How being a conscious parent learned through parent training can help you connect with your child
- Conscious parenting is a relationship-based style of parenting.
- Being conscious (mindful) means reacting in a calm way rather than from an ego-based, authoritative stance.
- Conscious parenting emphasizes self-awareness and control of your emotions.
- Respecting and understanding your child’s unique needs, wants, and desires is a major component.
- This method can enhance communication and build a healthier relationship with your child.
Parenting is not for the faint of heart. Every day brings a new trial, especially if your child has physical, developmental, or emotional challenges. There are many different parenting styles you can use. Some methods, like conscious parenting, involve “parent training” to help you become more effective and positive in your role.
What is conscious parenting and how does it compare to other parenting methods? We break down its philosophy and discuss how it can help you connect with your child and avoid creating challenging behavior patterns.
Understanding conscious parenting
Conscious parenting is both an ancient and modern concept that’s rooted in Eastern beliefs and Western psychology. To be conscious (or mindful) means to identify the difference between reacting from your ego versus taking a more centered, calm approach. When you’re conscious, you remain in control of your emotions without having any expectations about what’s going on around you in the moment. This is called self-awareness and you need it to express yourself and your love for others, including your children.
At its essence, conscious parenting is a relationship-based approach that focuses more on you as a parent and how you interact (and react) to your children. Rather than simply correcting them over “bad” behavior, parents are encouraged to look inward at themselves and view their kids as independent beings instead of constantly trying to “fix” them.
Respect is a major component of conscious parenting, calling on you to honor and understand your child’s emotions, needs, and lived experiences. The conscious parenting philosophy focuses on the relationship between you and your child rather than on rules or the consequences for breaking them. It emphasizes that children can show us how to feel when things go wrong (or when parenting rules are broken). It’s different from other parenting methods, such as authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, or uninvolved.
Letting go of the baggage
Everyone on the planet has “baggage” that stems from family drama, cultural pressures, and in some cases, serious trauma or abuse. This baggage or conditioning from your childhood ends up affecting how you parent your own children.
For example, if you felt unworthy or unloved as a child, you might end up overcompensating to please your child and fail to set any boundaries. If you’re afraid of conflict, you may be unable to say “no,” leading your children to take advantage or walk all over you.
Your cultural background can also influence how you raise your child. Perhaps you were raised in a strict culture that emphasized absolute obedience. Maybe your appearance or accomplishments (being pretty or getting straight A’s) led to undue pressure to be perfect.
According to one of the leading experts on conscious parenting, this can lead you to develop a sort of “checklist” on how things should be done. This conscious method, however, calls on you to let go of the checklists and stop forcing your baggage onto your kid. As a result, your child will be able to develop their own identity and be accepted for who they are, rather than who you think they should be.
In the end, you will be able to develop a stronger bond with your child, which will remain even as they enter adolescence and the teen years.
Elements of conscious parenting
Conscious parenting includes many elements, but there are several core philosophies to remember:
- It’s important to establish a relationship, remembering that children are unique, with their own needs, desires, and wants.
- You must get away from your own ego and desires.
- You should refrain from forcing behavior on children; instead, focus on your language and expectations.
- Establish boundaries and employ positive reinforcement ahead of time rather than instantaneously reacting to problems with punishment.
- Understand what led up to a behavior issue, rather than just trying to put out fires (meltdowns) in the moment.
- Your job as a parent is not to simply make your children “happy,” but to encourage them to grow and develop so they can overcome problems.
- Be present and engage in each situation.
- Your children can teach you, just as you teach them.
Benefits of conscious parenting
There are many benefits of conscious parenting, starting with its boost to your own mental state. Being in the moment and engaging in self-reflection can ease stress and anxiety. When you’re in a better frame of mind, you’ll be a better parent.
Since conscious parenting is a relationship-based method, it can enhance communication with your child. Your language will be more respectful, which can result in respect from your child.
Tips for conscious parenting
How can you put these concepts into practice? Here are several parent training tips that can help you forge a new relationship with your child, even if they’re dealing with developmental, physical, emotional, or mental issues:
- Build up your child’s self-esteem through praise.
- Choose your words carefully, remembering that every word impacts your child’s feelings of self-worth and acceptance.
- Watch for and reward good behavior rather than simply focusing on “bad” behavior.
- Set boundaries and be consistent with discipline.
- Pay attention and make time for your kids.
- Model “good” behavior and values, such as respect, kindness, friendliness, tolerance, and honesty.
- Communication is key – Make your expectations clear and address issues in a healthy way, while not neglecting consequences.
- Connect with an expert who can guide you and teach you how to become a conscious parent.
Parent training at Lumiere Children’s Therapy
Our expert psychologists and therapists can provide training for parents that includes methods like conscious parenting through our comprehensive Social Work program. This training is just one way we can help you help your child overcome physical, developmental, and emotional challenges.
In the Social Work program, we employ approaches such as play-based therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, systems therapy, art therapy, and talk therapy for children. We work hand-in-hand with parents, family members, and caregivers to ensure sessions don’t end when your child leaves our facility.
We provide comprehensive therapy services, including:
- ABA Therapy
- Speech Therapy
- Occupational Therapy
- Developmental Therapy
- Physical Therapy
- Early intervention
- Speech therapy
Lumiere Children’s Therapy is a full-service, multidisciplinary pediatric therapy practice located in Chicago that serves the developmental needs of children from birth to 18 years of age. Learn more about how our team of clinicians works to improve the lives of children and their families.