The Conscious Parent


83ee7765cb0cb73a4af0fc9c30d7e691Parenting is the hardest job in the world. We’re all struggling to raise our children to be the best human beings that they can be. I’ve been reading a very profound book on parenting for a while now. I’ve blogged about it before. I’ve had to read it over and over again to really understand it. Oprah calls it a revolutionary way of parenting.


The book is The Conscious Parent, by Clinical Physiologist, Dr. Shefali Tsabary.  According to her, disciplining our children does not work. She says the key to good parenting is to connect with our children.

I think I connect well with my little girl. My daughter knows that I love her and that she comes first over everything else in my life. I still discipline her. Yet, Tsabary claims discipline doesn’t work. That makes me panic about how I’m raising my daughter. Dr.Tsabary also says that our children are our greatest spiritual teachers and that they are here as a reflection of where we need to go and grow in our lives. I had to read and that sentence over and over again. It completely makes sense to me. I’ve grown so much since becoming a mother. I’ve never been a very patient person but since I’ve had my daughter I’ve learned to become a lot more patient. She has taught me about how I view myself and how that has impacted my life as well as her life. I have learned to be less concerned about other people’s opinions of me. I have learned to live more authentically. I no longer value things as much as I had before. I’ve always valued relationships but now I value who I spend my time with. My daughter has taught me so much already in her short eight years. I know she has a lot more to teach me about myself. This book just blows my mind!

Tsabary says the parent-child relationship is a partnership and not a hierarchical situation.  She says “Who we are, our child will reflect. Who they are is a reflection of our consciousness or unconsciousness.” Huh? What? Have I lost you? Exactly how I felt the first time I read the book. That’s why I had to read it over a couple of times.

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How many times have you caught yourself telling your child that they are being lazy or naughty? What labels have you used? Well, Dr. Tsabary says labeling our children creates the exact thing we fear. She says “we have to see their goodness so that they can manifest the light they see reflecting in our eyes. They should see how good they are. We should let them see their essence in our eyes.”

I know I can get upset if my child does something I feel is bad behavior and I don’t hesitate to tell her so. That’s a big don’t! I should be acknowledging her positive behavior instead of always acknowledging what she is doing wrong.


She says our children are NOT extensions of who we are. When we do that we unleash all our emotional baggage onto them. They are not ours to own. They are not our puppets. The conscious parent understands that this is a journey. She says our children act as our mirrors. Every interaction we have with our children we are really interacting with ourselves. Basically what that means is most of us want to see our kids become great at sports we wanted to be great at. Maybe play an instrument we wanted to learn or learn to behave or look the way we think they should because it would make us look better. Push them to be doctors, lawyers, bankers because that’s how they can make money and be “successful”. Money does not equal success. What you do for a living isn’t who you are. Being a successful lawyer may not be who they are and therefore it will lead to an unhappy life. Do you get it? Why is it that most of us say hey you’re going to take such and such class and learn to be a great (put whatever you want your child to be). Instead she says we should let them decide what they want to do and not push them into what we want.


If we are whole and complete and if we are doing what makes us happy they mirror that. If we are a mess, well that’s what they mirror. That is the scariest thing to be aware of because many of us are still struggling to find ourselves. This book is saying that we should work on ourselves and be happy and content in our own lives. That’s a much better way of teaching our children how to be functioning adults in the future.  Basically the best gift we can give our kids is our own awakening and then they can soar as well.

Dr. Tsabary says things that we try to hide from our children they absorb. For instance, if you are rushing them in the morning, or rushing them to hurry up and go to bed so you can have some time for yourself they feel it.  If all we care about is our ego based agenda they know it. They want you to care about who they are.

She says they are more attune and in the now then we will ever be. It doesn’t mean we let them loose to do whatever they want. Tsabary says every action has a consequence. We have to use the power of natural consequences. They emerge naturally stop, pause and tune it to what’s going on within them. It just means we have to guide them consciously. For example, one of my battles with my child is her sleep time. She always wants to sleep later. It becomes an argument every time. I end up making her go to bed but she is not happy. She feels like I bully her into doing something she doesn’t want. The way the book says I should take care of this situation is to acknowledge her wish of staying up. For instance, I can say I know you want to stay up. It’s fun to be up a little longer but you have school tomorrow and you will be very tired if you don’t sleep now. Maybe we can stay up a bit later over the weekend.

