Conscious parenting is extremely challenging & it is a muscle that we all need to build. Read on for do’s, don’ts, and tips on how to tackle the challenges of conscious parenting.
If you read my previous post on conscious parenting (part 1), I am guessing that you probably thought to yourself, ‘OK, so what’s new here, I know what conscious parenting is all about?’.
Let me pause you right there because practicing conscious parenting on a daily basis is NOT the same as intellectually knowing what it is to be a conscious parent. Being a conscious parent is extremely challenging, to say the least, and it is a muscle that we all need to build.
Not trying to scare you but just being real over here.
And in case you tried to practice being a conscious parent between when you read part 1 of this post and now and felt that it is extremely taxing (and at times tortuous even) then please know that you are not alone!
First of all, parenting, in general, comes with a ton of challenges. And as we adopt a new parenting style the challenges only seem to multiply.
So let’s start by looking at some of the challenges we all face when embarking on this journey of conscious parenting and then dive into some tips on how to address those challenges.
Challenges with Conscious Parenting
1. Change takes time
Achieving optimal self-reflection and internal control to take an active part in conscious parenting isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time and dedication to ourselves and to our children so we can make changes to our own behavior and the way we control our emotions.
2. Our children will struggle and fail
As a parent, it can be hard to watch our child struggle. In conscious parenting, it’s important to allow our children to experience struggles and failures. As we give them the space they need to experience this, we also need to give them the time and patience required.
3. Conscious parenting isn’t black & white
If our personality style or our current parenting style is very black and white this may be a hard shift. There is no guideline where action “A” equals result “B” in conscious parenting. We need to be flexible in both our approach and our expectations.
4. It’s hard to let go of control
For many adults, we are conditioned to want to be in control, and relinquishing that control can be a struggle. By allowing our child to have a little more control it means we’ll have less, less dictating too which isn’t always a simple transition.
5. There isn’t always a clear course of action
Because in conscious parenting we work with our children to determine solutions and work through issues there is no set course to follow. Each situation is going to be unique and we need to adapt as such.
When adopting conscious parenting we need to focus on staying in the moment and keep our long-term goal in sight – i.e. for our children to become the best versions of themselves and for us to have a healthy relationship with them.
So, how can I be a mindful parent?
It may seem overwhelming to think of the steps we need to take to change to a more conscious parenting style, but it doesn’t need to be. The benefits of conscious parenting are tremendous and hence it is worth the efforts. Here are 3 great ways we can start to be a more conscious parent.
1. Notice your own feelings when you’re in conflict
Parenting isn’t for the faint of heart and we all have days where our children’s behavior is challenging (and even that is an understatement at times). When you are feeling conflicted take a pause, then take note of your own feelings in the situation first.
To practice this, think about your most recent argument or frustration with your child. How did you feel? What was your initial reaction or how did you impulsively respond? How did you respond? Where did that response stem from? What beliefs and thought patterns are associated with it? Then note what you could do differently the next time around. Awareness of our feelings and reactions is crucial to developing a successful conscious parenting relationship.
2. When you’re angry, pause first
Never meet your child with anger or you’ll only create an escalated situation. When you’re feeling angry it’s important to take a minute to get into a more calm state of mind. When you meet your child with a calmer state and controlled emotions, your conversation to address the situation will be much more powerful and successful.
3. Give your child the gift of your listening ear
When we have emotions or opinions, we all want the opportunity to be heard and understood. Give your child the respect they deserve when they want or need to share how they are feeling or their opinion about a situation. By listening you are showing them respect and also teaching them that they should offer the same courtesy to others. Even when you don’t agree with their viewpoint, you’re teaching them the value in respecting others and what they believe in and showing them that it’s always worth giving someone a little of your time to listen.
Given that there are no specific rules for conscious parenting doesn’t mean that our children will lack boundaries. Let’s jump in and take a look at the do’s and don’ts of conscious parenting.
The Do’s of Conscious Parenting
1. Resolve your issues first. We all have baggage. There are times that your child’s actions or behaviors will trigger a sensitive memory that may be unresolved for you. You need to take the time to resolve your issues BEFORE they negatively impact your children. In conscious parenting, your unresolved issues and/or trauma must not interfere with your parenting.
2. Connect to your child’s being. It can be really easy to fall into seeing only the exterior of your child. You need to get connected on a deeper level to be able to truly see and acknowledge them. When interacting with your child, as mentioned above be fully present (body, mind, and soul) to encourage that deeper connection.
3. Focus on the long term goal (mentioned above). When dealing with our children, it isn’t always sunshine and roses. We all have many instances in which our negative emotions are triggered, however, we need to be able to regulate them. The key in conscious parenting is to focus on building a relationship that is based on love, trust, and empathy by keeping our eye on the long-term goals we have instead of reacting in anger or with negative emotions.
4. Listen more (again, as mentioned above). We need to focus on what our children have to say. And I mean really, truly listen. Asking our children questions and listening to their perspective demonstrates to our children that they are valued and important.
