There are many gifts when you become a parent. Those gifts come in varying sizes, shapes, temperaments and personalities. There are also joys, tears, hopes, dreams, and all sorts of emotional pain. I would like to talk about parenting from a conscious perspective. Some are gifts are easily recognized like: feeling proud they took their first step, saying their first word, getting an A on a spelling test, a role in the school play, getting their driver’s license and getting into college. However, I ask you to consider that the real gifts are the ones that offer our children and us the opportunities for emotional growth. These are opportunities where we as parents have to watch their emotional growing pains. Join me on a journey into the experience of parenting from a place of consciousness.
- Bearing witness to the emotional storm until it passes.
You may wonder how this is a gift? For some of us the emotional storms of our children are not very often and for others it seems that there is always a storm. Being able to bear witness to your child’s emotional pain is a gift. In order for someone to be in such a deep place of pain in front of you they must be able to trust you enough to feel safe. That is where the gift lies. Yes, it is no fun to watch, hear or feel but no one ever said that parenting would be all fun and games. When you were told there would be times that would be challenging and hard, this is one of those times “they” were talking about.
When we embody being conscious, we hold the space and stillness for our emotionally distraught child. As a conscious parent you accept the As-Is of your child’s emotional state and bear witness to her pain non-reactively.
You know that their emotions are not about you. In fact, their meltdown has nothing to do with you at all. It is all about your child. About her fears, his worries, her concerns about who she is or who she is not. But in the end, by being there, by holding the energetic space, and not reacting or taking it personally your child is allowed to be. She can have a full range of emotions feeling safe with you to have them. When the storm does pass, she can come back to her center and feel whole, not broken, not dumb, not feeling ugly, or anything else, but herself. As a conscious parent we accept that our child’s tantrums, meltdowns, teenage rudeness, etc. is not about us nor directed at us. We remain centered and grounded in our own self and are safe container for your child to weather their own emotional storm.
At the end of the day, your child says to you:
“Thank you for making me feel better.”
You ask: “How did I do that.”
She says: “By being there for me.”
You smile inside knowing in that moment, sitting there, holding the space and allowing her to be was worth every tear she needed to shed.
2. Bearing witness to the unfolding spirit of your child.
Parenting consciously means we are able to be in a place of knowing and trusting that there is nothing to fix.
Your child arrived in this world just the way they were meant to arrive, with all of their innate gifts intact. It is up to us to sit, watch, guide and nourish their unfolding and blossoming. As a conscious parent we listen to them with an open heart and create space for them to explore the world in areas where they are naturally drawn. If they want to learn about space, let them. Dig in the mud, allow it. Run on a track team, go for it. Climb trees, hold your breath. Maybe you always had the fantasy your child would be a doctor or lawyer but they are an artist. It is up to us as conscious parents, not to put them in a box we built.
We imagined who they would be since before they were born, or maybe even conceived. As conscious parents we are called upon to recognize that the dream is our dream and not theirs. We must detach from our dream because when we do not, we project all of our fears onto them. Fears of what if they never do or become what our fantasy is.
Instead, build with them the space for their own special gifts to flourish without an agenda or timeline. Release your expectations of who you believe they are or should be. That expectation is yours and not theirs. So, if your child wants to go to graduate school to “avoid adulting” a little longer and pursue their artistic career, you support their venture. You support it because it is their life, they came here to live, not yours. They did not come here to meet our needs or live out our dreams. They came here to live theirs.
3. Your child came here to teach you.
Your child is the mirror and will show up in many ways to reflect back to you what you need to look at within yourself. Start by being in gratitude for each time you yell, lose your cool and react. These are your teaching moments for growth and healing.
Next pay attention to what is going on for you. It is time to look inside. When you are reacting, it is important to take a breath and pause. It is in this pause you can look at where you feel the emotion in your body just before you lose your cool. Does your stomach get tight? Maybe your heart races. Are you getting a headache? Do you feel like you want to vomit? All of these physical symptoms are clues that there is an unhealed emotional wound you have been carrying around for a long while. I invite you to spend time with the physical discomfort and allow yourself time to explore it.
Ask yourself some hard questions like; where did this feeling come from? Do I know it from another time in my life? Am I attaching a story to the feeling and reacting from an old recording? How old was I when I first felt this feeling? What was happening in my life at that time?
Tuning into these feelings, which are held in the body, are the keys to unlocking the doors to the past which keeps us stuck in old patterns and belief systems.
When we can open the doors and unchain our self from the past, we can then be in the present with our child(ren). Being present allows you to respond with present moment awareness and not from old programming.
4. Growing into your own self-awareness.
Parenting is a time for you to grow into you. You may have thought that you were already a grown up but then you find yourself face to face with a toddler having a tantrum or hormonal teenager who pushes the limits. It is in these moments, when you are aware that you want to have your own tantrum too, that you realize you still have some growing to do. Parenting brings us to our knees; it humbles us and our children are masters at showing us our emotional pain points.
If you are lucky enough to have insight that you are not responding to your child’s behavior in the most calm and centered way then you have been given a gift. And I know it does not feel that way but trust me, it is.
It is a gift of self-awareness. With this gift you become empowered to choose to heal and change.
You get to allow yourself space and time to embark on your own growing up and reparent the self. When we begin to raise our self, we are healing our own wounded inner child. The wounded inner child is the one inside of you who has been longing to be heard, seen, understood and forgiven.
The adult self of the here and now is the one with the ability to do that. This is why self-awareness is a gift, because with awareness you begin to heal. My favorite Anis Nin quote says it all, “And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” Get ready to blossom, opening that bud may hurt but once you fully bloom it will be glorious.
Are you ready to learn more about conscious parenting? Janet is a Certified Conscious Parenting Coach. She is a graduate of Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s Conscious Parenting Method Coaching Institute. Email Janet at JanetPhilbin.com for a free consultation.