At some point in our lives, we’ve all said this line when talking about our less-than-perfect childhoods:
If I ever have kids, I’ll never……
….make them feel like they’re less than enough ….yell at them in the middle of the grocery store …lash out or make unreasonable rules
None of us want to repeat the mistakes our (often well-intentioned) parents made raising us.And yet, we unconsciously find ourselves repeating the cycle.
Lost on how to start? Here’s 5 principles of conscious parenting that you can start working on now:
See your kids for who they are: human beings. Parents often forget that their kids have their own quirks, preferences, and boundaries, which might conflict with the parents’ way of doing things! Your task isn’t to raise a clone of yourself, but to help your child grow and develop into the unique individual that they are.
Listen with love. When voices are high or even hysterical—that’s when your child is telling you something important. You may feel the urge to yell right back, but you’ll learn a lot more if you can pause and listen instead.
Build them up, don’t tear them down. Being overly critical can undermine your child’s confidence, but so can too much praise. Work to acknowledge your child’s achievements in a neutral way. Let them know that it’s possible to be good at something but still have room for improvement.
Explain your reasoning. Children, even older children, may not understand the guidelines and boundaries you set for them at first. Take time to explain why they can’t watch TV for 4 hours straight or pouring milk all over dad’s laptop.
Be flexible. Your parenting style should adjust to the unique needs of your child—not the other way around! Practice the 4 principles above, keep in mind that what works for one child won’t necessarily work for another, and adapt accordingly.