Parenting. The word itself holds so much weight. If you ask any parent how their parenting journey is going – I’m willing to bet the majority would respond that they are just surviving day to day. We were all parented by our parents differently and we are all parenting our own children differently. There is no one way, right way or best way. It sure feels like it’s easy to do it the wrong way. Most of us feel like we are. What if we could look at this whole parenting thing differently – could just changing our perspective on this journey change the outcome?
I know you’ve heard people say phrases like “parenthood doesn’t come with instructions.” It’s true. Humans don’t have handbooks. We are all flawed and for the most part, we are all just trying to figure out our purpose in the world, while being good and honorable people, and teaching our children the same.
I’d like to introduce you to the concept of “conscious parenting.” Maybe you’ve heard of it – or maybe you’re like me and completely new to the concept. Conscious parenting means to step outside of the normal parameters of parenting and look at your children as whole beings. It embraces the emotional connection between you and your child, and uses that connection for direction, discipline and guidance. It can also be referred to as “respectful parenting.” The idea is that you and your child are both human beings and are existing in this parent-child relationship at the same time. You are the older, more mature and wiser one providing direction, consequence and support to your child, but you both are learning how this relationship works together. Instead of assuming your children should simply listen, obey and react because you are the parent – you teach your children to work through their struggles themselves – while still providing support and security. This encourages them to think for themselves and separate from us in a way that allows them to create their own unique sense of self-confidence and self-love.
Just the idea of being a conscious, aware, intrigued parent interests me. I’m fascinated in learning how to be more conscious, aware and intrigued in my own life, too. How much of what happens in our life is unconscious? We live our life without thinking twice about the choices we make every single day. Just having awareness of how the choices you make directly affect you can change the trajectory of your life. If you can understand WHY you do something – only then can you CHANGE it.
Through conscious parenting and shifting our parenting focus to the relationship instead of the responsibility – I believe we can foster healthy, secure and supported children – instead of children that carry our emotional baggage on top of their own. This way of parenting allows you to step back and evaluate each situation instead of reacting to it. If we can be less reactive and more proactive in our children’s lives – we can actually impact the entire world. Kids who grow up with parents who think, act and parent on purpose, rather than parent from emotional instability and reactivity – will have more opportunities to focus on what really matters, without the weight on everyone else on their shoulders.
I don’t know about you, but if I can find a way to lighten and brighten the path and give my child the tools he needs to figure out his own way, without all of the unnecessary guilt and shame – THAT is the kind of parent I want to be.
Here are some great resources if you want to learn more about how to be a conscious parent yourself:
- Books, Website & Podcast – Janet Lansbury – Elevating Child Care Janet Lansbury is an advocate, believer and writer of the concepts surrounding Respectful Parenting. Her website, books, articles and podcasts are incredible tools to help guide you as you begin this journey.
- https://www.janetlansbury.com Janet Lansbury
- Book – Janet Lansbury – Elevating Childcare: A Guide to Respectful Parenting –https://www.amazon.com/Elevating-Child-Care-Respectful-Parenting/dp/1499103670/ref=sr_1_2?crid=1R4GNZTI4HRKR&keywords=janet+lansbury+no+bad+kids&qid=1563812193&s=gateway&sprefix=janet+lans%2Caps%2C133&sr=8-2
” Janet Lansbury’s advice on respectful parenting is quoted and shared by millions of readers worldwide. Inspired by the pioneering parenting philosophy of her friend and mentor, Magda Gerber, Janet’s influential voice encourages parents and child care professionals to perceive babies as unique, capable human beings with natural abilities to learn without being taught; to develop motor and cognitive skills; communicate; face age appropriate struggles; initiate and direct independent play for extended periods; and much more. Once we are able to view our children in this light, even the most common daily parenting experiences become stimulating opportunities to learn, discover, and to connect with our child.”
- Book – Janet Lansbury – No Bad Kids – Toddler Discipline Without Shame – https://www.amazon.com/No-Bad-Kids-Toddler-Discipline/dp/1499351119/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1R4GNZTI4HRKR&keywords=janet+lansbury+no+bad+kids&qid=1563812152&s=gateway&sprefix=janet+lans%2Caps%2C133&sr=8-1 “’No Bad Kids’ is a collection of Janet’s most popular and widely read articles pertaining to common toddler behaviors and how respectful parenting practices can be applied to benefit both parents and children. It covers such common topics as punishment, cooperation, boundaries, testing, tantrums, hitting, and more. Armed with knowledge and a clearer sense of the world through our children’s eyes, this period of uncertainty can afford a myriad of opportunities to forge unbreakable bonds of trust and respect.”
- Book – The Conscious Parent – Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children – “Instead of being merely the receiver of the parents’ psychological and spiritual legacy, children function as ushers of the parents’ development. Parents unwittingly pass on an inheritance of psychological pain and emotional shallowness. To handle the behavior that results, traditional books on parenting abound with clever techniques for control and quick fixes for dysfunction. In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, however, children serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.”
- Website – Magda Gerber’s Guide to respectful parenting using the RIE approach – https://www.magdagerber.org/
- Additional resources – https://respectfulparent.com/resources/