Conscious Parenting is ALL about connection over control. When I first had my son I had this undeniable feeling that he was his own special being. That it was not my job to mold him into the person that I want him to become but rather it was my job to create an environment where he felt comfortable being the truest expression of himself.
I personally grew up in alcoholic home and over the past few years I've learned a lot about generational trauma and pain cycles. After giving birth to Carter I really focused a lot of my attention on healing and breaking my own trauma cycle. Conscious parenting is away for me to look at my own emotions before just subconsciously responding to my child and most of the time I am able to consciously connect to what he needs.
There are 7 Key Principles to Conscious Parenting
1) Parenting is a Relationship
Children are their own unique people who can teach parents. Many of us learn very quickly that our children make us realize and gain new knowledge. They are more curious, present, imaginative and playful, which tends to push us to embrace this lost part of ourselves. I have so much fun playing super heroes or going to the moon with my son. Life is meant to be enjoyed and our children give us a huge lesson in learning to have some freaking FUN!
2) Let Go of The Ego
Parents release their own desires, wishes, and attachments to who their child is or isn't. Sorry but your child is NOT your redo to becoming the cheerleader, football player, lawyer, Doctor etc. that you yourself did not become. Guess what? They have their own interests, talents, purpose and desires. It's our job to help them on their life path not to push them into who we want or think they should become.
3) Focus on Yourself
Instead of forcing behaviors on the child, parents should focus on their own language, expectations and self-regulation. For example, I noticed I was using Don't and No a lot with my toddler, so guess what? He started mirroring back to me this behavior. I instead started asking him or communicating to him what I actually wanted him to do. He's a toddler so sometimes this still takes A LOT of patience or redirecting but this was such a good life lesson for me. Also, our children will do what we do, NOT what we tell them to do. So you can't eat like crap and ask your child to make healthy food decisions. You can't constantly critique yourself and body mama and expect your daughter to love hers. They are listening and watching us. We must model the behaviors that we desire them to inhabit in life.
4) Positive Reinforcement
Rather than reacting to issues with consequences, parents should establish boundaries ahead of time and use positive reinforcement. Has yelling or time out actually worked for you? Yeah didn't think so, I have found this usually flames the fire, especially with my toddler. They need to know their boundaries and get positive praise or a reward.
5) Look at the Process
When momentary problems arise (e.g., a temper tantrum), it's important to look at the process. What led up to this event and what does it mean in the overall view? For example, when my toddler is in tantrum mode I need to take a look at; is he hungry, did he nap, is he trying to communicate and can't? Many of us might subconsciously react with frustration, anger or agitation and this doesn't help your child it only confuses and makes them react even more.
6) Children Need to Learn Through Struggle
Parenting is not just about making a child happy. Children can grow and develop through struggles. A parent's ego and needs should not prevent the child from their growth! We are all so quick to help, fix or get involved in our children's challenges because we want our children to succeed (and we want to look good, don't lie). Instead we need to allow them to try and figure out the solution themselves. Even with my toddler I have him try a few times before I step in and help him a little.
Accepting our children requires being present and engaging in whatever situations present themselves. We can not plan or predict who our child will be. The power of parenting is in the present moment by meeting are child exactly where and who they are.
Hope this helps you mama! If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment. I'll also be opening up a group program soon called The Connection Cure. If you are interested in joining a group of mamas who want to learn more about conscious parenting then drop me an email at email@example.com.
The Rebel Soul Mama
Shannon McAlister | Educator, wifey and conscious mama who is practicing mindful living + appreciating the everyday magic!