Conscious what, conscious who?
I realize that I have been throwing around quotes on many of my social media platforms without true intent to give my followers the meaning behind what it is to be a "conscious parent". For me being conscious is being awakened. It's about taking away traditional ways of raising children, and really focusing in on the the "whole child", all while being more reflective when raising children than punitive. The "whole child" you ask? The whole child is what I like to use to describe everything your child encompasses. That's each child's unique emotional, spiritual, educational, environmental experiences that make them who they are. There are many times I have spoken to caregivers who raise children who they believe are 1 dimensional. I have learned through my profession and role as a mother that children have many layers to them, as we do adults. So taking in their unique prospective is essential for understanding what it is to be conscious.
Conscious parents often times will focus in on the emotional connection between the parent/child versus the more authoritative (who is boss) approach between parent/child. This does not mean you throw away specific practices that have worked for you or practices that have been passed down that also work well for your family. This method of child rearing focuses on mind shifting to begin to solve what's really going on behind your child's behavior. We often times as parents like to think that are children are just like us, and although that can be true in some areas, children have their own state of being. Allow them to have a different perception than you.
Conscious parenting assures that your child feels secure in the world and and in return you feel reliable and safe. By altering how we experience our primary relationships (parent/child) we can begin to shape perspectives, beliefs, self esteem, and outlook. In it is this that cultivates the environment your child needs to be the best them mentally, physically, and emotionally.
3 Conscious Tips:
- Check your language- is it cruel, shows impatience, or non effective?
- Check your expectations- is your child developmentally ready to handle what is being asked? Could you meet your needs without asking your child for help?
- Check you self-regulation- Is your temperament calm, or are you parenting from a place of frustration? Did you set your limits with kindness, and is this approach best to prevent your child from being upset?
This can be challenging, but always try to bring the focus back to building a strong bond between you and your children. When solving conflict it does not have to be about making your'e child feel bad, or inflicting pain. Most often conflict is able to be resolved through empathy and understanding. Once you begin to make that a consistent message with your children it will make effective changes in your household. Now I don't want you to use this reading as a way to say you can not set boundaries or to allow inappropriate behavior. This ideal will be a baseline on how you would do such. For instance, I had a hard time getting my oldest daughter Kennedy to understand that every time we go to a store she is not warranted gifts just because. It would always be this argument or tantrum why she couldn't get something. I begin to look at her need-she wants rewards, my want- I want her to earn it, work for it, solution- we sat down and discussed openly her frustrations and mine. Together we came up with a chore chart for her to earn money, as well as start a savings account to assure she "gets the things she has earned" and I "feel better that it just wasn't given to her". For my 2 year old this looks very different. So for her when she cries, or can't communicate her needs, as her parent I take the time to make sure she has had rest, food, and attention, but also making sure I stay calm and approach her in a manner that is supportive and loving. Our influence as parents is much stronger and long lasting when it is loving and intentional rather than fear based and short term.
So I will leave you with these 13 principles of Conscious Parenting by a speaker and author, Alfie Kohn. You are enough, and we together can raise consciously aware children, who will lead this nation far more than we have ever imagined.
13 Conscious Parenting Principles:
- Be reflective
- Reconsider your request
- Stay focused on your long terms goals
- Put your relationship first
- Change how you see not just how you act
- Be authentic
- Talk less, ask more
- Be mindful of your child's age
- Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts
- Don't stick to no's unnecessarily
- Don't be rigid
- Don't be in a hurry
Healthy parents, raise healthy children!
P.S. Listed below is a book I have read many of times, that many of my parenting approaches come from. Check your local library, amazon, or book store if you are looking for a great read!