It feels better to me to help her sleep at a decent hour consciously. The other way feels like I’m fighting with my child. It’s my ego against hers. Our children show us how immature we still are…how we have more growing to do. Tsabary says that’s why they are our greatest teachers. When we are faced with challenges with our kids, this is the call for us to stay in the present.


In Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s conscious approach to parenting, kids serve as mirrors of their parents’ forgotten self. Those willing to look in the mirror have an opportunity to establish a relationship with their own inner state of wholeness. Once they find their way back to their essence, parents enter into communion with their children, shifting away from the traditional parent-to-child “know it all” approach and more towards a mutual parent-with-child relationship. She says, “he pillars of the parental ego crumble as the parents awaken to the ability of their children to transport them into a state of presence.”

We are here as a leader, nurturer and supporter of our children. They are perfectly formed little beings. All we have to do is gently guide them. That’s a practice I will have to do consciously.

What are your thoughts?







Picture Perfect.

I’m a writer with a lot of creative hobbies including photography. I think the best description I can give you of myself is that I am a creative person with a love for style, design, art and photography. I’m a storyteller by nature. Even when I’m taking pictures, I like to create a story.  I mainly love taking pictures of my beautiful child and other children in my life. My own childhood was a time filled with family, love and travel. In a blink of an eye I went from being a little girl to an adult with real life responsibilities. I try very hard to stop, pause and live in the present with my child. It feels like the years are flying by so I have the urge to capture every second of it. That’s where my photography comes in. Every year I try to take special pictures of my Sophia and my nephews. To really look at them and enjoy and capture them at each year of their lives. Some of my friends love the pictures I take and have asked me to take pictures of their children. I enjoy it so much that I’ve even thought about doing it part time. I just may, we’ll see.

Recently my neighbor asked me to take some pictures of her girls. They are the sweetest, loveliest little girls. Both Sophia and I adore them. So we headed out to the park for some whimsical, magical pictures of these beautiful little girls and a few of my gal.

When I take pictures, I think about the background and I only like taking photos outdoors. It always has to be in a serene beautiful place. I style the girls the way I feel would enhance the location and the theme of the pictures. I think about hair, clothes and even shoes or the lack of! I often have some props. Usually it’s as simple as a change of a coat or a hat. This time I dragged a big old mirror and a teddy bear as my prop.

Here are my pictures…enjoy.


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I would love your input, so tell me what you think of my pictures.  Now make sure that every once in a while you capture the beautiful moments of your life.

Give the gift of life!

6e1b81069e067bb98e6fa66eb75e6317If you had a chance to save a life, would you? Well here’s your chance. My friend is fighting for her life and you or someone that you know may be able to help. I met Liz over thirty years ago. Her cousin and I had been best friends for most of our lives. I spent a lot of time with my best friend. I loved her and her family as if they were my own. I’ve seen Liz on and off throughout the years. I’ve watched her grow from a little girl into a beautiful woman. Her mom is a really special lady as well. Needless to say they both mean a lot to me. I tend to treasure my friends. It takes a lot for me to befriend someone and take them into my heart but once I do, it’s forever.

I can go on about how great Elizabeth is. She is a loyal friend, a strong woman with strong convictions. She is a loving daughter, wife and mother. She has friends and an entire extended family who care for her. Most importantly, she has a fourteen year old son who depends on her. Her son needs his mother around to witness and celebrate his graduation from high school, college and to see him get married and have children.  We all want Liz around for a long time.

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Liz has a genetic syndrome called Polycystic Kidney Disease or PKD. It replaces healthy kidney tissue with cysts. Eventually there isn’t enough kidney tissue to do the job the kidney is meant to do. That’s when you need a new kidney. That’s the stage that Liz is now. She is currently at 14 percent kidney function. She will need to begin painful dialysis at about 9 percent. She needs a new kidney…now!


Before Liz,  I never even heard of PKD. The disease is more common than cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy , sickle cell anemia and downs syndrome combined! That’s crazy! It affects 600 thousand Americans and 12.5 million people around the world!

