Today I want to talk about a subject very close to my heart as a mum of three…Conscious Parenting.
All I ever wanted to do from such a young age was to have kids. I remember my parents friends would leave their kids with me and used to say how I had such a way with them.
So when I became pregnant with my first child I felt a mixture of emotions. I had only met Colin, my now husband 6 months previous and went into so much fear as to what the future would look like as we hadn’t discussed children.
I was just really getting my life together after my suicide attempt 7 months previous, before I even met Colin, so things were moving very fast. I remember sitting, after hitting rock bottom and reading the secret, given to me by my dear friend Eamon and who knew a book could change your life.
It’s why I encourage people to read, I mention it in every podcast episode and with every client session or group live I do….’To read is to LEAD’ so I want to stop here and recommend this book; The Awakened Family by Dr Shefali Tsabary…A revolution in parenting.
After reading The Secret, by Rhonda Byrne, a self help book that embarks to motivate the reader about an universal paradigm about success and true happiness through the laws of attraction. Now I have learnt a lot since then, almost 14 years ago and don’t agree that its as easy as all that but it was the hope I needed at the time to take back my control and create the life for me rather than feeling powerless to a system of control.
I remember writing down a list of 55 things I wanted in a partner 😆 but they didn’t tell you not to leave anything out so I forget to mention the house work! I started visualising the life I wanted with a husband, kids, working for myself and I could feel things shift and boom 7 months later I have met someone, I’m about to have a baby and I’m completing my Holistic Nutrition diploma.
I found being pregnant easy but hadn’t a clue what I was doing when I actually gave birth, namely because I hadn’t done it before and was a control freak and the best thing you can do is surrender to the unknown.
My first child Ava taught me so much about how not to parent because I did many things wrong. I had only delved into personal development but didn’t know that having children shines a massive light on all those wounds and disintegrations so in order to be the best version I could be for her, for my partner and for myself I had to be more conscious- hence the term conscious parenting.
My husband had his own unheralded wounds to work through, he is an only child, which is something I hadn’t anticipated being an issue, although I did joke about it when we met. Unlike me he had actually done much more inner work than me so taught me a lot about not telling the kids they are bad, simply they did a bad thing which I now understand is the guilt/shame thing. We all do things that are not correct as we are learning but it doesn’t mean we are inherently bad. When we are told we are bad then we hold this low vibration emotion called shame in our bodies for many years, even lifetimes. When we understand or are told that we just simply did a bad thing it is different, we feel guilt and can’t release that and heal by learning from the experience. There is such a difference.
Conscious parenting asks that instead of striving to ‘fix’ your child, parents look inwards at themselves. It views children as independent beings, which they are, still in development, who can teach parents to become more self aware.
I love to always use the term ‘OUR CHILD ARE OUR GREATEST TEACHERS’.
The conscious parent teaches, through love, so if you as an adult do not love and understand yourself then parenting consciously will be a struggle. Hence the need for us, as adults to be conscious.
Being conscious is really being in touch with the ‘awareness’ that experiences your thoughts and emotions in the first place. It is understanding that we are more than our human body, we have a higher aspect, a soul self that is not outside of us. Just like God is not outside of us, he/she is within and every choice we make has an affect. So the more conscious we are with our choices, our words, our purchases, the food we consume, the tv we watch etc they more awareness we have to the world around us and are fully in our power. Being fully in your power is not destructive, it is knowing yourself, loving your self, understanding yourself even if no one else gets you or likes you. Self acceptance. With that acceptance of self comes a freedom, a joy, a peace, unlike no other and then you pass that down to you children and they feel the freedom to be and become who they are meant to be in this world which is simply love.
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.
Conscious parents engage and connect with their children using emotionally intelligent discipline choices rather than punitive methods according to ‘teach through love’ because the brain thrives on connection and empathy….
In fact, it’s the same for us adults and now more than ever we need these two things, but in order to do this we have to find this within ourselves, which is why self care and doing the inner work is so important.
It’s not about throwing all of the rules out, as in my opinion, kids need structure and guidance. It’s about being mindful of your thinking and what’s really going on behind kids behaviour…ie why they do and say what they do. I use my intuition a lot when I am parenting so that really helps to develop and practice using that intuitive muscle and again this goes back to knowing yourself.
Let’s give an example….my kids, like any kids fight.
There is two years between my 1st and 2nd and only 18 months between my 2nd and 3rd.
Ava (12) and Max (10) my 1st and 2nd born get on really well and Max and Boe (9) my 2nd and 3rd born get on really well but all 3 together is a disaster….3s a crowd and all that.
My eldest and youngest really struggle together, 1 because of the 4 year age gap and 2, because they are the same sex and total opposite so they are here to teach the other (more on that later) like they are showing each other a part of themselves that they don’t like and need to see, accept and love.