5. Focus on empathy. When dealing with an action or behavior from your child, take a minute to pause and reflect on how you would respond in the same situation. By sharing this information with your child, it can help them to gain perspective, encourages their trust in you, and inspires them to look to you for future guidance.
6. Forgive. Conscious parenting includes forgiving our children for their mistakes, rather than punishing them. Spend the time to help your children understand what their mistake was, then forgive. By doing so, they will feel our positive energy and try not to repeat the same mistake.
7. Practice respectful communication. When you speak to adults, you treat them with respect and are courteous. Offer your child the same treatment. You are the first person who will teach your child to communicate and respond, and the best way to teach them to be respectful and effective is to model it. You want your children to have positive emotional intelligence to use throughout their life.
8. Create a loving and peaceful environment. Our children absorb the good and the bad that surround them equally i.e. they consciously or unconsciously model parents. By creating a positive, encouraging and safe environment for them to grow and learn, it will help them feel safe to learn and explore. Remember, even the slightest negative can affect your kiddos both short and long term.
9. Model the behavior you want to see. Children learn from what you do – monkey see, monkey do. Before you try to tell your child anything, show them through your actions. Focus on consistency in your actions and words to avoid confusing your child. If you’re asking your child to stop yelling in a loud tone of voice, it will confuse your child further.
10. Create a routine. Children thrive on routine. Routine helps them develop order in life and helps them rationalize what needs to be done, when. Routines provide security for your children making them feel safe so the sooner your start, the better.
11. Share the responsibility. Running a household and a family comes with a large list of responsibilities. By including your children in your simple household chores, it helps them to learn responsibility and makes them feel like an important part of your family. Remember to model good manners and thank your child for participating and let them know you appreciate them completing their chores.
12. Give your child a boost. Every child has unique potential and talents. You need to discover what that is and help your child master their strengths. Encourage them to explore different interests, and show a clear sign of support in the activities they partake in.
13. Maintain your health. We all want our children to live a full healthy and happy life. Model and explain a healthy routine to your children to encourage them to follow suit throughout their lives.
14. Focus on nurturing your relationship. Explain to your child the importance of healthy relationships. By modeling healthy relationships with your spouse, family, and friends you will set an excellent example for your children to follow.
15. Give unconditional love. Regardless of the circumstances, everyone likes and needs to feel love. Love acts as a safety net and encourages confidence and security in life. Exhibit and express to your children that your love towards them is unconditional.
The Don’ts of Conscious Parenting
1. Don’t treat your child as if you own him/her. Children are not property, they are human beings. Your job as a parent is to help them reach their full potential, and you need to encourage that to happen by adapting to their changing needs.
2. Don’t pressure your kids with your own agenda. The goals you had for yourself, are not up to your child to reach. You need to let your children create their own personal goals and work toward them.
3. Don’t rush it. Parenting requires patience. By giving them patience, your relationship will be centered around trust. Don’t make decisions for them. Give them time to make their own decisions, understand their decision, and come to a conclusion.
4. Don’t be overly strict. Create rules and healthy boundaries, but have the ability to relax them as needed. Embrace flexibility.
5. Try to limit the use of NO. When consciously parenting, you must try to limit the number of no’s you give your child. If you are constantly answering no to your child’s requests, they will stop asking because they already know the answer.
6. Respond without reaction. Reacting is the knee jerk response that happens in any stressful situation. Before you let that reaction get away on you, pause and focus on being present in the situation. Noticing your breathing and focusing on feeling grounded to the earth can both help you be present in the moment. Think through your reaction to the situation and then respond mindfully. By taking a moment to be present in the situation, you will have a better understanding of the reasons for your child’s inappropriate behavior which can help you learn how to control it next time.
Why is it especially important in today’s world to practice conscious parenting?
We all know that the world can be a really cruel place at times. When we open social media or watch the news, we see a world full of hatred and cruelty. Because of the way that the world is, we need to raise our children to be self-aware, self-confident, respectful, empathetic, and compassionate beings.
When we raise our children to be self-aware, it will serve them well through their teen, young adult, and adult years. Self-aware individuals are important to improving our society and world. As parents, we have a profound impact on how our children leave their mark on the world. Self-aware children are conscious about the way they treat others, how respectful they are, and how they perceive people who are different from them.
This quality is one that is incredibly important in today’s world.
With the continued rise of social media, cyberbullying and the general vibe of the world, self-respect, and self-confidence are two of the best qualities we can instill in our children. There are going to be times in life when our children experience less than desirable treatment. When these experiences happen, a self-respecting and self-confident child will recover better than one who doesn’t have those skills.
As a parent, it is important that we give our children the ability to know their worth even when someone tries to take it away from them.
And conscious parenting helps us celebrate our children for who they are and further support them in being the amazing humans they are.
Lastly, do note that conscious parenting isn’t only benefitting our children but it is making us better individuals too. It is especially important for us to care for our inner child and raise ourselves as we raise our children!
If you need help to identify how to heal your inner child then book a complimentary breakthrough coaching call with me today!
“As a parent, to the degree you are able to recognize that your children are in your life to foster a renewed sense of who you are, you will discover their potential to lead you to the discovery of your own true being.”