My cousin David has gone through his own journey of kidney failure. He was diagnosed with glomerulosclerosis at the age of 10. He had two kidney transplants and now at the age of 38 he is still healing. David’s most recent kidney transplant was from a live donor. His courageous, giving donor George Livingston is a New Jersey State Trooper. George just happened to see David’s need for a kidney on Facebook right in the nick of time! A complete stranger decided to help. He literally saved my cousin’s life. I often wonder what it’s like to be a person like George. To be so selfless and giving. To actually give a part of his body to another human being in order to save them. It brings tears to my eyes that there are actually people like this walking the earth. It deepens my faith in humanity.

I pray that there are more people like George in the world. I hope that Liz gets rescued by another amazing soul. She and her family are doing their part. They are staying strong, positive and working hard to bring awareness to this disease.


Liz isn’t just raising awareness for herself. PKD is genetic, her son Wyeth has a 50% chance of also having PKD.

Liz’s best chance for survival is a live donor. The average wait for a deceased donor kidney is 5 years!  If you or someone you know wants to help my friend,  you can support her walks for a cure or if it’s in your heart help her by donating a kidney. Liz’s blood type is A positive. She can receive a kidney by anyone with A positive, A negative, O positive and O negative.

To learn more about living kidney donation, follow this link,  Info on the transplant program at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania

I am participating in the Kidney Walk benefitting the National Kidney Foundation. I want to do my part to help my friend Liz get a life saving kidney and raise awareness. Today, I am asking you to support my fundraising efforts with a donation. Please click below to the National Kidney Foundation link, click on donate then search for my name Laila Sattar and donate to my team. Your help is much needed for this important cause.

Thank you!

Love you Liz!

National Kidney Foundation.


How to help ease back to school anxiety


It’s that time of the year when we switch from our lazy summer days to routine, school and homework. It’s usually a switch that can cause some stress for both you and  your child. But, with a little bit of preparation and the right attitude, it doesn’t have to be so difficult.

Having a little anxiety about going back to school is normal. Our children are facing a lot of newness, including new teachers, classmates and lots of academic challenges. The anticipation of the new school year may cause sleepless nights for some kids. I know my child has a lot of anxiety right before the first day of school. She is often sick to her stomach and unable to sleep. As much as my heart breaks for her, I have to put on a strong front and say “I know you can do it. Change is difficult but I know once you get to school you will feel better. You’re going to have a great day and make lots of new friends!’”

I think our attitude has a strong influence on how our children view the beginning of school. They pick up on our feelings, react to them, and often magnify them. You have to have faith that they’ll be able to get through the changes, even if it’s hard. Let them know that everyone feels a little nervous going into the classroom. Maybe share some stories about how you were nervous but by the end of the day you  made a new friend and felt great about seeing some old ones. I tell my daughter that somewhere in her class is a child who is waiting to be her friend. It helps set a positive expectation about the school year, and it helps her notice and be ready to respond to friendly overtures.

Here are some ways I prepare my child for the start of school.



1) Create Routines

I establish a daily routines at home at the start of the school year to help her adjust. I create a checklist to help my child get organized and stay on schedule.  I think it helps ease anxiety with rushing to get out the door.  I plan on having a laminated checklist that hangs on the refrigerator and reads Make your bed.  Eat breakfast. Get dressed. Brush teeth. Get backpack. She will check off each item before she heads out the door. This will help her feel in charge and make her feel that getting ready is her responsibility. For the afternoon, I plan on scheduling a routine for homework, snacks, and extracurricular activities. My sister has a great idea of always having my child help create the schedule as a way to get her to buy into it.

2) Establish Fun Traditions

If your excited for school to begin, your kids will follow your lead. Maybe do something fun every year that can help ring in the new school year and it can become your family tradition. My daughter likes to dine at a fancy restaurant the night before the first day of school. We sit around and talk about what she looks forward to and what her concerns are for the upcoming year. We also always take a picture of her with her new backpack at the front steps before she heads out on her first day. The whole backpack buying is also a big deal for her. I make sure she picks something she loves and we prepare all her school supplies and label things together.

Once school starts, I try to follow my child’s lead. She tends to keep a lot of things to herself and doesn’t like me to question her too much.   Of course, I want to know every detail of her day but I don’t push her. I let her relax and then talk later. Sometimes she tells me bits and pieces of her day. Sometimes she doesn’t share much at all.  Either way, it’s fine, as long as she seems calm and somewhat happy, I assume the start of the school is going well.

One of the most precious gifts we can give our children is our confidence that they will find their way. And they will.

I hope your children have a great start to their school year!