For years I ignored this fighting and tried all the usual parenting methods involving the step, go to your room, typical punishment methods…and what I didn’t realise was I was shaming them. I was creating and repeating this pattern and like me I was risking years of therapy to undo this shame as its one of the lowest vibration emotions, that can take over our whole system and leave us feeling empty, like not whole. It’s the main reason people come to see me for coaching, even though they don’t realise it at the time…that wholeness and integration of self.
They didn’t know. They are just being children. They rely on me for guidance as I am the parent…they are simply following their human instincts just like I had done and the had seen over the years. Like them, I had watched my parents fight and argue and I was just repeating the pattern because I didn’t know but now we do know so we can become more conscious and that starts within.
Being conscious simply means that you are in touch with the root of who you are…this is why the first question I encourage people to ask and explore is ‘who am I?’ self awareness I suppose…why we do and say the things we do… our kids need us to guide them in this world…if we do not know ourselves how can we help them. It really is all about you…we get told the opposite as children. We get told to put others first but this has created the root problems around self care as we feel so guilty doing, being and saying what feels right for us in any given moment and actually we don’t even know how we have been so conditioned over the generations until we become aware.
I always like examples so….A recent argument with all three of my kids involved the trampoline. I could hear them screaming….the old me would have ran out like a tyrant screaming and shouting with them scaring them into conforming and I felt in control but then it got worse as we can’t control anything or anyone.
What I have learned as a conscious adult and therefore, a conscious parent is, when triggered (you can actually feel this viscerally in your body the more aware you become). I encourage people to meditate to come back to self, back into alignment so therefore it’s obvious when something comes in front he left field to knock us:
1) Take a deep breath and ground yourself so you feel safe (remember you are having a reaction) and bring your fully present self and not your triggered self into the exchange (essential oils are like gold dust where conscious parenting is concerned as they are quick reminders to breath and shift your energy).
2) Do your research and sit and listen before you approach ( It’s hard to not march in like a bear in a china shop shouting at the top of your voice believe me I know but just take a minute to gather up all the facts) This will feel like you have some sort of control but remember you don’t know how it started and we all need too be seen and heard so let them tell you their version of events.
3) You be the calm as you approach and they will feed off your energy. Ask each of them to tell their version of events and this is where your intuition comes in and not blaming as they are just children learning as Earth is a school in itself. Remember shame is we are bad, guilt is we did a bad thing so concentrate on the learning and that you are there to guide them with examples about what they could have said or dealt with the situation.
4) I literally help them diffuse their fight or flight by getting them to breath with an essential oil. Something earthy like Doterra Balance, Doterra Air (has cardamom for anger) or Doterra Black Spruce.
Essential oils and generally taking a deep breathe brings us back to the present moment so we can gather our thoughts and feel safe. There is a part in the brain that regulates emotions that can only be accessed via smell and kids respond very well to them. I have just ordered my youngest her own kids emotions essential oil kit from Doterra so if anyone wants to know more about essential oils send me a message as I became a Wellness Advocate with Doterra about 4 years ago when I started using them with the kids and then my own self care.
4) Then I ask each one of them to speak and tell their version of events and ask the other one to respect and allow the other to be heard as they will get their turn….Kids like us adults just want to be heard and listened to. It’s not about who’s right or wrong or who did and said what in the heat of the argument…it about getting to the source behaviour and the trigger (emotional reaction). We also have to work on our triggers because when kids fight or do something it can awaken old wounds in us as parents which is why we need to be conscious of them which I will touch on below with an example concerning my husband. Once they have told me their version of events I am able to work out the source and how it started.
5) Ask them how that made them feel to get them to identify an emotion. Abraham Hicks ‘scale of emotions’ chart is a great reference tool and show them the next emotion up that wants to be felt and above all make no one right or wrong, it’s also learning but if one of them did do something that needs addressed I would do it separately and gage whether that was the right time as space maybe needed. See image below.
I help them understand the power of communication and setting the rules out at the beginning so everyone is clear. If one is finished (usually my eldest) she tends to walk off in a huff I explain just say that you are finished now and want to go in and that it’s nothing anyone has done rather than feeling obliged to stay.
How our kids can trigger our old wounds
My husband, Colin, loves football…in fact, it was all he knew as a child and ate, slept and breathed it…he had no interest in school and studying and didn’t need to as he was snapped up by the well known club Man United when he was just 15 years old and became part of their well infamous class of 92 with Ryan Gigs and David Beckam etc…
Needless to say as you won’t know him as his career ended very abruptly with a severe back injury at age 17 and he was told he could not play at professional level again as it was so severe and this destroyed him. He also spent many years working on himself through the self development circle to work through this disappointment, failure and false beliefs but there is always another layer to heal as I tell my clients.
