Putting a Spotlight on Conscious Parenting With Dr. Shefali! by Donna John
Have you ever wondered what Conscious Parenting is? Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of the award-winning book “The Conscious Parent,” is a visionary who believes parents need to be raised into a higher state of mindfulness as they raise their children. Dr. Shefali, who has appeared on Oprah’s Life Class and Super Soul Sunday and is a 30Second Mom contributor, joined us recently to share her amazing and inspiring thoughts, tips and wisdom!
Q: Can you share what it means to be a conscious parent? How is it learned?
We become aware of our need to be raised into a higher state of mindfulness as much as our kids are to be raised. How is it learned? To become aware that we come laden with emotional baggage from childhood, and that it influences relationships with our children. We incorporate principles of present-moment mindfulness in day-to-day interactions with our kids and intimate others.
Q: What does it mean to parent “unconsciously”?
We blindly project onto our kids issues from our past to live our unfulfilled lives and meet our unmet expectations that have nothing to do with them. To be in a constant state of reactivity, unable to respond from a place of equanimity, compassion and wisdom. To unthinkingly use archaic strategies of threats, fear and punishment as a way to control and micromanage our children.
Q: How does ego function and affect our parenting? How does one transition out of ego?
The ego develops in our childhood when we were not accepted or seen for who we authentically were. We needed to create a false self to have our needs be met. The ego is based on false ideals, mostly driven by need, lack and fear. It greatly affects our parenting as we are unable to operate from our authenticity. Ego rests on false ideals of external validators, such as achievement, success, beauty, wealth. When we parent with these ideals, we teach children to remain severed from their selves as well. We can transition out of ego when we learn to be more and more authentic with ourselves, letting go of our false selves.
Q: What is the spiritual significance of the role of motherhood?
Motherhood teaches us that we are powerful in our singularity as we are in our loving and giving; that we have a purpose on earth. As women are consummate caregivers, we are challenged to create boundaries as parents. This consequently teaches us to take care of ourselves as much as we do others. It reminds us to be authentic and find our true voice so that we may teach our children to respect their own.
Q. How can parents deal with their emotional inheritance from their childhood?
When we get triggered, we see this as a call to awareness that there is something deeper at play. Once we are aware that we are being hurtled toward our past, we can begin to deconstruct it and make changes. Learning to be compassionate for their past wounds will allow parents to heal the past with patience and forbearance. By un-layering present-day triggers, parents can piece together what may have occurred in the past and re-discover their lost selves.
Q: What is the spiritual approach to discipline and your advice for the teen years?
By the time kids reach teen years, it is time for us to stop being controlling/anxious as they simply will not have it anymore. Teens are at the stage where they want us to trust them and let them find their own way. Connection is the only way to really create a meaningful partnership with teens. The most spiritual way to discipline teens is to help them awaken their own inner connection and path to self-governance.
Q. How do parents tend to avoid the present moment without even being aware of it?
By being manically obsessed with the doing aspects of life, keeping busy and distracted. By
constantly keeping the inner mental chatter going. By allowing their inner critic to stay strong and shaming of them.
Q: What are some ways we can incorporate consciousness into our everyday busy lives?
De-cluttering our schedules, homes and lives. Engaging in a way that is authentic and genuine so we don’t attract things/people in our lives that are obstructions to growth. Introduce 30 minutes or so of stillness – where we either walk in nature, sit in silence or meditate.
Many thanks to Dr. Shefali for sharing such life-changing information about Conscious Parenting with us! Be sure to follow @DrShefali on Twitter, like her Facebook page and visit her website, DrShefali.com!