Have you ever come across situations where you have felt that your toddler is fussy with food, you are struggling to potty train your child, you’re worried that your child is 8 months old and not started to crawl, you feel that your child is out of your control? It's very unlikely that you've ever met a parent who hasn't struggled or whose energy hasn’t been zapped when dealing with their child from waking them up early morning to putting them to bed.
In order to thrive in our changing world, we need to make a fundamental shift in our thinking & parenting style, which will come through conscious efforts. Today many parents have decided to ignore the traditional way of parenting where the same behaviour patterns passed down from generation to generation which was mostly domineering with physical punishment being the norm and have instead embraced the ‘modern’ style or I would describe as ‘Conscious way of Parenting’ with primary importance to be able to see your child not for what they do, or what they say but for who they are at the core of their soul.
What does it mean to be a conscious parent?
Conscious Parenting is about honouring your child’s feelings and responding with love to your child.
For example, in a traditional parenting approach, you might shout, yell at your child if he doesn’t put away the toys after you gave a couple of minutes to do so. In contrast, as a conscious parent you remain calm instead of being authoritative & examine the situation to determine the reason behind the child’s failure to put the toys away which could also be an attention seeking act.
When children are young, they are learning sponges. Every new experience, every word they learn, every behavior they adopt, is an investment in a more fruitful future. You can never have a greater impression on a person than when they are in their early childhood years. With aggressive body language, tone and attitude we should not sound distant, as we would end up damaging our relationship with the child & greatest barrier to family harmony, instead you should get down to the eye level of the child so you are not dominating, but instead have a discussion with the child & give them reasons.
Why do we find parenting so difficult?
While there are times that are stormy by nature, there are many things a parent can do to help navigate these waters with greater mindfulness. Parenting is both exhausting & rewarding. It might be frustrating to change a diaper, make a lunch, go to the park, run an errand, the I-can’t-do-it and the everyone-else-is-doing-it-better, and unable to control your child’s behavior and make them follow our instructions that we feel are right for him.
In frustration, we unconsciously give a knee-jerk response, unwittingly pass on all our past emotional baggage, all our wishes for our own ideal self to be manifested that we couldn’t onto our child based on our moods, lack of sleep, state of mind, and our own upbringing. In this process of imposing our ego and demanding from the child to obey, the child loses its authentic self. Parenting is not a part time job & requires unparalleled commitment and devotion, hence to find it liberating and not anxiety-producing we need to make conscious efforts.
How can I become a Conscious Parent?
Parenting is like walking a tightrope which offers many instances where you find yourself torn between the answer that comes to you in the heat of the moment, and the answer you know is better. The better answer often takes a little more energy, patience and thought, and comes from a place of consciousness. You need to know how to turn the response of anger into a hug by empathizing with your child, understanding their perspective, getting down to the root cause of understanding what makes them behave in a certain way.
Being in the moment with your child and engaging with him or her in a fully focused way is a skill in today’s hectic world where time is at a premium. Its time to transform ourselves, empower our children and give them the opportunity to shine and dazzle with their natural state of being as at the end of the day there is nothing more rewarding than to see a smile on your child’s face.
(The author is an Early Child Care Consultant & Vice-Chairperson, Rayz International Preschool, Noida.)