Conscious Parenting: 3 Ways You Can Implement This Today
In this nutrition bite, we delve into a unique, lesser-known, highly effective parenting style with guidelines everyone can benefit from!
Parenting is a wonderful whirlwind of a journey that is experienced and felt differently by each parent.
There’s no standard or correct way to go about raising happy and healthy children. With that said, there’s a wealth of information out there on parenting styles, and rightfully so!
What’s more important than raising the future generation in the best way we know how?
The most commonly known parenting styles and their meanings can be derived in their names. There’s Authoritative, Disciplinarian, Permissive and Uninvolved parenting.
There’s a new parenting style on the block that’s resonated so well with us, we had to share it with you!
This parenting style is known as Conscious Parenting.
What Is Conscious Parenting?
Conscious parenting is a style that’s a blend of eastern philosophy and western psychology. It puts focus on the parents themselves, with mindfulness taking front and center to this style.
The core philosophy is that parenting struggles, which traditionally would be viewed as a reaction to a child’s undesirable behavior, are actually the result of the parent’s “unconsciousness.”
This unconsciousness can hinder parents from being present and proactive with their parenting, and instead more reactive and negative.
Conscious Parenting emphasizes being mindful so parents can act in a calm, aware and centered state of mind in the face of their children, regardless of their behavior.
For example, an inconsolable toddler is understandably a stressful situation.
Instead of telling your toddler to stop crying and losing your patience if they’re unable to, Conscious Parenting asks you to check in with yourself and answer these questions before engaging with your child:
- Why is this crying stressing me out?
- Why should my toddler stop crying just because I told them to?
- Is this crying really a bad thing?
- What need does my child have that isn’t being met?
Through these reflections, a parent may realize that it’s not the crying that’s stressing them out, but the lack of control they have over the situation, the assumption that their child shouldn’t be crying, and the guilt that comes with having a child who isn’t happy.
Conscious Parenting asks that you let go of the need for control, and shift your focus to guiding your child through the experience, making them feel safe and seen, and leading to a shorter emotional release. (Which is really all crying is!)
It can help parents accept toddlers as they are…real human beings who get hurt and feel sadness. Crying is a normal, healthy part of being human, and Conscious Parenting aims to make us more present with what is really going on, which often leads to a less stressful experience for everyone.
3 Ways You Can Implement Conscious Parenting Today
- Model The Behavior You Want To See From Them
Children are more receptive to what you do as opposed to what you say. Modeling the way you’d want them to behave is far more effective than telling them.
Example: Changing your tone of voice
When children appear not to be listening to you, instead of yelling at them, go to them, get down to their level, make eye contact to form a connection, then speak calmly. Likewise, when they try to speak with you, listen and be present. Validating or naming their feelings goes a long way and teaches them vocabulary for their emotions.
- Change Your Mindset
Don’t think of discipline as punishment. Think of it as an opportunity to teach missing skills. Where punishment looks to suppress a child’s needs using fear, teaching healthy communication and learning/advocating for your needs are skills that will benefit your child and your relationship with them for life.
- Help Children Understand What They CAN Do Instead Of What They Cannot Do
Children are sponges eager to soak up knowledge, and look to you to help them navigate their world. Describing only what they (or anyone) should not do leads to feeling limited and sets them up for failure. Instead, discuss the basic behaviors you would like to see and help them understand why they’re desirable for them, not just you. Include plans for what to do when needs are not met, such as having a song to sing, or having a simple word to help express a need.
Defined boundaries help children understand what’s possible for them as opposed to rigid restrictions. Still, do remember that these are guidelines, not strict rules, and your child is not a “mini adult.”
Their beautiful brains are still developing, and while effective communication and plans are helpful, Conscious Parenting is most useful for helping to shift your response to when things do not go as planned.
In the words of Sam Rader, “One of the most generous acts of love we can provide for our children is to do our own emotional work.”
That’s exactly what acclaimed filmmakers Dr. Pedram Shojai and Nick Polizzi set out to do by interviewing dozens of experts, parents and even kids to create a new 9-part docuseries called…