Let’s turn the mirror inward and ask ourselves “what triggers our reactions?”. Children will bring up emotional baggage that is buried deep in our unconscious. However, we need to set them free from the burden of fixing our unresolved issues and focus on raising our children through conscious parenting.
But, what is conscious parenting?
Psychologist Shefali Tsabary mentioned the term “Conscious parenting” to describe a style of parenting that focuses on the parents and how mindfulness can help them make choices about the way they raise their children. This style of parenting does an introspection so adults can see how their children’s reaction can be something that they are reflecting on them.
Think, how do we normally define ourselves? Do our experiences shape who we are today and, if so, what kind of experiences? Who gives meaning to the way we perceive love and affection? What emotions are the ones that paralyze us and how can we recover from these associations we have mentally constructed?
These stories tend to go back to our childhood and our experiences. We hold on to our childhood long into adulthood and we carry this blueprint with us every day. This first blueprint runs wild inside us and becomes the way we define ourselves and, in turn, how we perceive life and others.
What if we, as parents, could transform this role into a new one, with curiosity, awareness, and a renewed commitment? Nothing can potentially transmit global consciousness as much as parenthood can. Everything we teach our children —like how to take care of themselves and others, and how to handle their emotions and think, create, innovate— all comes down to parenting.
What influences our parenting?
We have to keep in mind that each child is different and unique! We cannot expect our children to embody consciousness without having modeled it ourselves. Of course, parenting is not the only variable. There are many other variables involved in this early influence. There is neurobiology, temperament, social pressures, poverty, education, and even culture. However, we build a nurturing relationship with our children every single day.
When do we hold this influencing power? Every day our kids seek comfort, every morning they wake up and come rushing looking for us —these are the moments that we have actual power over. Conscious parenting tells us that these moments and how we react towards them end up impacting their neurobiology and psychology, transforming their emotional brain.
Being a parent isn’t easy
No one taught us to be a parent, and we certainly are not always aware of our reactions towards our children and why these come about.
When things don’t go according to plan, we resist and get lost in our mental struggles, becoming dissociated from the present and getting lost in our thoughts. As humans, our layers run deep. We inherit genetic libraries of emotional baggage from our parents and past generations that lie asleep in our unconscious. These can easily be triggered and, as parents, we often find ourselves being triggered by our children who are perfectly capable of making us feel out of control. They hold the power in our loss of temper and we often feel the need to fix them. They can make us feel powerless, helpless —things we don’t want to feel— and, to gain back the feeling of superiority, we react. We forget about the connection and feel the need to be in charge. We react with: “Why aren’t you more like your sister?”, “Why can’t you do what I tell you to do?”.
Our children do not need any fixing and they are certainly not inadequate or abnormal. But we are held prisoners of our inner critic and we judge them as evil creatures. Are they evil and chaotic? Or do we have a problem with our consistency, our leadership, and how we handle conflicts and quench every time we say no to them? Let’s turn the mirror inward. We need to set our children free from the burden of fixing our unresolved issues.
Happiness is found within ourselves
Children come to this world curious, wholehearted, and worthy. They are easily satisfied with a crayon and a coloring book. What are we unconsciously teaching them every day about self-worth and abundance? As parents we err and shift their gaze outward, teaching them to seek self-worth elsewhere —in achievements, in perfection, in success. What happens when they fail? They crumble and their sense of self breaks apart because we have fixed their sense of self into what we believe is the idea of “success”.
We must shift this spotlight inward through conscious parenting. As parents, we need to evolve and get to know ourselves fully. The extent to which we get to know ourselves will reflect on how much our children get to know themselves. The extent to which we enjoy every moment, laugh at ourselves, and live loosely and freely will be how our children live these feelings and emotions as well. We need to stop thinking of ourselves as individuals at the top of the hierarchical pyramid and, instead, view our children as equal agents —if not greater agents that are brought to our lives to wake us up.
Let’s live in a state of gratitude, let’s pause and reflect, and connect deeply with these higher beings we call our children. Let’s give meaning to the way they perceive love and joy, and teach them to live and enjoy the moment by living this way ourselves. Our children are not the idealized versions of ourselves, they are unique beings. Let’s celebrate their individuality!