Colin followed his true passion in life and as a result didn’t have a fall back with qualifications and so developed a ‘not good enough belief’ and a deep regret of not having these qualifications to fall back on.
Let’s zoom forward into the future as a parent and Max is expressing an interest in football and, like his dad is talented but loses focus and concentration and with lock down we really noticed this when trying to do the home schooling…this really triggered my husband and he really struggled at this time with the home schooling because he so deeply wanted Max to not experience what he did and feel as a child and do well academically. Thankfully, after some time and some timely feedback he noticed his reactions were not healthy, he was pushing too hard as an old wound was being triggered in him. Thankfully was able to do some inner work on this to have more awareness of the source memory so he wasn’t triggered and Max could feel free to simply be himself and not have such high expectations. We still, however had to help Max with some rules around devices during the school week and thankfully his concentration has improved and he feels happier in himself too.
When we are triggered we feel fear and we want to control to feel safe. One way to do this is to transfer onto others. We don’t want to feel pain so we can make it about our children and they need fixed, or they need to see a therapist or dietician etc….but it’s about us…they carrying for us and this can be how patterns and behaviours get passed down through generations.
At the root of all of us as parents we want what is best for our children, we want them to have an easier life than we did and when we are compassionate with ourselves we are compassionate with them.
Not all children are the same…I have three very different children and how they express themselves but all have the same needs. Love and connection. Just like us adults.
It helps to know them and what they need, to help them with understanding boundaries and that it’s ok to feel the way they feel. I help them understand shame and guilt….that yes we can do bad things but essentially it doesn’t mean we are bad person which is shame….I talk to them like adults, like equals the majority of the time and that way they don’t feel controlled…they feel listened to, understood and accepted for them as we all do bad or silly things because we are constantly growing and learning. That doesn’t mean I have no rules but the way!
Children can form beliefs before they are born
We have a common theme with my youngest. She doesn’t feel wanted or good enough or liked by her siblings, specifically her eldest sister
Now there are many layers here we need to explore.
This started way before she was born. Yes we can start to become a conscious parent as soon as that egg implants, as we are energetic beings.
We hadn’t planned our 1st or our 3rd child. Max was planned and had the most beautiful water birth and as a result is very calm and secure within himself. He is so easy going but again as he is a boy I have had to work with the divine and balanced masculine energy and how he expresses himself so he doesn’t get angry as he can be so soft he holds this in and then blows.
I didn’t find out I was pregnant with Boe (our youngest) until 2 months gestation and when I told my husband he was so shocked and needless to say needed some time to come round, but unfortunately she heard this conversation.
As soon as Boe was born she literally screamed constantly unless she was being held, which we now know was connected to this deep belief in herself within the womb that she wasn’t wanted) and I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without this whole experience…I always call Boe my greatest gift and biggest wake up call…. and am so grateful for those tough early years as she taught me so much how to be a conscious parent and how to enter her world….to a certain extent I controlled my parenting with max and boe but the traditional parenting methods didn’t work with boe so I was forced (thankfully )to go deeper….and wouldn’t be doing this work now as a result.
My pregnancy with Boe was extremely stressful. I had returned back to work after being off on maternity leave with Max and my employer had literally changed my job and I couldn’t do it. I had also been treated unfairly by my boss and it all became too much so I took early leave and filed a dispute with the employment tribunal and we settled out of court but all that took it’s toll and my stress transferred to Boe within the womb. At term I was told that there was something wrong with my child, that she may have a deformity but we wouldn’t know until she was born and we were all on tender hooks until she was born. Thankfully they were wrong and she was perfect, just smaller weight than my other two but she literally came out like a rabbit in the headlights which I now know as adrenal stress/fight-flight-freeze because of all that she had experienced within the womb. (1. Conversation, 2. My stress with work. 3. Fear of death)
When she was born she had to be held constantly, she wouldn’t sleep at all unless I was holding her and that created all sorts of added stress to our family and our relationship. I took her to an alternative therapist who was able to tell me Boe had a deep fear of not being wanted and of death that was formed 2 months gestation. Now these things happen and we have to trust that it’s part of Earth’s teaching and deep down the soul chooses his/her parents and all that come with it to learn and grow.
Its important to not blame or feel shame or guilt as we didn’t know. When we know better we do better and as souls we choose our parents, we choose our experiences so Boe knew what was going to happen and that as parents we would become conscious enough to help support her and share this to helps others so it’s really beautiful when you re frame it. I know this is very long winded but it needs to be explained to understand some kids may not need a deeper understanding
I am able to explain this to Max and Ava so that they go a little easier. Plus she has had recent stress in school and also has slow processing learning issues so she needs a bit of structure even during play times which they won’t understand. Simply asking her to join them, explaining the rules, making sure they all have turns as that is how the fight started. Yes I could have punished the child that hurt the other in the past but really that doesn’t help anyone and just instills shame so they feel like they are bad when really they just did a bad or silly thing as we all do but when they can understand it the thats super powerful however if one hurts the other I do the same process to help them understand their emotions….on a deeper level I work on the deeper source for all three and that is me.
