The Conscious Parent

Mamas on Bedrest: The Conscious Parent

February 24th, 2015

The Conscious parent Book CoverI was watching Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday and she had this very lovely woman on named Dr. Shefali Tsabary. Dr. Tsabary is a clinical psychologist and an internationally known expert in “Conscious Parenting”. Her book, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves and Empowering our Children is a bestseller on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com, and explains how we as parents are not to “lord it over” our children, but our job is to really get in touch with the spirit of our children and thus guide them towards their higher selfs.

Dr. Tsabary states that in the parent-child relationship, children actually mirror and act out issues parents have regarding their own childhoods, and this is often a source of stress between parents and children. For example, a parent who may be very insistent that their child be a soccer player may have had soccer aspirations themselves as a child. But the child may hate soccer and manifest this dislike by not being prepared for practice, trying to avoid practice, misplacing or losing equipment, etc…Then the parent and child get into power struggles; the parent trying to “instill good team skills and agility/athleticism” (actually their own desires for team skills and athleticism) and that child trying to assert his or her own preferences.

Dr. Tsabary also emphasized that we cannot expect our children to be perfect. Their bad behavior is just behavior and we should not take it personally. She said that when our children throw tantrums, it isn’t a reflection of us as parents, but a sign that the child is upset. Okay, I agree with that in theory, but each of my children threw exactly one public tantrum and I have to admit, it made me crazy and yes, I was concerned that other customers in the stores were thinking,

“She can’t control her kid!”

This is where we err, according to Dr. Tsabary. We should be focusing on what is going on and what has triggered our child. The tantrum isn’t about us. But when we take it and judge ourselves as parents for it, then we set our selves up for confrontation with our children.

I have not read this book (yet), but I was very taken with what this psychologist had to say. As someone raised in the “you do it because I told you to do it” line of parenting, I really do have a desire to be a more “conscious parent” and I do give my children a chance to voice their opinions. I actually came into conflict over it with my mother on a visit to my parents one summer. I asked my daughter to do something and she asked me “Why”. The moment she asked “Why”, my mother threw a fit and started yelling at my daughter to be quiet and to do what I asked. I actually had to “back my mother off” my daughter and tell her that I was fine with my daughter asking why she was to do what I asked. I then explained to my daughter why I needed her to do what I asked and she went ahead and did it.

“I’m not into this ‘new parenting,” my mother gruffly stated.

“It’s not ‘new parenting'” I said. “It’s allowing my children to learn to respectfully express their opinions. She wasn’t out of line, she simply asked a question about why I asked her to do what I asked.”

My mother grew up in a very different time than we live in now and in her day, Children were to be seen and not heard and to be obedient little robots, yet expected to live and function fully in the world. While one may argue that many grew up this way and have fared just fine, I know that I have had my own issues with communication and asserting my opinions. I don’t want either of my children to be this way. I want them to be firm in their convictions and to not be afraid to speak their minds.

I am looking forward to reading through The Conscious Parent and seeing what else I can learn and take into my parenting arsenal. I invite you, Mamas on Bedrest, to take some time to think about how you want to parent those little loves you’ve got growing inside of you. If you decide to read the book, please post a comment in the comments section below. I’d love to hear if and/or how this book changes your parenting perspective and what tips you are taking into your own parenting arsenal and the things with which you are in disagreement. I don’t feel that there is enough emphasis on really thinking about the type of parent you want to be, and quite frankly once the baby is here, there just isn’t time. So while you are hanging out and gestating, you may want to read this book and formulate your parenting style.