“What does conscious parenting mean?”
“Who is a conscious parent?”
“What does it mean to be a conscious parent?”
These are the questions I was asking myself as I began to delve into the world of conscious parenting. My own journey into this subject began quite by chance from a book recommendation. The book, The Awakened Family by Dr. Shefali Tsabary, felt like it was speaking directly to me. One of the first sentences that I read was: “We awaken when we become aware of who we truly are.”
To me, that message was that our essence, our true self is important. And while I was intrigued by the desire to find my true self, I also immediately wanted to know how this related at all to parenting.
As a clinical psychologist who merges the world of Western psychology and Eastern philosophy, Dr. Shefali has a totally different approach to parenting than anything I had ever encountered or experienced. She talks about our job of parenting our children as raising a spirit and honoring their essence—that the children who are delivered to us are done so for a reason. According to Dr. Shefali, conscious parents implicitly trust their child’s intuition to recognize their own destiny.
But here’s the part that might really blow your mind: They are brought to us to mirror back to us the parts of ourselves that we need to pay attention to and to heal. This aspect of Dr. Shefali’s approach to conscious parenting gets me so excited. It is why I have become so passionate about the subject, and why I feel a calling to teach and share this philosophy with as many people as possible.
This premise is also the foundation for understanding the reasons why we yell and provides us with the tools to learn how to stop yelling and start connecting.
Coming back to my original questions about what is a conscious parent and how we can become one: Conscious parenting uses ordinary, moment-by-moment interactions with our children to enable an authentic connection with them.
By being present, conscious and aware in the moment, overtime, a new family dynamic emerges which can dramatically impact families. When a parent changes their own reactions, behaviors, responses, and interactions the child’s behavior changes. This leads to a behavioral shift in relationships. How we respond to them, not react, becomes our own inner barometer of how conscious we are.
A conscious parent is something that is learned. It is learned through the actual experience of relating to our children, things we cannot learn by reading all of the many “how to” parenting books that are out there.
As we learn to become conscious parents some questions arise:
- Can we accept our children in their “as is” state in each moment?
- Can we get our entire heart and mind involved and in agreement to the process?
- Can we also accept the kind of parent we need to be for our particular child
- Can we be the parent our child needs us to be as opposed to the parent we think they need?
- Can we allow them to exist without the snares of our own expectations?
These are some of the challenges that we have to navigate in becoming a conscious parent. Conscious parenting spoke so deeply to me because of my many years of clinical work as a social worker and as a hypnotherapist. I understand the way our deeper mind works and how unresolved, unhealed childhood conflicts impact us in our adult lives. These unresolved issues will and do directly affect the way we parent and we probably don’t even realize the degree to which this happens. Being unaware of those issues is one of the reasons we wind up yelling.
Dr. Shefali teaches us that when we react to our children’s emotional reactions, tantrums, defiance, etc. we are reacting from our own child inside of us who is now triggered and is fighting back. She asks us to tune in and pay attention to our own inner landscape so we do not react from the place of our wounded inner child but instead can respond to our child from our adult loving self.
I know we can all heal our inner child; I am living proof. If our child is shining light onto the issues that we—as parents—need to address, acknowledging it is the first step. The next step is actually addressing it so that we can heal. We then can be in a healthier place with ourselves, and with our children. We will finally be able to connect with them and develop stronger bonds. This is your invitation to begin to peel back the layers to a better self-understanding, to yell less and to connect more.
Janet Philbin is the author of the book, Show Up For Yourself- A Guide to Inner Awareness and Growth. In this book she takes the reader on a journey to heal their own inner child. When we heal our own pain of the past it no longer will have control over us in the present. If this article speaks to your heart, the book will give you a framework to help you heal the pain that your heart has been holding. You can get a copy of the book here: https://amzn.to/3cgxKCp.
Janet works with clients worldwide, helping them to heal the wounds their inner child carry. You can reach her through her website, https://janetphilbin.com/. She is also available to come speak at your event, business or school.
Have you had the experience of trying hard for
something, and it seems that the harder you try the more you can’t? I know this
happens so often in my life. When I find myself trying hard, I know that I am
forgetting a few basic principles of the subconscious mind.
One of these principles is, the harder you try
to do something, the less chance you have of doing it. This is called the Law
of Reverse Effect. Try is actually a negative word to the subconscious mind.
This was something I learned in my hypnosis training 18 years ago. When the
subconscious mind hears the word try, it actually interprets it as “do not” or
“cannot.” When you are “trying” to do something the subconscious knows you are
trying, because this is the language you are using when you speak and think
about what you want to accomplish. The deeper mind will work against your
“trying” efforts. This is because when you use the word try you are invoking
your imagination and the imagination will always win over the intellect. For
example, if I say to you, “try not to think about a pink dog.”… What just
happened? You could not help it, you thought about a pink dog.