Trace your patterns back to childhood
Yesterday I had a client that was struggling to find a work life balance, even though she knows she is good had her job and even got promoted lately she seems to always feel the need to work more and prove something. When we broke this down it brought her to her youngest sons birth as it was a huge shock and she didn’t want another baby so she was carrying guilt and shame around, that was presenting as an emotion of powerlessness and when we did a sourcing on this we went back to when she was 7 years old and was sent away from home and so pattern’s root cause actually went back to age 7 where she formed a belief that something was wrong with her and ultimately believing whatever she does just never is good enough.
How we learn to respond or react to life is driven by our interactions with others which is rooted in deep beliefs created in childhood, sometimes from trauma and sometimes from just general experiences but also ancestral patterns passed down the family line. The patterns that are set up in early childhood form the basis of our future relationships including the ones we have with ourselves.
As we mature, we collect, sort and file away our emotional experiences as reference points.
According to teach through love…A foundation of self regulations, resiliency and attachment is built – memory after memory- shaping our perspective, beliefs, self-concept and outlook.
Everything can be completely changed – mood, behaviours, emotional intelligence, the ability to give and receive empathy, cognitive processing, and even our immune function by altering how we experience our primary relationships and close attachments.
Choose to give your child positive feedback about how to respond to the world.
To listen to more musings on my journey with conscious parenting go to my podcast The Honey Temple (Episode 10) and if your child struggles to sleep or is going through a stressful time let them listen to a short kids meditation called ‘Kids Sleep Rainbow Meditation’ (Episode 11).
So where do you go from here if you want to become a conscious parent;
1. Work on you- Self awareness…become more conscious and aware of you triggers and what internal work you need to do to release expectations you have for your children to act and be a certain way eg My Hormone Balanced Chakra Program, contact a therapist etc..
2. Read books and listen to podcasts eg Dr Shefali ‘The Awakened Family’ or “The Conscious Parent’
3. Make a mental note of the following tips spelling the word ‘PARENT’
Perfectly imperfect – painting their own picture of their lives (blank canvas)
Authentic selves- letting go of the good/bad scenario
Respond from a balance place – own self care
Expectations – what is yours and what are theirs/dont transfer them (empathy)
Note to self – teach by example
Triggers – know them, own them, integrate them
Inner child – understand who he/she is
Never too late to start
Give them your love, time & presence
Lasting thoughts from me
• Allow your children to be their authentic selves by letting go of any preconceived ideas of what it means to be good or bad – let them discover the world for themselves and make their own conclusions (step back and let them paint their own picture)
• Be perfectly imperfect…its not about being a perfect parent as there is no such thing. It is not easy and you will make mistake and accepting that is how you grow and learning is so liberating.
• Be aware of yourself so you don’t transfer your own issues, expectations and pain onto them. Using meditation, yoga, self care practices to come back into alignment with self.
• Own it- if you say or do something you should apologise and explain to them that we all make mistakes so they don’t make it about them and blame themselves
• Practice makes perfect…this does not happen over night so go easy on yourself and enjoy the ride
• Speak in the correct tone – how you speak to children is powerful so be respectful…don’t speak like you own them because you don’t…they are on loan to us
• Manage your expectations of them – is this your expectations or theirs. Let go fo the need to mould our children into who we want them to be and let them learn from mistakes
• Create a daily routine for them that has structure but is not too rigid or controlling
• Be mindful of your kids age – I had to wait a while to explain nutrition to them, for example
• Treat kids as individuals- not that your own them because your birthed them. Like partners not their boss.
• Show them empathy and compassion- what we give we will receive in turn remember everything is a mirror.
• Teach by example- our kids watch us, they are literally like sponges. They will watch your interactions with your partner, your friends, your family, your self
• Model healthy habits – when I wanted my kids to eat healthy I had to stop and realised I need to model this behaviour. We can’t expect them to do something that we are not doing for yourselves.
• Give them responsibilities – kids love to please and be helpful and actually its our duty to prepare them for the outside world. Plus it gives us a break so we feel less overwhelmed and a better parent.
• Slow down and simply be…we will in such a doing world. Like to super cool to be busy. Well it’s not and you are fooling no one but yourself and I say that with conviction and love. Stop and reconnect with self and then you will be able to connect with your children and others.
I know this was a long one but it’s such a powerful topic and as always I have more to say…read, listen, learn and just allow consciousness to take hold.
Reach out if you have a question or need any guidance…