This is the final piece in my series about how emotions are the unexpected gift when you parent from a conscious place.
10. Healing yourself
Step into the awareness knowing of yourself and your truth, this empowers you.
Others in your family may not “get” you and that is ok. The only one who really needs to understand you is you. When you stand in alignment with yourself and honor yourself you are affecting the family system.
When you embody conscious parenting, practice it, and apply it you will create energetic changes in your home. That shift will be felt by others, they may not even have words to express what they are experiencing but they will be experiencing it. This happens because you now approach them and respond to them in a new way. You will be creating a ripple effect, just like the ripple created when a pebble is thrown into a pond. The outermost ripple does not know what started the change, it does not know it was only a small pebble, but there was no avoiding the impact of the energy that pebble sent out.
You are the pebble! You are creating energetic shifts in you and in the home. Your family members may not like this change and it will take time for them to adjust. The key is your consistency, holding your boundaries and embodying your beliefs as a conscious parent.
Dr. Shefali Tsabary teaches that we always have 3 choices when faced with any situation. These choices are; accept it, change it or leave it. As parents we need to learn these three choices and have them in the forefront of our minds when dealing with challenging situations with our children. In those moments we are not powerless, out of control or reactive instead we tap into the wisdom of this choice which resides within us at all times.
The beautiful thing about knowing that these choices are there for us is that we have the ability to teach them to our children. We do not own these freedoms of choice. Our kids get into sticky emotional situations too. It is a gift as a conscious parent to share this wisdom with them, at their young ages, so it can become part of who they are and a healthy coping skill for them to turn to when they are in the emotional throws of life.
We get to have the greatest impact in life, positive or negative, with our children. Once your child is old enough you can begin to teach them this philosophy. I believe a child as young as 4 can begin to understand there is always a choice when faced with something confusing and/or upsetting. Explaining these choices to your children is done with language appropriate for that age. You are not going to explain something to a 10-year-old with the same language you would to a 16-year-old. The first step is to keep your child’s age in mind.
Children, especially tweens and teens, go through so much heartache in their friendships. They experience hurt feelings, anger, grief, jealousy, pain, not worthy or good enough, feeling left out and not important. They often wonder, “What is wrong with me?”
If your child comes to you with this deep pain, we must first take that breath and pause. Next we must remember this is not our problem to solve, even though our mama or papa bear instincts want to kick in to rescue them. It is in these moments we are being called upon to understand that these are their problems. We cannot minimize what they are sharing because in that moment what they are sharing is of the utmost importance to them.
– Minimize their feelings by saying things like, “all kids go through something like this at your age.”
-Attempt to get them to move on from their emotions because you may be feeling quite uncomfortable hearing their pain.
-Make a joke, change the subject, offer food or ice cream so that they feel better. If we do that, we are telling them two things; your feelings don’t matter and it is better to bury or avoid your feelings rather than to experience them.
We are being called upon, as conscious parents, to listen with an open heart and bear witness to their pain.
We must create a safe space for them to have and share their feelings. It is at this point that we can offer them support and teach them about the three choices.
Start by explaining that in every life situation we always have a choice as to how we are going to respond. Go through the three choices of accept it, change it or leave it. Speak to them about it with age appropriate language. Speak with your child with empathy and understanding and let them know they get to choose. Let them know that no one can take their sense of self away or their ability to make their own choices in life.
The first choice is to accept. Accepting means that we fully accept the reality of the situation, the as-is, that is in front of us. Not only to accept it externally but we must accept it internally as well. This means we must look at it as something that is not happening to us, because then we are a victim of circumstance. Instead see it as something that is happening for us in our life. That does not mean they have to like it or even agree with it but they must accept it.
When we do not accept the reality of the present moment, we cause our own pain. That pain is, “I wish it were another way.” But it is not, it is this way. Help them be in reality, in the as-is, of it.
Empower them to understand no one is doing anything to them, it is just something that has happened and this has happened for them. By helping them accept the as-is we can help them not make up a story in their head about why this happened. When we get stuck in the merry-go-round of that story we spin around and around and this only causes more anxiety and upset.
The second choice is to change. Now it is not possible to change the other (see part 3). Only the other person can make this choice for themselves. The change that they need to make is within them. They get to choose to change how they interact with this person, how they talk with them, whether or not they will talk with them. You see, like us, our kids have been reacting in one way with the others in their lives. If your child keeps getting hurt, it is up to us, as conscious parents, to shine light on the situation with them and help them see what aspects of their life they would like to change to help them with this situation. Maybe they decide to change friend groups or join more activities to make new friends so they are not as dependent on the old ones. Maybe they stop reaching out as much. There is always a choice to change. This choice is theirs and that is empowering for them to know and feel.
The third choice is to stay. That means nothing changes. They continue to go along in the relationship as is without looking at their own stuff, still in the same dynamics and continue on the ride. And this is ok too. Eventually they will want to change but until then you can still support them and provide the safe ear of listening and the hug to reassure them that no matter what they are loved for who they are. That they are seen, worthy, important and that they matter.
This brings us back to where we started, emotions: the unexpected gift of being a conscious parent. Parenting brings up emotions and brings up the most painful and uncomfortable ones. In my opinion, being in and experiencing these emotions within ourselves is one of the hardest parts of parenting. You must tolerate your own discomfort and resist the urge to fix your child so you can feel better.
In doing our own self-care we are able to:
– Bear witness to their emotional storm
– Honor their unfolding spirit
– Allow your child to teach you
– Grow into your own self awareness
– Understand mistakes are learning opportunities
– Relinquish control
– Be present and connect
– Change yourself
– Detach from the past
– Heal yourself
– Become empowered.
Our children will keep showing us our patterns, pain, fear and emotions. What is your choice? How will you best take care of you? Do you choose to grow and change?
The choice is yours. The gifts are here, wrapped up and ready to be opened. Let’s start opening them embracing each one and embracing each child who was generous enough and gifted enough to bring them to you.
Janet is available for in person and remote sessions. Janet is also available to come speak at your events. If you want to talk to her send an email to Janet@JanetPhilbin.com for a free 30 minute consultation. The ability to heal and grow is in each one of us.