This is part 3 in a series about the gifts of emotions when parenting consciously.
I am walking this path of conscious parenting with all of you. As I have traveled this journey of conscious parenting, I have come to learn many things and have gained insight about myself. In learning these aspects and gaining this insight I realized that I was the one impacting my children. I also learned that it is up to me to take ownership of my emotional baggage and not expect others to change for me. I must heal myself and allow my children the room to become who they came here to be. It is up to all of us, as parents, to give our children the space to be who they truly are. Here are two more gifts you get to receive when parenting from a conscious place.
8. The only one you can change is yourself
This is the gift you give yourself.
We may not like this, but it is true. You actually have no power over another person. We cannot make another heal, grow, change, see it our way, do it our way unless they want to. This is also true for your child.
There is a belief that as parents we can “make” our kids change because we want them to. We are the parent and therefore in a more powerful position. We hold the false belief that we can force them to be, do, become someone or something they are not. As a parent you may wind up fighting with your child to do it your way, which may be against who they intrinsically are. This just sets you up for a power struggle of wills which will end in resentment on both of your parts.
This struggle may also lead to your child lying to you. They lie because they know they cannot tell the truth; they know it is against your way. So instead of getting in trouble, they lie, tell you what you want to hear, and you wind up with a very inauthentic relationship. If you are resistant to who your children are, they may show up with defiant behaviors. If you are unable to see things from their perspective and are rigid in your thinking or what you allow then you may see lying. All of this leads to disconnection, and the goal is to have opportunities for connection. You may not like the truth and you may not like the choices another is making but that is your issue and not theirs.
It is up to you to look inside and find out why their truth and decisions are bothersome or upsetting to you.
What can you do? You can provide support, education, acceptance and unconditional love. Let your child see that you do support them but you are also inviting them to try things out another way. Again, this does not apply to red flag issues where there is a danger to health or safety. At those times immediate and decisive action is needed.
We must release the other of the expectations you have for them to change and accept the is-ness of the now, the situation, the relationship. Only we can change, we must release the other. In releasing of the other we begin to raise our self and allow our child the space to be who they need and want to be.
If we cannot release them from our conditions, and health or safety is not the issue, then the truth is the issue is you. It is up to you to take an objective and a close look at you and see where your attachments to wanting to control your child are coming from. Begin to ask yourself some questions:
– What is my unmet need?
– Is this coming from a place of lack in me?
– Do I want my child to achieve something so I can feel better about me?
– Am I gaining my sense of worth through my child’s accomplishments?
– If I am, when and where did I give up on myself?
The answer to these questions, and others, lie within you. Your very own inner child is in pain and is the one acting out. The real question to ask is, “Do I want to parent from a place of my wounded inner child or do I want to parent from a place of my whole adult self?” I know, for me, I want to parent from a place of my whole adult self. In order to do this, we must tend to our own emotions. The change starts with you!
9. Detach from the past
It is our longing to hold onto the stories of the past that keeps us stuck there.
The past is not in the present, those events are long gone. Problems show up when we hold onto the past. We believe that we have a right to those old feelings and we apply them in the present moment. We believe that somehow those old patterns, emotions, reactions are relevant in the now. The truth is they are not. All that is relevant in the now is the present moment. Do not let the stories of the past tarnish the now. This is where inner work and reflection come in.
It is a time to ask yourself, what is my need in this moment? Where is this need coming from? Is it happening in the now, or is it some old story I am holding onto and applying to my now?
Do you know your child in the present? Are all of the decisions you make, reactions and feelings you have about them connected to yesterday, one year ago or five years ago? It is up to you as a conscious parent to see your child with present moment awareness.
When you have a reaction, is it based on who you believe your child to be or who they are now? Maybe your child always had a tantrum when you had to transition from one activity to another, but now two years later they no longer do that but you still hold the fear that they will. Have you changed the way you approach transition or do you project fear onto your child and approach them with the expectation of the old behavior?
Acting from a place of expectation based on the past is not being present.
You are bringing old patterns and energy with you to the now. All that will do is give you what you are expecting and you may get behaviors from your child and will continue to view them from an old lens.
If you instead approach them with a clean slate, no expectations of a poor outcome, then you will have a different interaction and find connections. When you do not stay present you are doing a disservice to yourself and your child. You are robbing both of you of the now.
It is up to you, as a conscious parent, to be in the present moment with your child. Being mindful, connected, aware, and in tune with what is coming up for you and within you. When you are with your child in the now you are training the muscle, you are using. When you go to the gym and do bicep curls you are training your biceps. When you stay in the present moment you are building your muscles of consciousness and mindfulness and can then parent from a place of inner awareness.
To stay present you pause, take a breath, check in with yourself, ask yourself the questions from above, and allow a few minutes for the feelings to pass. When you stay present you are giving yourself a gift. The gift of now.