A Conscious Parent Isn't a PERFECT Parent
Have you ever shouted at your kids and realised you sounded JUST LIKE YOUR PARENTS??
My gosh, I even think like them and then in my mind I’m like '“No, don’t go there, STOP, don’t say it” and the words of my mum or dad are literally on the tip of my tongue.
You see when we aren’t in a good state, when are cups aren’t filled. When were tired, perhaps sleep deprived, overwhelmed and just troubled it’s so easy to slip into the power pattern way of parenting. It’s like autopilot shouting and yelling at the kids, conjuring up some sort of discipline method to make them listen or wanting to power over them and let them know that you are the adult and they are the child and they are to do as you say! (Ok, ok.. that one’s taken from my dad)
So when we aren’t operating on a conscious level it’s so easy to slip into our unconscious programming which tends to be autopilot. That’s why it’s much easier to REACT then reflect and to see red when our children’s behaviour steps out of line.
You know bedtimes can be such a struggle in our house.
I don’t know what it is but we weren’t blessed with children whose head hits the pillow at 7pm then don’t wake up till 7am. I do think having a toddler and three year old sharing a bedroom makes things a whole lot worse, then throw night terrors into the mix and it’s just pure CARNAGE. We’ve tried sleep coaches, reading blogs, various nighttime routines from removing digital devices to playing calming music. We’ve tried EVERYTHING and I just have to accept every child is different and I’ve learnt that it’s completely NORMAL for young kids to be waking through the night. I mean - I’m sure theres times where you have got up in the night for a drink, the toilet or you just twist and turn because you can’t sleep, well kids are no different and accepting they are not robots or performing monkeys definitely helps in this area.
So we have our issues around how to parent on the evening and the power pattern wants to rear it’s ugly head and catch us off guard. There have been times we have slammed the door on our eldest and firmly told her “GO TO SLEEP” and other times we have been so annoyed when she’s crying to come downstairs that we’ve marched her downstairs placed her on the sofa and then I’ve just sat and thrown her the wickedest look that it was wicked enough to put her in floods of tears!
You see we are human and in this journey towards becoming a conscious parent there are times when things go slightly off track but the difference we can make because we are aware is we can then find ways to repair these connections by reflecting. And then we can communicate and express our feelings to our children and allow them to express theirs.
So after a hard bed time routine there may be an apology given, a little talk where we express that we are just tired and angry and didn’t mean to shout or yell. We may wait until the next day and remind our daughter about how difficult bedtime was and ask her what was going on for her, ask how she was feeling? We provide a safe space for her to reflect back herself and remember how she was feeling in that moment. And then of course we vow to find better ways. To be more patient, more kind, more loving. And then we can make a request. We can ask how can we do this better tomorrow night, and we come together to create new possible solutions.
The key to doing this journey well is displaying self-empathy. Because it’s through self-empathy that we can accept our off days without judgement and we can accept our child’s too.
(This post was drafted in December 2018 and unpublished until now. Reading back on the bedtime struggles reminds me of how night time used to look for our family and how far we have come in such a short space of time which means Conscious Parenting DOES create long lasting positive change. It also highlights how I was more of a permissive parent and would have little boundaries. I’m safe to say that now NO children come downstairs at night (unless they are unwell) and no doors get slammed or wicked looks get thrown! Phew)
If you’re not there yet - it’s ok. You can be. Want to chat about your parenting struggles? Click here and let’s get a date in the diary for a call.