Is that even a thing?!
Growing up, conscious parenting was not something that was practiced in my home. I didn’t know anything about it but I knew I would do some things differently when I became a parent. What is conscious parenting? Conscious parenting is basically focusing on the parent and/or caregiver and how mindfulness can influence parenting choices. When I had my first daughter, it was so easy to be mindful of my words and actions. As she got older and started really showing her personality and adding another child into the mix, it became much harder.
I was tired and burnt out. I was consistently pouring myself into my children without even considering my own needs. I didn’t mind because that’s what moms do right?! It shouldn’t be because we can’t pour from an empty cup! I wasn’t conscious anymore. I was just trying to make it through the day and make my children listen to me. At times, I made things worse because I wasn’t in control of my own emotions. I felt powerless and like a failure.
Once I realized what I was doing just wasn’t working, I knew I had to try something different. Coincidently, my school introduced conscious discipline, which is a program that helps adults manage their emotions in order to help children manage theirs. It’s all about conflict resolution and connection with our kiddos and it was just what I didn’t know I needed! I had to learn how to change my language when dealing with conflict, how to take a moment to breathe so that I could remain calm and essentially download calmness onto my children and how to recognize the role my own behavior contributed to escalated situations.
Here are a few key elements of conscious parenting:
- Parenting is a relationship. Children are capable of teaching parents through their own uniqueness.
- Conscious parenting is about letting go of a parent’s ego, desires, and attachments. (This one!!!)
- Parents should focus on their own language, their expectations, and their self-regulation instead of forcing things on their children.
- Parents should establish boundaries and use positive reinforcement versus initially responding with consequences.
- Parenting is not just about making a child happy. Children can grow and develop through struggles. Parent’s ego can prevent children’s growth!
- Acceptance requires being present and engaging with whatever situations present themselves.
I’ve been practicing mindfulness for a couple of years now and while I am still learning…..I have come so far!! I have grown to be more empathetic to the needs of my children even if it seems miniscule to me! However, sometimes I feel like I am too emotionally available for my kids. Is that even a thing?! It’s almost as if my girls know that I am going to help them through whatever so they’ve become a bit more needy….if that makes sense.
As much as I want to be there for them, sometimes it’s just a struggle. It’s almost as if my daughters take turns fighting for my attention. I feel like I can’t breathe at times because I am always being summoned through tears, screaming, cuddles and lately more sibling rivalry. I CAN”T WIN!!! I know that it’s my job to help them navigate through big emotions and their behavior is telling me they have a need that should be addressed but all the time though?? There has to be some limit to this right?!
Maybe I should start a petition that limits the amount of times kids can have emotional breakdowns in one day!! Lol. Idk...I think it’s a good idea but that’s just me!! Okay, okay...I digress. To be honest, I have moments where I question whether or not conscious parenting is the right thing to do because sometimes it just seems like way more work. However, when I really sit back and think about the children I work with at school and the missing tools they come into the building with…..I know that it will all be worth it in the end. After all, I am raising my children NOW for the amazing individuals they will become LATER.
In the meantime, check on your friends who practice gentle parenting! They might need a hug or some wine! Lol.