Updated: Jul 19, 2022
Raising children can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences of life. Parents have a powerful ability to raise children who will become healthy human beings. The connections we make as a child set the stage for our future mental health and relationships. People are thrust into the role of a parent with minimal education or guidance. New parents unknowingly pass on behaviors to their impressionable children that can follow them throughout their lives.
Remaining a calm, confident and empathetic caregiver during your child’s development will create a ripple effect, potentially through generations. A style of parenting that incorporates these elements of mindfulness is conscious parenting, also known as positive parenting.
Conscious parenting encourages caregivers to practice emotional self-awareness and mindfulness in order to accept and understand their child’s behavior. The conscious parent has made peace with their past in order to avoid projecting dysfunction onto their children. This allows children to freely grow and develop their own identity. When the parent is secure in their attachments and self-worth, they have the ability to create a stronger bond with their child. Discipline is respectful, meaning providing alternatives and engaging in active listening.
So how can you begin to incorporate conscious parenting into your life? Here are a few ways to begin building a conscientious relationship with your family.
Bring awareness to language. How do you speak to your child? Do you talk at them or with them? Your verbal and nonverbal language should be kind, encouraging and respectful.
Keep your expectations in check. Educate yourself on the stages of development so you can understand and tend to your child’s needs appropriately.
Practice emotional regulation. Children form their sense of self directly from us. Understanding your own personal triggers and processing your own upbringing is your personal responsibility, not your child’s. When you practice emotional regulation, you model healthy behaviors and remain connected.
Conscious parenting places emphasis on the role of the parent. If you are ready to make peace with your past, learn mindfulness and have a better understanding of your emotions, connecting with a therapist can be a valuable investment. A therapist can help you define your goals as a conscious parent and help build lifelong skills that will positively affect you and your relationships with your partner and family.
Melanie Hanson was a student intern at Cypress Wellness Center working towards an LMHC licensure through a Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development at Lindsey Wilson College. She is also studying Acceptance and Commitment therapy and has an interest in narrative, existential, and dialectical behavioral (DBT) therapy. Melanie is also interested in attachment theory and the role this can have on your narrative. She believes that everyone has a unique story that they are the author of. Melanie is happy to help people revise their story for a more positive and accepting narrative. Resources: