It’s no walk in the park. And as parents, we’re always seeking new ways to improve our parenting styles.
Maybe you’re going through a challenging time right now, and this is why you’re here. You’re struggling to become the parent you wish to be. You’ve read all the books and listened to all the podcasts on the topic. But still, you’re not getting the results you want.
You’re in need of a mindset shift, and a new perspective on the tough but beautiful job called parenting.
In this article, I’d like to introduce you to something called conscious parenting. You may have heard of it. It’s a method of parenting that is becoming increasingly popular due to its effectiveness in helping parents create a healthy relationship with their children.
What is conscious parenting?
In a nutshell, to parent consciously is to create a healthy relationship with your children. It involves being mindful about your behaviour and interactions with them.
Conscious parenting entails ‘unlearning’ some of what you’ve been taught about traditional parenting, and trying a new approach.
This new approach, which largely involves you changing and developing yourself as a person, will help you create healthier ways of relating with your children.
So with that being said, what are some of the things you can do to become a conscious parent? Changing from reactive to consciously responsive parenting can be overwhelming. So to simplify things for you, I have five easy tips you can start applying now to help you become a more conscious parent.
Many of us are products of the upbringing we’ve had, and the environments we grew up in. Becoming more self-aware of your habits, behaviour and attitude is central to becoming a conscious parent.
Start abandoning some beliefs about yourself, especially negative ones. Identify some of the behavioural patterns you have, that can be damaging to both you and your children.
Enhancing self-awareness can be challenging. Confronting truths about yourself may open up some wounds. But ultimately, the healing and changing that’ll come about being honest with yourself is worth it.
You might be wondering, what are some things I can do to become more self-aware, that will make me a conscious parent? Here are some tips:
- Journal. Journaling is an excellent way of getting to know yourself. Being open and honest about your thoughts, beliefs and feelings.
- Read self-help books. They’re full of benefit and wisdom.
- Mediate. Being quiet with yourself and your thoughts for a few minutes each day can enhance self-awareness.
- Talk to someone. Talking to people who know you well can be helpful. It can make you recognize things about yourself you hadn’t otherwise noticed.
Control your reactions.
Picture this scene.
You’ve just spent the last two hours cleaning your house. You’ve dusted, tidied the mess and mopped the floors. You warn your children several times that when they come home from playing outside, they must remove their shoes.
Except they don’t.
Instead, they come home with their muddy shoes and dirty the floors you just mopped and polished.
We’ve all been there.
Your natural reaction is to scream. Shout. Raise your voice and tell them off. A conscious parent stops themselves from doing this.
Instead of being reactive, you align with your intention to be more conscious in your parenting approach.
This will take some practice, trial and error. Especially if your first instincts are always to become angry. But after a while, you’ll notice that reacting calmly will come more easily to you.
Be mindful of your language
Being mindful of the language we use around our children is also important to conscious parenting.
Language has a huge impact on children’s self esteem. And it’s important that we’re conscious about the kinds of words we use, as they can have a lasting effects.
Language can determine if your relationship will be healthy with your child. How they feel, and if they consider themselves safe around you. How comfortable they are in your presence, and if they believe you love them.
A conscious parent asks themselves these questions:
- Is my language supportive?
- Are my words gentle?
- What is my tone of voice when I communicate with my children?
- Do I put them down?
- Do I insult them?
- Does my language project an energy of love?
- Do I project my own frustrations onto them when I speak to them?
- Do I show understanding through my words?
Listen to your children
Treating your children as individuals, and listening to what they have to say is also a core tenant of parenting consciously.
When you listen to your children, you make them feel important. You teach them that you value their opinion even if they are young. And most importantly, you show them that you respect them. This is something a conscious parent values.
A conscious parent listens to what his or her child has to say without judgement. They allow space for communication, to better understand their child. They understand that as humans, they too are prone to making mistakes.
Change and develop yourself
This tip ties in a little with the first tip on enhancing self-awareness. The most important task you need to do on your journey to becoming a more conscious parent isn’t changing your children. It’s changing yourself.
It’s developing good habits and characteristics your children will then learn from.
Dr Shefali, who is an expert on conscious parenting, writes in her book The Conscious Parent: “While you may believe your most important challenge is to raise your children well, there’s an even more essential task you need to attend to, which is the foundation of effective parenting. This task is to raise yourself into the most awakened and present individual you can be.”
Our children are products of our parenting. The kind of person we are towards them can and will shape them. So we should always try to become the best versions of ourselves. Don’t let this scare you. It’s a process and it takes patience. Allow room for failure and mistakes, but always try to do better.
This is what parenting consciously is all about, always striving to be and do better.
There you have it. Five tips you can start practising today to parent more consciously. Since applying them all at once can be challenging, I suggest you start with one and build up from there.
If you’d like some one to one guidance on parenting more consciously, I advise you to check out this coaching program http://lifecoachingwithnarriman.co.za/single-parenting/ designed specifically for individuals looking to improve their parenting approach.
As I said above, we’re all seeking new and better ways to parent consciously and raise our children well. Reading this blog post is just a start, take the next steps and start evolving yourself into the best mother you can be. Make it count.