For months before my first child was born, one of the things that kept me up at night was knowing how thoroughly unprepared I was for this new chapter of my life.
How was I supposed to take care of another human being when I could barely take care of myself? Plus, this tiny person’s entire future depended on what I taught him and the kind of parent I was going to be. That’s a lot of responsibility to place on anyone, let alone an inexperienced first-time mom who already felt lacking in many ways.
I knew what I wanted for my child; I wanted to raise my child consciously, to connect with him as he is, so that he may grow up to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit.
The how of it is what had me stumped.
Fast forward to five years later and I was now a mother to two wonderful boys and still as stumped as ever. We yelled at each other, I had to bribe them to do what I want, and they were complete nightmares whenever we went out. Basically, my life had become exactly like the lives of those clueless parents I used to judge.
I desperately needed things to change. So I did a lot of digging online and discovered conscious parenting.
And my whole world did change.
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS PARENTING?
So, what exactly is conscious parenting? How can you practice it with your children?
Well, parenting consciously means being mindful and conscious in your interactions with your child. A conscious parent engages with their child at a much deeper level, nurturing their very essence in the process.
Conscious parenting concepts have their roots in ancient Eastern beliefs combined with Western psychology. To be conscious means to be mindful and aware. It means being in the moment and living in the present, so that your reactions to your child stem from the calmer, centered state of who you really are, as opposed to coming from your ego.
Therefore, to become a conscious parent, you have to change how you view your child’s behavior and how you respond to their needs. You need to start seeing your children as they are, or the spirit of their being.
There is no easy solution or switch that you can flip and turn into a conscious parent. It is a lifestyle and a lifelong journey. It means continuous moment by moment practice with the aim of connecting to your children from a place of love, acceptance, and authenticity, as opposed to ego, fear, and control.
The beauty of parenting consciously lies in the fact that it does not depend on a set of rules for parents or children to follow. It’s all about having a set of beliefs and convictions about what children need to develop and thrive in the modern world. And this does not mean having zero boundaries for your children.
8 CONSCIOUS PARENTING TIPS
Here are a few tips that you can use for consciously parenting your kids:
1. Focus on long term goals.
Your main goal as a conscious parent is to build a relationship with your child that is based on love, trust, and empathy. This means you have to learn to control your emotions, because losing your cool can trigger negative emotions in both yourself and your child, undermining your efforts in the long term.
2. Learn to listen to your child.
Talk less and be open to what your child has to say. Try to understand where they are coming from by asking them questions. This way, they will feel valued and heard.
3. Learn to forgive them.
Indiscipline, disobedience, and honest mistakes are all part of growing up. Understand that your kids are just being kids, so make them understand why what they did is wrong as opposed to punishing them.
4. Boost your child’s abilities.
Identify the skills your child has and try to help them master them. Motivate them to explore a variety of interests and show your support by involving yourself in their activities.
5. Resolve all your issues as they occur.
Keeping your own issues bottled up can be dangerous in the long term. For example, when your child does something that triggers a sensitive memory you haven’t made peace with, it can affect your relationship. Learn to talk things through and try to prevent your issues from interfering with your parenting.
6. Communicate courteously.
Treat your child like a reasoning, thinking person. Respect them and be courteous when communicating with them. In doing so, since you are their first teacher, you will be showing them how to communicate and respond to other people, which will greatly improve their interactions.
7. Create a loving environment for them.
Children take in both the good and the bad, so try to make the environment they grow up in as positive and good as possible. They need peace, positivity, encouragement, safety, and love.
8. Behave like the person you would like your child to grow up into.
Since children learn more from what they see than anything else, you need to show them the best version of you. And remember to be consistent in both your words and actions.
Conscious parenting is all about changing your perspectives and focusing your parenting efforts on creating an environment where your child can develop mentally, physically, and spiritually. So, while traditional parenting means saying no, imposing your agenda on your child, and establishing yourself as the alpha in your relationship, conscious parenting is exactly the opposite.
It’s all about gradually altering your parenting style to be more about love and acceptance as opposed to fear and control and imposing your will on your kids. This is a path I’m personally on, and I can tell you from experience that it will not happen overnight. It takes a lot of practice and dedication, but when you finally start noticing all the little tell-tale signs of your thriving relationship with your child, it is all totally worth it.
So be reasonable in your expectations, because no child is perfect. Try not to meddle too much in their lives. Give them a bit of freedom, watch your emotions, and consider taking up meditation to help you relax and reconnect with your inner self. When your mind is at ease, you might be surprised at how great a parent you can be.