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What is Conscious Parenting?

What is Conscious Parenting?

What is Conscious Parenting?

Conscious parenting concepts, like mindfulness in general, are rooted in ancient eastern beliefs, as well as in western psychology. The idea of conscious parenting, or put simply, practising mindfulness skills in parenting ‘moments’, might be worth considering. Conscious parenting encourages parents to make emotionally intelligent decisions when it comes to child-rearing, by calling us to be aware of our own thoughts, emotions and behaviour before managing that of our children’s. 

Parenting challenges can come from many directions often calling us to question our responses and parenting ‘styles’; instead of aiming to “fix” a child’s behaviour, parents are encouraged to first look inward for that pause before action, with the aim of creating a safe and nurturing environment in which children can thrive.

What does conscious parenting look like? 

Some of the main ideas of conscious parenting revolve around increasing meaninful communication by:

  • Learning to step back before reacting, to understand your own thoughts, emotions and motivations first
  • Seeing your child as a whole individual with unique needs, wants and desires. By paying attention to them as their own person, you can support them in a more tailored way. 
  • Looking at the bigger picture and the processes that lead to it is important when knowing why a child is the way they are and why they interact in a certain way. Getting wrapped up in small things like tantrums, and ignoring the overarching reason/s they’ve occurred, will not help you or your children grow.  
  • Establishing boundaries in advance and using positive reinforcement when these boundaries are adhered to and respected. 
  • Understanding that your child will not be happy 100% of the time and learning that they will grow through struggles and disagreements. 
  • Most important of all is that parenting is a relationship that is to be built on over time through open lines of communication, love, and trust.

What are the benefits? 

When you are conscious of your own thoughts and feelings, you will be better able to understand and relate to your child’s thoughts and feelings. Better communication skills can enhance connection between parent and child, model to children what healthy conversations look like and boost reasoning and cognitive skills.

Are there any drawbacks? 

For parents who like to practise mindfulness in their everyday lives, conscious parenting is more likely to come naturally.Practising self-awareness is key for this style of parenting to succeed, as being in touch with your thoughts and emotions in a healthy way will rub off in how you interact with your children. There is art in the practice of being aware of your child’s mood and needs and being prepared to respond accordingly. A child’s reasoning and self-awareness levels will differ at different ages and occasions, requiring an element of flexibility!

What does conscious parenting look like?

For some families, day-to-day conscious parenting might take the form of a de-escalation between siblings by using open and honest communication. It might look like a parent taking a moment or two to take a breath before asking a child why they have drawn all over the white dining room walls in red permanent marker. It might be that deep breath before responding calmly to one of many boundary pushing moments of a beloved teen.

Is conscious parenting right for me? 

Conscious parenting is really a set of guiding principles based on ancient wisdom and modern psychology practice, inviting ‘wisdom’ rather than ‘thoughtless reaction’ in everyday life. Each situation, child and parent is different; each moment is an opportunity to choose more meaninful and helpful parental responses. It’s something to work on and work towards, and to have pride in the journey towards best parenthood!

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