It is also important to understand that there
really is no failure. If you set out to “try” something and it does not go as
planned then you may see it as a failure on your part. Failure is a word with a
negative connotation. If we fail then we have not reached a certain goal. If we
look at it as failure, and we believe it to be a failure, there is a high
probability that the next thought is, “I am a failure.” This can become a
belief system, or it may have already been a belief you held about yourself and
is now reinforced by this experience of not being successful in some area of
your life for this goal you wanted to reach.
We must be in flow. We must allow life to show
us the way and to show up for us. As much as we may want to, we cannot force
life into a certain direction. When we do attempt to force life, we create our
own stress. Instead, I invite you to follow the path life is giving you. Yet,
we find ourselves many times not even realizing the path is there or that, in
fact, we are already on the path. Instead we are frustrated because it feels as
if that things are not going our way, that we quite literally are lost and have
no idea what to do now. This happens because we have entered the path “trying” as opposed to entering the path
being open to receiving feedback.
As we enter this new path to feedback the ego
It will want to fight your growth and your
becoming. The ego does not want to “try,” the ego does not want to let go of
the old in order to embrace the new.
This is because the ego believes it is keeping
you safe in the old by not venturing into something new. Here is my question to
you, what if this belief is false?
What if keeping the old does not keep you safe
but instead keeps you stuck. This is exactly how try works against you and with your ego. The ego will not want to
change so it holds onto the negative language of the word try, which sets us up
to not accomplish.
Are you ready to explore why you are stuck?
Are you ready to look at your belief systems?
Are you ready to question yourself?
Most of all, are you ready to break free from
the trappings of your ego?
To break free from the belief if I stay where
I am, then I am safe.
To break free from the pain that keeps you
When you allow the waves of life to break over you, on the other side of the waves, the ocean is calm.
There is no going around a wave, is there?
We cannot swim around it, hide from it or
We have 3 choices:
- Allow it to take you down
- Allow it to break over you and
stand tall while it breaks
- You don’t enter the water at all
Which one of these choices offers you the
opportunity to grow?
Yes! You choose the crashing wave, you choose
to go through, you choose you! You are choosing at that moment to grow and
heal. Not to try to grow and heal but to enter in, to do the work and to come
out on the other side. You are committing to you.
The light is on the other side of the pain, on
the other side of the wave. In order to find the light, the healing and growth,
we must go through. When we go through,
we tell the ego that we are done trying, that we are done with the old belief
systems. That we are done playing small. We are done being in pain.
You are ready to embrace your authentic self.
Pause. Take a breath.
I want to offer you a reframe. Instead of
using the word failure, use the word feedback. When we take the word failure
and replace it with the word feedback, there is a shift. What if there was no
failure, but instead you viewed each opportunity as feedback to you and for
you. Feedback for your learning and as a way to refocus and redirect your
efforts toward your goal and intentions.
Putting both of these concepts together looks
like this. I am doing my best to accomplish a goal with the intention of a
successful outcome. If the outcome does not go as planned, I will accept the
feedback and use it as a catalyst to help me work toward the goal in a new way.
I can adjust the goal to be in better alignment with what I wish to achieve. In
doing so, I have not failed. I instead have set out to embark on working toward
an outcome based on my intentions. Can you feel the difference between this and trying? This reframe is empowering,
confidence building and supportive of you. This offers flexibility and kindness
to the self as you venture down the desired path.
Embark on the journey through the crashing
wave. Take it in. Do not tell yourself what you need to try to do. Just do it.
Do the thing, take action, make the commitment. Use action words with yourself like
I am going to, my intention is, I am moving forward.
The language must change. Here is how to
change your language and inner voice. I am going to eat healthy. Or my
intention is to eat healthy snacks and healthy meals. I will exercise in the
morning. I will take a walk; I will do yoga. As the famous ad says, “just do
it!” Find a way to do it, get rid of try. Step into your power. Own your
thoughts, own your actions. Allow for feedback. Learn about yourself. Grow, be,
Accept what is. This is perfect as it is.
Appreciate the present moment. See that it is this way for right now and know
it will change and shift as you flow with it. Acknowledge each experience.
Step forward, embrace the waves. You are able
and capable. Be clear with your words and your intentions. You will shift, your
ego will move to the side. It will have no choice as you will no longer be
trying, you will be doing and being.
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 email@example.com for a free 30 minute consultation.