Conscious Parenting is not a set of rules for parents to follow, but a set of beliefs about what children need to develop and thrive.
I’m going to ask you to step outside the traditional box of parental thinking and re-frame everything you thought you knew about how kids learn and what they need to grow into mature, responsible adults!
This is where you will learn to engage and connect with your children using emotionally intelligent discipline rather than punitive methods.
This does not require you to abandon all of your parenting practices, just to be mindful as you shift your thinking about what kids need and start to decode what’s really going on behind the behavior.
Give your child the benefit of the doubt and a different experience than YOU had.
Choose to give your child quality feedback about how to respond to the world. Through our experiences, we collect, sort, and file away our emotional memories as reference points. How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by the patterns that are set-up in early childhood.
This foundation is built upon memory after memory – shaping our abilities, perspective and outlook. Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviors, empathy, abilities, cognitive processing and even our immune function – by altering what we experience within the context of our primary relationships.
Conscious parenting deepens your child’s basic trust in the world and secures your influence as something to be regarded as reliable and safe.
Fill the hearts and minds of your children with acceptance, understanding, and confidence. Try these three conscious parenting tips to start building a more influential relationship with your child.
- CHECK YOUR LANGUAGE
– is it sarcastic, cruel, degrading, impatient, callous or otherwise disconnecting in tone or attitude – verbally or non-verbally?
- CHECK YOUR EXPECTATIONS
– is your request developmentally appropriate? Can you control the environment to meet your needs w/out your child’s help?
- CHECK YOUR SELF-REGULATION
– is your manner calm and confident? Are your limits set with kindness regardless of how your child reacts? Can you remain non-argumentative in the face of an upset child?
HELP IS HERE
I want to help you shift from a traditional (power-based) view of parenting to a conscious (relational) view, so you can bring the focus back to building stronger bonds between you and your kids. A secure attachment is built with timely responses to a child’s needs and by using empathy to resolve conflict.
When you make it a priority to create a safe place for the expression of ALL feelings and needs – you will create change in your home.
This does not mean that you allow unsafe or inappropriate behaviors or that you ignore setting limits. It means that you have faith that age-appropriate cooperation will come with time and maturity and by developing an emotional connection with your child.
Empathetic understanding, tolerance and the validation of needs, along with consistent modeling of self-regulation and mindful practices will nurture your child’s growth in positive ways.
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Your influence will be stronger with a loving, non-judgmental approach to discipline than with fear-based, conditional techniques aimed at seeking at short-term compliance or unwavering obedience.
It is time to understand how punishment disconnects us from our children and emphasizes conditional love. It is time to recognize that solutions and acceptance can’t always occur in the exact moment of conflict because they require reflection.
Moving to a place of reflection takes time.
It takes a certain brain state which is unavailable in times of stress or fear and totally unavailable if the skills are lacking because of experience or stage.
First, we need to process and regulate our emotions.
Regulation is the key to successful problem-solving. The state of regulation is not present during an emotional meltdown because our stress response system takes over the body’s major functions.
It takes a mature brain, unconditional support, and lots of repetition for the lessons about proper behavior, good decision making and other higher-order skills to sink in and cement into positive behavioral patterns in our children.
Development of the most complex brain skills happens slowly and unfolds uniquely, over time, for each child.
Here are some general tips recommended by the work of speaker and author, Alfie Kohn’s, and his books on unconditional parenting and education.
13 PRINCIPLES OF CONSCIOUS PARENTING
by Alfie Kohn
- Be reflective.
- Reconsider your requests.
- Stay focused on your long-term goals.
- Put your relationship first.
- Change how you see not just how you act.
- Be authentic.
- Talk less, ask more.
- Be mindful of your child’s age.
- Attribute to children the best possible motive consistent with the facts.
- Don’t stick to no’s unnecessarily.
- Don’t be rigid.
- Don’t be in a hurry.
If you are ready to start your conscious parenting path, click here to start by learning the five BIGGEST communication mistakes parents make (and what to say instead).
I love hearing from you, so leave me a comment below. Share your stories, let me know what conscious parenting tips work for you or post your challenges and find support.
And if you benefited from this article, consider sharing it with a friend!
Related article: Conscious Parenting: Return to Unconditional Parenting