Being a conscious parent can be as frustrating as parenting without awareness. There is no easy road to growth.
I must remain in the moment with my child while using my thoughtful creativity to get me through the moment.
On the upside, when I am parenting consciously, I am rewarded with an undeniable emotional connection with my child.
Without a doubt, when I take the time to identify her needs, model empathy and compassion for her feelings and resist the urge to give in to her wants out of convenience, I feel vastly different than when I use force, manipulation or threats. (I really don't do those things... uh, very often, but let me tell ya, sometimes, I feel the burn).
Clearly, it is not always an easy road.
In case anyone is ever feeling drained with how much energy it can take to parent with awareness or how frustrating it can be when you're worried that you won't get out of the house by 8:45a.m. because you're busy validating feelings and needs - here's a little story that made me remember why it's all worth it.
One afternoon, my three-year-old daughter, Maia Luna, and I were on our way home from our weekly Music & Movement class when ML's buddy enthusiastically began singing a song about how "it was time to go to the restaurant!"
Yes, after class we would always go to the same local spot for a bite to eat.
It was a well-worn routine, and we all know how three-year-olds totally dig their routines. However, today was different and when he found out that we were "not going to the restaurant," he burst into tears.
His mom and I looked at each other as if to say, "Oh *%$&!, how are we gonna get out of this one?"
Then, before either one of us had a chance to say a word, my daughter reached out from her carseat to her friend and in the most loving, but matter-of-fact, way said, "You wanted to go to the restaurant... you thought we were going."
She had so much compassion in her voice, but such a dead-pan look on her face, that we didn't know whether to crack-up laughing or cry.
Intrigued by her tone, the little boy stopped fussing long enough to tune in and listen to what she had to say.
She reiterated, "You really wanted to go to the restaurant!" "Yes, I'm sad!," he whimpered.
"I know, I know, You're sad!" she said, consoling him. Then, he let out a fierce wail, opening the floodgates for his bottled-up emotion to spill over.
She nodded sympathetically, "You're so SAD! I know..., you thought we were going out to eat!"
He nodded in agreement.
"But guess what?," she continued, "We are going to the Papa Nick restaurant where you will have a delicious piece of chicken and pancakes...."
(READ: my dad will give us yummy treats at home)
Somewhere shortly after that sentence, her elaborate menu planning turned into a jumbled mess of nonsensical words, (she's three) but she did it with a big finish and a smile, which made him forget the last-minute schedule change long enough to laugh along with her.
Feeling better (and heard), he was able to let go of the "restaurant" and we averted a 5 o'clock meltdown... or Maia Luna did.
She modeled the 5 steps to peaceful conflict resolution as outline in the TEACH Tool and his Mama and I didn't have to say a word.
So, the next time somebody complains (or suggests) that kids who are parented with unconditional love and empathy are the rudest generation in history or that this non-punitive parenting stuff is crap - just give 'em the finger and tell them to "model this..."
Err, no, no ... I mean, just point to your child, smile, and say, "time will tell."
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