“If you understand that the inappropriate behavior of your children is a call to increased consciousness on your part, you are able to view the opportunities they afford you to grow differently. Instead of reacting to them, you look within yourself and ask why you react. In the asking, you open a space for consciousness to arise.”
― Shefali Tsabary, The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children
Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs on earth. Most of us feel tremendous pressure to raise our children according to our values, and to see them become successful in whatever way we define that term. It comes as a great disappointment then, when our children cannot or will not live up to the expectations we have set for them. Sometimes we don’t even realize we have an expectation but we are continually reacting to our children’s behaviors or struggles as if they are a threat. And they are…to our unmet expectations.
Most parenting strategies focus on behavior modification, power structure, or perceived lack in the child, but conscious parenting is a strategy that focuses primarily on the parent first, recognizing that our own unique children come to us as our greatest teachers. To parent in a conscious way requires that we face the myriad of ways we have been conditioned, perhaps by society or our own parents, to fall into traps of anxiety, perfectionism, punishment, shame, control, and rescuing behavior. We must be willing to own the degree to which we have made parenting about our children’s behavior or perceived success, and the ways in which we have desired our children to be an outwardly flattering reflection of us. In desiring a deeper more authentic relationship with our children, we must first find this in ourselves. We must own our part in reacting to their behaviors out of unconsciousness and take ownership of the personal life lessons we are being presented with when we feel triggered.
We recognize that our children are simply mirrors that reflect our pain points and bring them to the surface to be healed. It is only when we are able to sit with ourselves in all of our imperfections and accept ourselves wholeheartedly without judgement that we can truly love our children without strings or ulterior motives. And it is only then that our children are truly able to fully accept themselves just for being, without room for fear of failure or feelings of inadequacy.
Here at In the Cortex we love conscious parenting because an essential part of what we do is help parents (as well as children) begin to live in a more conscious way. We look at triggers as opportunities to shift to increased awareness. We help parents discover what beliefs are driving their patterns of reaction, and create positive shifts through the tool of reconnects. Once the foundation of brain work is laid out, we have set the stage to be able to reconnect anytime a trigger arises. This is a tool that not only helps restore relationships, but fosters healthy self image and attachment patterns for generations to come.
We really can rise above our conditioning, but often it takes some of our most challenging children to show us the way. When we can finally shift from blame to gratitude, we open the door to authentic connection. With brain work and conscious parenting, we can change the world!