Conscious Parenting And Why It Is Important
Just over two years ago I stumbled across Dr Shefali who is a Clinical Psychologist big in the field of Conscious Parenting. Eager to understand more I spent my pregnancy reading all her books and watching her talks. My focus throughout the pregnancy was more on who I wanted to become through this process of parenting more so than the nursery decor, clothes and other material items.
Most people pick up these types of books with the main objective being how to learn how to be the perfect parent, when in fact it’s about how to parent yourself (mic drop.) What so many of us do is we take all of our baggage into parenthood and unconsciously project it all onto our children. Of course we all have issues (myself included) but what is really missing is that parenthood is a perfect opportunity to address and evaluate those issues instead of carrying them forward.
We're brought up to gain university degrees and to enter a good career so we start fantasizing about our children’s future career before they even start school.
Dad loved Newcastle United, so of course little Jimmy is decked out in football strips before he can even walk whilst dad gets excited about the prospect of the first dad and son date to the big game.
Mum is creative and likes to create art so all her kids are expected to be mini Picassos and to favour drawing and painting opposed to physical activities. I’m generalising here but I hope you get the point.
As innocent as it seems we don’t realise what heavy burdens we are projecting onto our children by telling them what they like and who they are without spending a moment to see them for who they are. A spirit throbbing with limitless amounts of potential to be anything they want to be. We quash their spirits by forcing them into things that WE like, to make OURSELVES happy, so the parent/child relationship isn’t actually equal as it becomes all about what you like and who you want your child to be.
God forbid little Jjimmy didn’t actually like football or any sports for that matter so he would go one of two ways. 1) Entertain dad’s dreams for son and dad match days so unwillingly goes along, pretending he is enjoying the game - purely to make dad happy and proud. Or 2) Shows his detest towards anything football related, driving a wedge between dad which results in a severed distant relationship.
What a heavy burden to place on our children. Children are very intuitive and can pick up on what makes mum and dad happy so they can quickly switch on a different self in order to please them. All that does is create guilt that the child carries around, as their main goal is to make mum and dad happy opposed to themselves.
Can you see which option causes the most conflict? The one where the son decides to truly express his real self which is ultimately what we all yearn to do without constraints. A conscious parent would accept option two as they would understand that they would be doing their child a disservice by loading their expectations on to them. A conscious parent would be able to separate themselves from the child without seeing them as a ‘mini me’ who should have the same values, beliefs, likes and interests. It’s not easy as we have been conditioned to be unconscious and as you delve deeper into conscious parenting you constantly have to check yourself. It isn’t a quest to be a perfect parent (as quite frankly there isn’t one) more so a journey of enlightenment whilst we embark on a journey of self-discovery through raising our children.
In Dr. Shefali Tsabary's conscious approach to parenting, children serve as mirrors of their parents' forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child "know it all" approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. The pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.
For further reading check out Dr Shefali’s books as you will gain some incredible insights and you will not look at parenting the same again.