Simple living requires making conscious decisions…about what you eat, what you buy, how you parent. It means living with awareness. A while back I listened to a talk about conscious parenting by Shefali Tsabary. I thought of the talk because just this week I started a book club on parenting toddlers, and it made me realize how much work we need to do on ourselves to parent well. So I’m returning to the talk I listened to early in the summer. I want to summarize some of the main points from the talk:
1. We hurt our children because of wounds we have not healed in ourselves
We try to live through our children because of wounds we haven't healed. We put them in the middle of our marital arguments because of wounds we haven't healed. We put pressure on them to perform because...you guessed it...because of wounds we haven't healed. Free yourself to parent well by tending to your past wounds.
2. We need to check ourselves and our holdups…with saying no, with being present
This one connects to the last. We need to be self-aware enough to know why we have certain holdups in our parenting. Why do we struggle to be present? Why do we struggle to set a certain boundary? Self-awareness is key to being a conscious parent.
3. The hardest wounds to heal are those that happen early on.
No one in our lives can say anything to heal them…we have to go back and heal them to be more free. The easiest way to avoid this for your children is to start healing your own stuff so you leave them with less to heal when they are older.
4. Parents carry such a huge responsibility. We shape how our children see themselves.
We have the ability to help our children value themselves. We can help them to learn to speak up, to set healthy boundaries, and to believe in themselves. We can help teach them they are good enough just as they are. Often, when I work with clients who are extremely self-critical we can draw a line back to a parent being very critical towards them. We are invited to be the parent that was healed enough to help our children form a more positive view of themselves.
Out of all the parenting topics out there, this is by far my favorite. I realize, however, that it’s definitely not the most popular. One of the reasons I don’t always like working with children as a therapist is because I feel like our sessions can only do so much. It’s shocking how often I’ve seen pushback from parents…they don’t want to take any responsibility or engage as part of the solution. Now, there are also some parents who take too much responsibility and blame themselves for EVERYTHING, but being a conscious parent is learning about the way you set limits, show love, and help your child grow with full awareness of what YOU bring to the table.
Give your child a wonderful gift and work to heal yourself. The healthier you are, the better off they will be! Happy rooting, everyone!