Conscious parenting is the idea that parents can raise their children to become healthy and functional adults by giving children quality feedback rather than using punitive strategies. There is no set of rules to follow, so parents can customize their methods to their child's needs while forging a deeper connection. Instead of a power based system, conscious parenting relies on empathy to create an environment in which kids can thrive and develop. Learning how to parent consciously is a process that takes time and practice. Here are the top tips you can start implementing today.
Trust Your Gut
Conscious parenting is based on the idea that no one parenting strategy works for everyone. There are countless parenting strategies, but if you find that none of them seem to be working, listen to what your instincts are telling you. What works for you and your children will be different than what works for others, and that's just fine. Choose what strategies you want to implement, and adjust them how your instincts tell you to. Learning to parent instinctively takes time, so be patient and keep practicing. The more you practice, the better you'll become at it.
Discipline Through Empathy, Not Anger
Children need boundaries. They need to learn how to be respectful, accepting, and understanding. If your child needs to be disciplined, don't react out of anger. Act out of empathy when deciding how to deal with your child's actions. Notice how your words and tone come across to your child. Avoid language that is sarcastic, impatient, or mean-spirited, or would otherwise teach your child not to trust you. By changing your language to be understanding and kind, your child will learn that you are reliable and that it is safe to come to you when they need help. Teach your child how to regulate emotions by regulating your own. Instead of arguing with your child, calmly explain why something is not acceptable or why you've set certain expectations.
Take time to consider the root of your child's behaviors. If your children are acting out or misbehaving in some way, instead of just punishing them for it, determine why they were acting out in the first place. Do they feel neglected? Are they dealing with a bully at school? Are they sick? You may need to have a discussion with your children to determine the root cause of their behavior. Take steps to resolve the root issue, instead of just addressing the resulting behavior.
Give Your Kids Space
An important part of childhood is learning how to forge relationships, foster communication, and resolve disputes. If you micromanage your child, interfering every time a situation manifests, your child won't get the practice they need. Of course, if your child asks you for help or is facing a situation with a bully, you should step in and help, but otherwise, let them solve their day to day problems on their own. This will allow them to develop problem solving skills that they will take with them into adulthood, and you'll be less stressed.
Take Care of Yourself
Give yourself time to unwind and relax. Ensure that your own needs and health are being taken care of so you don't run yourself ragged. This will prevent you from becoming over stressed, which can lead to angry outbursts when your children make a mistake or are getting on your nerves. Relaxing and taking time for yourself will help you self-regulate and be more attentive to your child's needs. This may mean you need to ask for help, from a family member or friend, to help with your kids so you can get some time for yourself.
Mary Frenson is a Marketing Assistant at Checkdirector.co.uk