Parenting 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.
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?