So how were your parents at the whole parenting gig? Awesome? The worst? Something in between? If you’re like most people, you had parents who did the best they knew how to. But therein lies the problem. Many were never taught how to be effective parents. And even though you may have learned from your parents some things you don’t want to repeat (hoovering, academic pressure), there’s a good chance you’re going to repeat many of their mistakes too.
Starting with how we view children (as our legacy or an extension of ourselves), set up an ego-based relationship dynamics.
Ego-based parents will want their children to achieve the dreams that they themselves didn’t. They will expect their children to understand and be okay with their personal hangups and to love them out of a sense of obligation. They tend not to show their children the same level of respect they show adults. In toxic households, one parent will be dishonest with their spouse/ partner but expect their kids to be honest with them. They fail to understand that such values-based behaviors are learned. Some guilt their kids into behaving well by making them feel bad about themselves. For many parents, it’s a case of Do-what-I-say-not-what-I-do.
So what chance do you have of being a better parent if this was your parenting model? The good news is that we’re questioning some of the ways we used to do things, including how we parent and new ideas like conscious parenting are out there for us to learn from.
What is conscious parenting
Conscious parenting is based on unconditional love, guidance over traditional discipline, and respectful communication that creates healthy self-esteem. It stresses the importance of parents working out their “stuff” so they don’t project them onto their children.
Although I’m not a parent myself, I know what ineffective parenting looks like. The traditional Jamaican parenting I had was very disempowering. It was Speak when you’re spoken to. Proper language at the dinner table. Sit straight. Walk erect. For someone as curious and non-traditional as me, that sure wasn’t the best parenting style.
But I’m not alone. That’s how many (maybe most) black parents used to parent. Thankfully, we’re getting new ideas on parenting from people like Dr. Shefali, author of The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children. She had my attention when in an interview I heard her say this:
…by trying to control our kids, we may miss who they are meant to be.
Every parent I know love and care deeply for their kids. They would rather raise confident well-adjusted children than mess us this important job. With the right tools and education, studies show, we can become better parents. With conscious parenting, parents have a framework to follow and with meditation, they have a tool that they can practice daily to help them become better parents.
How meditation makes you a better parent
It retrains our brain and makes us more self-aware.
Mama Kat(rine) is proof that meditation makes you a better parent. On her YouTube channel, you can see firsthand what a calming presence she is for her son. Behavioral scientists have confirmed that this calm is especially soothing for babies and beneficial to young children’s development.
Meditation helps Mama Kat be a peaceful, respectful presence for her baby and to be a more engaged parent. It is one of the best tools out there to help parents raise more focused, productive, successful teenagers and adults.
That’s right, children raised by parents who meditate and practice conscious parenting act out less in their teenage years! Who knew?