By Jasmine Collin – Birth & Parenting Coach
How to be a more conscious parent
You’ve probably heard the term “Conscious Parenting” by now.
It’s a term that has become more popular since Dr Shefali Tsabary (world-renowned clinical psychologist) appeared on the Oprah show to talk about her book “The Conscious Parent.”
But what is it, what are the benefits and how can we become more conscious
parents? Lets find out…..
What is Conscious Parenting?
At its very essence Conscious Parenting is about being more self-aware and mindful when interacting with your child.
Did you know that 90% of the way we live our lives is being run by automatic programs that we’ve inherited from our parents, grandparents, educators, culture, the media, friends and family members.
Parenting is no different.
Without self-awareness we inevitably end up parenting the way we were parented and even if you had a great childhood its likely that some of your parenting practices could do with a bit of an upgrade.
Sometimes we know exactly what we don’t want to do as parents but then we have to be careful not to fall into the trap of pendulum parenting.
This happens when we completely swing in the opposite direction and create different problems entirely.
Conscious Parenting is a choice to come off autopilot and shine the light of awareness on how we engage with our children. It’s an invitation to examine ourselves and become aware of all the programs that were passed down to us and that we in turn are passing down to them.
It’s about making the unseen seen.
Then we can take steps to clear out as much of the negative stuff as possible through healing our own childhood wounds.
What are the benefits of Conscious Parenting?
When a child receives more Conscious Parenting they are more free to realise their full potential. Unburdened by the many expectations and weight of previous generational trauma they get to blossom into their most authentic selves.
A key part of Conscious Parenting is ensuring your child feels seen, heard, validated, understood, respected and accepted for who they really are, not the version you imagined and expected them to be.
When our children are fully accepted for who they are and supported through all their emotions it helps them to build emotional resilience.
It’s the opposite of the idea that we need to toughen up our kids up by treating them harshly so they are ready for the harsh world out there.
Children that are more aware of their emotions and who have learnt how to feel and express them healthily are much better equipped for the inevitable ups and downs that life has to offer.
How can we be more conscious parents?
Here are a few key ways that you can raise your consciousness as parents:
- Recognise that parenting is better when we view it as a relationship rather than not a top down, one way transmission process.
- Become more attuned to the feelings and needs that are driving our child’s behaviours. Ask yourself what is really going on underneath the surface. Be more responsive and less reactive.
- Understand that our triggers are more to do with our own unmet emotional needs from our childhoods than our child’s behavior.
- Do some inner child healing sessions.
- Enhance your ability to regulate your own big emotions so that you can be there to ‘hold space’ for your child’s.
- Let them struggle and give them small opportunities to make mistakes so they can learn and grow, with your support.
- Let go of judgement and the need to fix things. Allow, accept and validate the full range of feelings that makes us human
Of course all this unconditional love and support doesn’t mean that there are no boundaries in place. We have to be careful not to slip into permissive parenting by mistake.
Setting loving limits is an important part of parenting as it makes our children feel safe but there are ways to do this that don’t dismiss our children’s feelings.
The good news is that there is a beautiful middle path between authoritarian and permissive parenting that’s gentle, respectful, responsive, connected, conscious, stable and loving.
The not so good news is that because we haven’t had this modeled for us, we don’t see it on TV and we didn’t receive this kind of parenting style as kids we now have to build this path for ourselves.
I’ll be honest…it’s not always easy.
It can be hard to upgrade our beliefs, thoughts and feelings about parenting, build new neural pathways, create new habits and behaviours all while navigating our own emotions and re-parenting our childhood selves. Not to mention getting our partner on the same page.
But it’s totally worth it to see your child thriving and to leave a parenting legacy you can be proud of for generations to come.
So if you want to be a conscious parent who feels more calm, confident and connected with their child, I would love to hear from you.
This is what I LOVE to do!