1. Understand that Parenting Is Really About the Parents, Not the Kids
Until I truly learned I need to take responsibility for my own mental programs as well as the programs I have carved in my children’s minds since birth, I was not successful to curb my reactivity, perfectionism, feeling of control and fear of judgement. These are the outline of what has empowered me to claim thorough ownership of this ever most colossal and critical task as a parent on this earth:
- When I learned that all I am, do and have is the result of heavy-duty programs built in my brain during childhood. During the years of 0-6 years old, our brain works as if it is in a hypnotic state meaning it’s tremendously malleable and suggestable to all that is said, done and manifested in the outside world. We internalize everything happening around us in order to survive in this earthly world, and the collection of these learnings becomes the indestructible fort of beliefs, values and habits for the rest of our lives.
- When I clearly witnessed the way I react to my children is directly the result of these programs.
- When I experimented with alternative reaction scenarios and observed and ultimately believed how miraculously my children’s behavior upgraded accordingly.
- When I finally took ALL the responsibility for my children’s behavior and started retraining myself to parent more consciously.
- When I was assured that my reality is the result of my thoughts and beliefs. That I need to be mindful and aware of my emotions at all times.
- When I understood that any time I get triggered by my children’s misbehaviour, I need to look within and spot the program that needs to be cleared or replaced to make me evolve and grow even further and as the bonus, make my children behave more appropriately.
- When I honestly believed that my children are my little teachers and my true spiritual partners in the journey of life. They are the authentic mirrors reflecting me. Watch the Ted talks with Dr. Shefali to better understand this amazing concept.
- When I trained myself to rise above my ego and see things from their point of view at any given time.
- When I forgave myself as well as my parents as we have been running grave programs and did what we thought best suited at any given point in time.
As you see, the subject of all of the above sentences is “I”. Fortunately or, unfortunately, there is nothing extraordinary children need to do. IT IS ALL ON US.
2. Identify, Clear or Replace Your Limiting Programs
- We are not the victim of our genes. According to Dr. Bruce Lipton, the cell biologist, genes need an outside trigger to get activated. I learned that the limiting belief that my reactivity is inevitably the work of my paternal genes and I have no power over them had thoroughly paralyzed me going forward with my numerous endeavors to overcome this trait. I needed to become aware of my programs and limiting beliefs to be able to move forward with my intentions. The vow of “Yellibacy” as Dr. Laura Markham intelligently names it simply didn’t work for me. All the techniques and facts I learned from more than 40 parenting books, many parenting conferences and workshops were just some nice knowledge far from being actualized. And if they did work, they merely did on a temporary basis. The reason is that the unyielding fort of beliefs, values and habits that were engraved in my brain during childhood reside on the 95% of the mind in the subconscious territory and my intentions and goals live in the 5% conscious part of the mind. It is like we are trying to reach a destination with a rowboat unaware of the anchor that is deeply rooted in the seabed hindering us from rowing forward.
- Identifying these programs and clearing them is analogous to lifting this anchor.
- Every time we get triggered or feel negative by an event, an experience or our children’s misbehavior we are actually being invited to locate these programs and where we need to work and heal.
- When you catch your negative emotion, give it a name and ask yourself why you are experiencing it. Keep asking “why” until you get to the bottom belief or program.
- Ask yourself if the program that was once an established neural pathway as a protective mechanism is still serving you. If not, choose to clear or replace it with a program that serves you better now.
- Meditate, use visualization tools and subconscious techniques to clear and replace these limiting beliefs. In case of a conflict, associate your ideal reaction to a solution image and visualize it is getting replaced in place of an undesirable image, over and over again. Watch Swish Pattern clip and Mirror of the Mind technique to get a better idea about this notion.
- Be patient with yourself as you need an average of 90 days to successfully retrain your brain. Have faith that eventually the neurons that fire together, wire together. Watch the amazing TED Talks with Dr. Joe Dispenza to keep you on your path.
3. Choose Love and Coach Your Kids to Live Their True and Responsible Selves
- Always remind yourself that every time your children misbehave, they are actually saying inside; “Please help me! I am suffering!” Know that what’s not love is a cry for love.
- When you get triggered, stop, take 3 deep breaths and ask yourself what she is triggering in you. Also, venture to see the scenario from their point of view. This pause will subside your urge for reactivity and allows you to proceed with love.
- Set empathetic limits and family rules. Teach respect by respecting them. Use natural consequences instead of punitive words or actions.
- Acknowledge and empathize with your children’s desires and emotions and then hold your empathetic boundaries. In doing so use “and” instead of “but”.
- Example: “I truly understand your frustration and anger towards your brother, AND we don’t hurt anyone’s body or feelings when we feel these emotions. We use words instead. Let’s sit together and I will help you to fully feel your anger. We can also take 5 deep breaths or look at the meditation jar.” – You can use a snow globe for this purpose. Shake and watch the thoughts and emotions settle as you breathe in and out. This will allow them to disidentify with the emotion.
- Don’t be afraid to hold the limits. When we doubt our “no’s”, we send mixed messages not only to our children but to our own subconscious mind and we act from fear and not from certainty and authenticity.
- Be clear about your values and boundaries and simply hold them compassionately and empathetically without hesitation and with clarity.
- Teach your kids that they can always be connected to their true self. That they are never alone as they have a moment-to-moment internal GPS in their heart. Guide them to find their true internal joy without feeling the need to seek for extrinsic reasons.
- Teach them deep breathing , meditation and other mindfulness techniques from early years.
- Coach them to truly feel their emotions at all times. Let them know they are entitled to the whole spectrum of emotions. This cultivates fearless relationships. Teach them to use words to describe their feelings while communicating with others. They can feel all emotions, but they cannot react from them in disrespectul and hurtful manners.
- Avoid encountering every situation as “emergency”.
- Let them know you are growing alongside them and you are spiritual partners to help each other evolve. Don’t be afraid to show your vulnerability and avoid talking to them from a superior position.
- Assign 20-second heart-to-heart hugs at greeting times. Spend at least 30 minute one-on-one time with each child EVER DAY.
- Hold family meetings every week to reserve a haven for everyone to share their frustrations and collectively find solutions.
- Do what you ask them to do. Don’t yell, “No yelling allowed!” Practice and model responsible, mindful and joyful living.
- Find your missions as a parent and stick to your values.
These books are must-reads for all parents. If you have read them, great, just read them again and again!
- The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children, Dr. Shefali Tsabary
- The Whole-Brain Child, Dr. Daniel J. Siegel, Dr. Tina Payne Bryson
- How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish
- Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, Dr. Laura Markham
I will be holding a series of 4 Conscious Parenting workshops in Monterey, California in the month of September 2015. Contact me for further info if you like to attend. Arayeh @ (831)915-9438
Happy parenting 🙂
♥ Be.Love.Know. ♥