You've probably heard of conscious or mindful parenting on social media. It's a big buzz right now.
And it can throw some parents in a tizzy, causing them to question everything they're doing! "Parenting is tough enough, and now I have to watch my every move! I'm exhausted!"
Luckily, no, that's not what conscious parenting is about.
Conscious parenting means being awake and aware enough to know children are their own people. They do need some guidance - "don't put a fork in an electrical socket; look both ways before your cross the street". Still... We as a modern society put a lot of pressure on kids to BE a certain way, to LEARN a certain way, and to GROW UP pretty fast while simultaneously being infantilized. Conscious parenting to me is knowing that I am not here to MOLD my kids, but to be their guide. So to be a conscious parent means remembering that they are human beings with their own thoughts, methods, ideas, and inspirations.
It's the practice of mindfulness as a parent. Since I teach mindfulness, I can usually notice when I act out of what I call an imagined future or a misremembered past and not in clarity for the present moment. Being present with and for your kids rather than just imprinting what was passed down to you.
I think more people have access to mindful or awake parenting than they realize. It's not perfect parenting! It can sound like someone practicing being a conscious parent is always acting holy and perfect. And that just can't be true!
There are FOUR main keys to conscious parenting. To me, it's merely setting an intention to do the following:
Communicate with my kids - This is about coming together to find understanding. The more I talk to my kids about what's going on and about what's expected, the more trust is built.
Have clear boundaries - We still have rules and expectations. And we set these expectations clearly and calmly because it's tough for kids to respect boundaries set in fear or without reason.
Accept how things are - Acceptance will set you free! Have an emotional child? A hyper child? A kid that has a steel reserve? Accepting how they are and how you are takes work, but it's life-changing. As Bryon Katie says, "How do I know this is supposed to be happening? Because IT IS?" This doesn't mean things can't change, but wishing for that misremembered past or imagined future won't do us much good unless we first have clear acceptance. Anything that is not accepted is avoidance.
Commit to my inner work - My healing journey directly benefits my children and my relationship with them. Because parenting is the deepest level of shadow work there is!
My parenting journey is 100% responsible for my healing and growth journey. Because it wasn't until I became a parent that I saw ALL of my conditioning and programming. That my parents and my fears, were all pouring out of me without my awareness. I knew I wanted to show up differently for them, so I began a healing journey. Starting with meditation, somatic experiencing, and inner child work. Then it unfolded and transformed from there.
I experienced PTSD after a traumatic experience and years of chronic stress that multiplied with the twins' birth. So, I had to dig into those triggers and find a deep well of compassion for myself. Luckily, the birth of my children led me on this path of spiritual and emotional awakening.
Even though I have many practices for regulating my nervous system in my tool belt, I still get challenged by my children. Challenging moments help me remember how important repair is. I don't get it right every time. I can lose my cool and get overwhelmed. And when I do, I repair without instruction or evaluating their behavior. I feel that models responsibility and integrity.
Traveling with a family of five for the past eight months felt incredibly activating at times. When activation occurs, I must remember to release control and let things be how they are (as long as no one is in danger). Especially when traveling with three kids! My kids don't always act how I "think" they should. And when I am in the seat of the witness, when I am in awareness, I can just let them be themselves. We are all unique souls having these human experiences. If I am an individual soul… Than so are they. Which gives children the right to explore and sense the world uniquely. There's only one of each child on the planet, so trying to fit everything in a box of right or wrong doesn't work.
I learned everything about my inner child after I became a parent. So, I entered a relationship with little Lindsey with this mothering energy that I felt was helpful. I could see her pain with full love and compassion. I eventually could come to terms with the fact that there is no perfect parent. My journey as a parent took me through many feelings about my parents - my childhood experience could be dysfunctional and explosive, and I didn't feel seen. So, I now accept that knowing and try to prioritize ensuring my children feel seen and validated as much as I can. While also knowing they will have pain, shame, and conditioning to work through.
As conscious parents, we can do our awakened best. But to think we will cause no harm is spiritual bypassing. I can give my parents grace and see how their pain is directly connected to mine. Without a "well, it happened to me, and I turned out just fine" idea that some people can carry.
The book that woke me up is by Conscious Parenting by Dr. Shefali Tsabary.
Mindfulness practice is an amazing place to start. Because it's just becoming aware of what's happening in the present moment and then teaching from the story. So, if I'm activated, and my kids are running wild, does something need to change? Or can I expand my compassionate awareness for myself and be activated while they are still wild? The real key question here is... Does anything need to change? Or can things start noticing when there's a situation where you might be forcing your desired outcome? You might not even change what you're doing just yet. But simply notice.
Our children are the most important spiritual teachers we will have. Like Ram Dass said, "If you think you're enlightened, spend a week with your family!" So, the role of a parent is not to mold or police children but to nurture, connect, and gently lead them. The role of children, especially once we become adult children, is to see the human behind the role of parent.
Parenting is a sacred initiation into a new level of humanhood. As parents and caregivers, we will be tested. Our old programming will come up. And it's up to us to alchemize these experiences. Parenting is a gift that has remarkably high highs and equal challenges. And it's worth every drop.
I recently sat down with Kayla Paradis, the Pathway to Paradise Podcast host, to chat about conscious parenting. It was a great convo! We teamed up to create a great giveaway. Want to win a FREE 90-minute intuitive somatic session with me? It's so simple to enter. Go to Pathway to Paradise and Can We Start Over Podcast in Apple Podcasts, scroll down to Rating and Reviews, click WRITE A REVIEW, and leave each podcast a review. Then take a screenshot of each review and send them to this EMAIL. Boom, you're entered to win. Check out Kayla's beautiful work on Instagram, and listen to the episode on conscious parenting HERE.
Schedule a session with me HERE if you are ready to dive into your healing through mindfulness and inner child work.