How do you raise your children consciously so that they grow up to be healthy in body, mind, and spirit?
How do you manage to stay calm, when your child pushes you to the wall?
How do you connect with your children as they are?
If you are trying to find answers to these questions, then conscious parenting is the answer. Consciousness, as a concept, is something which you can understand but may find difficult to practice. However, a consistent practice may help you get better at it.
What Is Conscious Parenting?
Conscious parenting (CP) is about being mindful and conscious in all your interactions with your child. It is about connecting with your children at a deeper level and nurturing their essence.
It requires a change in the way you view your child’s behavior and respond consciously to his/her needs. Simply put, it means, seeing your children as they are, or seeing the “spirit or the essence of their being”.
[ Read: Democratic Parenting Style ]
CP doesn’t operate on specific rules; however, it doesn’t mean having zero boundaries for your children.
You can understand the concept better after knowing the dos and don’ts or the principles of conscious parenting.
The Dos And Don’ts Of Conscious Parenting
Traditional parenting stresses, “I am a parent, and you are my child, you need to follow me, because I have been raised that way.” Conscious parenting is about the paradigm shift from traditional parenting.
The 15 things conscious parents do:
Let’s see what you need to do to be a conscious parent:
- Focus on your long-term goal: Indiscipline and disobedience on your child’s part can trigger your negative emotions. If you are unable to regulate your emotions, you fail at being a conscious parent. The key in conscious parenting is to focus on your long-term goal; to build a relationship based on love, trust, and empathy rather than losing your cool.
- Listen more and talk less: Listen to what your children have got to say. Ask your children questions and listen to their answers to understand their perspective. That way they feel heard and valued.
- Forgive them: Don’t punish them for their faults but help them understand their mistake. Forgive them so that they will see your intention and try not to repeat their mistakes.
- Connect to the “being” of your child: You need to strive to see, connect, and acknowledge your child at the core level, instead of seeing the exterior of your child. You can do this by being present (in body, mind, and soul) for your child in all your interactions.
- Resolve your issues: At times, your child’s actions may hit a sensitive memory that you haven’t made peace with. It is essential for you to resolve your issues before they affect you and your children. You can do so by talking it out with your partner or through connecting with your inner self. Your insecurities must not impact your parenthood.
[ Read: Negative And Positive Parenting ]
- Be courteous in your communication: Talk to your child like you are talking to an adult – respect them and be courteous. As a parent, you are the first teacher to your child, hence teach them how to communicate as well as respond. Your child takes in all the emotional learning from you and uses it later in their interactions.
- Create a loving and peaceful environment: Your child absorbs everything equally, good or bad. Hence, create an environment that is positive, encouraging, and safe for them to explore and learn. Any negative element in the environment can affect them, leading to inhibitions or phobias.
- Behave the way you want your child to be: Children learn from what you do rather than what you say. So, before you tell them something, show it to them through your behavior. Be consistent in your words and actions. If they don’t match, it will confuse your child. For instance, you don’t want your child to shout, so you tell him, “don’t shout” at the top of your voice. He might ask you, “Then why are you shouting mom?”
- Create a daily routine: By having a routine for daily activities, your child will know what needs to be done, when, and how. Routine helps children to develop order in life. When their routine is set early in their childhood, it helps them follow it naturally. Children feel safe when there is routine in their life.
- Be empathetic: Before you respond to your child, take a pause, and reflect on how you would act if you were in your child’s place in a particular situation. That can help them gain a perspective and respond accordingly. When you are empathetic, your child begins trusting you and looks up to you for advice.
- Love them unconditionally: All of us like to be loved, so do children. Love provides them a safety net, makes them feel confident, and secure. Children are perceptive to the emotions of the parents, so any negative feeling that you project can scare or confuse them.
- Share household responsibilities: Assigning simple household chores makes your children feel not only responsible but also a part of the family. Always remember to thank your child for completing a task and appreciate their good work.
[ Read: Permissive Parenting ]
- Boost your child’s abilities: Every child has potential and talent. You need to tap into that potential. Identify the skills in your children and help them master them. Motivate them to cultivate varied interests, talk to them, and involve yourself in their activities to let them know that they have your support.
- Form and nurture the relationships: Form loving and long-lasting relationships with your spouse, relatives, and friends. Explain to your children the need to have healthy relationships.
- Stay healthy: You want your children to be happy and healthy. And for that, you should be happy and practice healthy living. Explain to your kids the importance of following a healthy routine. You are everything for your children, hence you need to keep yourself healthy in body and mind.
Conscious parenting means not just doing the right things but also not doing the incorrect things.
The 6 things conscious parents don’t do:
- Don’t own your child: Don’t treat your children as your personal property. You are just helping them grow to fulfill their potential; you need to facilitate that process by being aware of their changing needs.
- Don’t rush in parenting: Dealing with children requires patience. Don’t make hasty decisions for them. You need to take time out, understand them, and then reach a conclusion. Having patience helps your children trust and rely on you.
- Don’t impose your agenda on the child: Your children cannot fulfill your goals. You cannot use them to reach what you haven’t. They will have their personal goals and aspirations. Let them discover that for themselves
- Don’t say too many ‘nos’: If your constant answer to your child’s requests is a ‘no,’ then they will stop asking you anything because they already know your answer.
- Don’t react but respond: Reacting is a typical approach while responding is a matured approach to understand your children’s behavior. Before you react impatiently, pause and feel conscious or mindful/present. You can try doing it by noticing your breath, feeling your feet connected to the earth, counting breath, and other relaxation techniques. Contemplate your reaction to the situation. A mindful response includes understanding the reasons for your child’s inappropriate behavior and discovering up with ways to control it the next time.
- Don’t be rigid: Don’t be strict and rigid with them. Have rules, but have provisions to relax them.
It is easy to shout at the child or impose your views on them. But it is more challenging to be a parent who is mature enough to value their child’s opinion and respect their views. CP is not easy; hence we have some tips for you to make it doable.
[ Read: Parenting Problems And Solutions ]
Tips For Conscious Parenting
We can always strive to become better parents than what we are today. The following tips can help you in conscious parenting:
- Be reasonable in your expectations: When you have high expectations, you are bound to put pressure on the child to perform. Allow the child to grow naturally, and give them targets that are age-appropriate and fair.
- Be serious: Never mock or criticize your children’s actions or opinions. It affects their confidence, and they may stop sharing their views with you the next time. Instead, listen carefully to what they have to say and offer your feedback.
- Take a step back: As parents, we often have the urge to interfere in our children’s lives. But that can draw them away from you. Allow appropriate space and decision-making based on your child’s age. Give them freedom to make their decisions and guide them where necessary.
- Regulate your emotions in your interactions: It is easy to get upset and angry when your child disobeys you. But the focus here is to stay calm and assertive while being kind irrespective of the situation.
- Meditate and relax: Meditation helps you connect with your inner self and relaxes your senses. If silent meditation is not appealing, guided meditations can be wonderful. When your mind is at ease, you may be able to become more patient and tolerant, and these qualities help you respond compassionately with children.
Conscious parenting urges you to change your perspective on parenting. And why not because parenting is a privilege as our children help us transform into better individuals. CP prepares the ideal environment for you and your child to develop physically, mentally, and spiritually.
[ Read: Authoritative vs Authoritarian Parenting ]
Have you been practicing conscious parenting? If yes, share your experiences by commenting below.
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