The ‘Conscious Parenting’ Style Explained
Feb 2, 2022 While more and more parents are beginning to put this parenting style into practice, it may be difficult to look inward and reflect on your own parenting and personal flaws first.
In This Article
- The Conscious Parenting Method
- What is ‘Conscious Discipline’ for Parents?
- How to be a Conscious Parent
‘Conscious parenting’ is a relatively new parenting style created from a mix of Eastern philosophy and Western psychology. Founded by Shefali Tsabary, a clinical psychologist and best-selling author, the conscious parenting method does not seek to correct a child’s behavior. Instead, it takes a revolutionary approach of reflecting on one’s own issues and parenting style to promote a more positive environment for children.
The Conscious Parenting Method
First, the core principle of conscious parenting is not child-focused, but parent-focused. It is based on the philosophy that parents may reflect their own issues onto their children (unknowingly). For example, parents who fear being unloved may have trouble saying ‘no’ to their children. Understanding when the root of this fear started and recognizing when this fear affects parenting decisions is what conscious parenting is all about.
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Conscious parenting is about daily parenting self-reflection. Once parents realize how their issues or baggage influence their children’s behavior, parents then can begin to practice mindfulness and daily meditation to reduce parenting stress and anxiety. Also, advocates of this parenting style believe parenting self-reflection can “encourage more respectful language use as well as overall increased communication” between parents and children.
This style of parenting is not a “quick-fix” parenting solution to problematic behavior in childhood. It doesn’t seek to correct misbehavior in children. It’s simply about being in the ‘present’ with children and being mindful of how one reacts to their children without the parent’s ego getting in the way. Above all, the conscious parenting method requires patience from parents. Self-reflection and mindfulness of yourself and fixing issues do not happen overnight!
What is ‘Conscious Discipline’ for Parents?
Discipline is a highly sensitive topic with parents. The way you choose to discipline is influenced by your parenting style, culture, and even personality type. So how does the conscious parenting approach deal with misbehavior in children? Unlike other parenting styles that only offer one discipline solution, conscious parenting offers seven discipline techniques, also known as the Seven Skills of Conscious Discipline.
The Seven Skills of Conscious Discipline
- Composure: Managing anger, reactions toward misbehavior, and delaying gratification.
- Encouragement: Displaying pro-social skills like caring, kindness, and helpfulness toward children.
- Assertiveness: Prevention of ‘bullying’ a child and promoting healthy boundaries.
- Choices: Controlling impulses and working toward a goal.
- Empathy: Regulating emotions and taking a new perspective.
- Positive intent: Fostering cooperation and problem-solving through misbehavior.
- Consequences: Learning from past mistakes and taking responsibility for mistakes.
These seven discipline techniques offer parents a variety of options to apply one or more of the techniques to different discipline scenarios. Not only does conscious discipline for parents help adults be more self-aware, but children will also learn lifelong skills involving integrity, independence, respect, compassion, responsibility, and more!
How to be a Conscious Parent
Conscious parenting is a style of parenting that offers parents an opportunity to improve the child-parent relationship and create a new way of thinking based on self-reflection. But how do you start conscious parenting? First, start looking inward! Take time to reflect on what triggers or issues you may be experiencing from your past childhood or daily life. Once you realize how your fears and ego influence your parenting and reactions to your children you can then promote parenting change by trying some of the following tips.
Before you react to misbehavior, first breathe, then reflect on how you will respond with one of the Seven Skills of Discipline instead of immediately reacting in anger.
2. Listen More
Don’t seek to correct your children’s behavior with shouting or lecturing. Try to listen to their point-of-view to understand the reasoning behind the behavior. Oftentimes, listening to your children’s reasoning will promote open communication, empathy/compassion, along with responsibility for one’s actions.
3. Work on Yourself
Promote self-reflection by talking to your partner or friend to work through past issues and current insecurities that may impact how you parent.
4. Demonstrate How You Want Your Children to Behave
Demonstrate the behavior you want your children to display on a daily basis. Do not just instruct your child on how to behave, but display the attributes like empathy and responsibility to your children by showing them through action.
5. Create an Uplifting Environment
The less stressful an environment is, the less stressed your children will be. Creating a loving environment will help them feel safe, loved, and able to learn core life values.
6. Show Empathy
Empathy is different from sympathy. The feeling of empathy involves understanding and feeling someone’s trouble, pain, and sorrow.
Take a moment to try and understand where your child is emotionally.
7. Allow Your Children to Find Themselves
Each child has a unique personality. Let your children develop their own personality by giving choices, responsibilities, and healthy boundaries to allow them to figure out who they are as a person. You can do this simply by allowing your children to pick their own clothes or offer healthy choices for dinner and letting them choose what to eat.
8. Love Them
Once your child starts developing their unique personality, love them for who they are! Flaws and all!
9. Limit “Nos”
Instead of saying “no” to everything, try allowing your children to make mistakes and learn from them. Of course, you still need healthy boundaries!
Identify your children’s best skills and interests and encourage them to master them! This will help them hone their skills while boosting their confidence.
Conscious parenting is an amazing revolutionary way of parenting children. However, it takes a great deal of self-reflection to see how your own issues may be influencing how you parent. It won’t be easy. It may even be painful in the beginning to work through emotional roadblocks. But it may be well worth it to improve your relationship with your children and be an in-the-moment conscious parent.