between around 5 and 7 when they have begun to develop their own will and make their own choices based on that, their responses and ‘behaviour’ are very much a reflection of what’s going on around them emotionally.
What they are actually doing is acting out the suppressed emotions around them, so it’s a bit unfair when they get blamed for that.
Children are a lot more open emotionally than adults because they haven’t put up the walls to their emotions yet, like adults have learned to do, so they feel EVERYTHING, and often very intensely.
Blame is a very harsh and intense emotion to direct at a child, is felt & experienced as a rejection, and can be very damaging to a child’s self-esteem.
Owning our stuff
So we can start by looking at what is going on either within ourselves or around us emotionally when our child is acting out or having an emotional response we don’t understand.
This first step alone is often an enormous relief to our children and they will often change their behavior immediately when there isn’t blame, anger and demand coming at them emotionally.
When a parent stops and asks ‘what’s going on for me emotionally right now?’ ‘what dynamics are going on with my partner (or another family member)’ ‘what is (my child) showing me right now?’
The pressure is now off the child, and they can relax and be themselves again.
This is such a gift we can give to our children!
Our second task
Next, we can start to become a more conscious parent. What exactly does this mean?
Parenting from the inside out
Conscious parenting involves feeling about your own childhood experiences so that you can develop a deeper understanding of your emotional self, and identify your own emotional triggers.
It involves taking the time to look at the internal experiences that trigger any intense emotional responses to your child/ren so that you can make mindful choices about how to interact with your child.
It’s about healing yourself, or at least choosing more aware and positive responses so that you can be the parent you want to be.
History repeats itself …
All of us, even those of us who were raised in seemingly good, healthy families, had emotional needs that weren’t met at times. And we all experienced emotional pain.
If we don’t heal our own emotional wounds, we’re likely to inflict the same wounds onto our child.
We are going to be parenting the way we were parented, whether we’re aware of it or not.
Often we’ll make a conscious choice to NOT parent the way we were parented in a certain way, but the psychological patterns are still there. They can be sneaky & creep up on you in different ways!
until we break the pattern! …
Only when we develop a deeper understanding of our selves can we take responsibility rather than be victims to our emotional triggers.
And it’s only then that we can be truly present for our child and experience the greatest joy of parenting: a strong, happy, and healthy connection with our child.
If you find that you struggle with becoming stressed & overwhelmed, and not responding to your child the way you’d like go here.
I’ve made a commitment to myself to be the best parent I can be, to continue to learn and grow as a parent. ‘Cause let’s face it, it’s the most important job in the world but one we don’t need any training or a license for, but maybe we should! 😀
A pretty enormous responsibility, but one that can generate so much joy!
What about you? How do you feel about ‘conscious parenting’? What’s important to you and your family?
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