Parenting is one of the hardest jobs you’ll ever do. The only training you get is life itself. There is no right or wrong way to do it, so long as you nurture and nourish them to feel safe, secure and loved for who they are.
Each and every one of us is conditioned by our upbringing and life experiences. The information acquired from others – their thoughts and feelings – form the basis of the way we live our lives. We then subconsciously use it to bring up our own children.
Conscious parenting is about becoming aware of how much of our conditioned learning we’re still using in our lives. It’s like assessing and updating all our data; emptying the trash and making room for stuff that’s relevant to us now so we can create an environment that will nurture and nourish both the needs of our children and ourselves.
It’s an opportunity to review our beliefs, attitudes, the words we use, our tone of voice and the way we interact with our children so we can purposefully show them different perspectives on life. It’s about walking the talk and showing them ways to be kind, caring and considerate to others, and why trust and honesty are so important to building relationships.
It’s about encouraging their curiosity and helping them to find solutions for themselves, and showing them how to take responsibility for their own actions and know how to make amends when things go wrong.
It’s listening, listening and listening some more (even when you think you know what they’re going to say or they’re talking complete drivel!) Let them have their say – show them respect and let them know you value their point of view. It will encourage them to appreciate different perspectives, to speak up for themselves and negotiate.
Most importantly, it shows them that you believe in them, which gives them hope and faith in their ability to accomplish anything in life.
Don’t compare them with others. It’s not about keeping up with, or doing what others do or being better than anyone else. It’s about bringing out the best in them. Show them how to create a measure of their own success and ways to manage and achieve the things that matter to them.
There’s a myriad of everyday situations you can use to help your child create an understanding of who they are and the world that they want. It’s up to you to consciously become aware of situations in which you can integrate nuggets of wisdom that will enrich their ability to be the best they can be.
They are not children for long, so cherish them and look after yourself along the way – you need to be strong to support them.
By Philippa Ross, enthusiologist and energy health consultant
Cherish Wellbeing, personal growth and development, www.cherishwellbeing.co.nz