So how were your parents at parenting? Awesome? The worst? Something in between? Now, what I’m going to say is not an excuse to blame your parents for whatever may not be working in your life, but the fact is, most parents never got the tools to be effective parents. Many bring their unlived dreams, their hangups and old ineffective communication styles to the role. Others are doing their best but, really, just winging it. Few stick to rules they set for their kids, actively listen to their them, or get that kids should be shown the same level of respect we show adults.
I didn’t know any of this until I saw Dr. Shefali on the Oprah Show and was introduced to conscious parenting. Soon after, I was telling friends with kids, “You’ve got to read this book called ‘The Conscious Parent!”‘
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.
How meditation helps
How we’re parented sets the foundation for who we become. Although I’m not a parent myself, I had parents. I’m not complaining when I say this, but the traditional Jamaican parenting I experienced was not the best thing for me: Speak when you’re spoken to. Proper language at the dinner table. Sit straight. Walk erect… It wasn’t the best style for someone as curious and non-traditional as me. Bless their hearts, they didn’t know this, but my curiosity was and is a good thing. It’s a huge part of who I am, and they almost succeeded in stamping it out of me.
Coming from that parenting model, Dr. Shefali had my attention when she said:
…by trying to control our kids, we may miss who they are meant to be.
I understood immediately what she meant and how easily (and unintentionally) that can happen. I’m sure this awareness was one of the reasons I went around telling friends with kids to read the book. Parenting is hard, and I believe most parents want to do the right thing. But in relationships, we’re more likely to model behaviors we learned growing up. Either the same behavior or opposite behavior, which is not necessarily the most helpful thing either.
Years later, I love the dialogue that Dr. Shefali has helped to start and I’m so happy to see more and more people turning away from traditional parenting. I feel fairly certain that in a few years, a lot more people will be able to say unequivocally, I had awesome parents!
Meditation makes you a better parent
Mama Kat(rine) is one of them. She’s 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! If that’s not enough incentive for you parents to meditate, I don’t know what is.
Christine is a lifestyle coach living in Los Angeles. She believes the way we live predicts our future health and motivation. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to find out about working with Christine.