There is a huge amount of knowledge available to a mother during her pregnancy and then while giving birth, but then nothing. You are sent home to do your best and learn by your mistakes. Thanks to John Edwards, founder of Parent Conscious, here are his 17 Bright Ideas for Becoming A Conscious Parent:
Always be willing to learn – Parenting is a role that never remains the same, it changes each day with the changing needs of your family. To make sure that you are acting as a conscious parent be on the lookout for ways to learn how to improve your parenting role.
Realise that your kids do not misbehave for the fun of it – When you are in the heat of an argument or in the middle of a toddler’s tantrum it may seem like your child is just misbehaving for the fun of it. Your child’s misbehaviour is a signal that not everything is right in their life. A conscious parent will focus their attention on the child’s need that is not being met, instead of the behaviour itself.
Modify your behaviour as a parent – Sometimes as parents we believe that we can change our kids, but a conscious parent knows that the only person they can change is themselves. If you change your own behaviour then you can affect change in your kids.
If you do not put any more wood on the fire, it will burn down – Strange comment for parenting ideas, but the exact same principle applies to parenting. If your child is debating or arguing with you then simply stop and walk away. If you do this then your child will soon stop since they do not want to argue with themselves. A great example of how a change in your behaviour affects change in your child.
No more “Seat of the pants” parenting – Many parents will parent ‘by the seat of their pants’, that is, they will make a decision on the spot without taking the time to give it some thought. A conscious parent should always consider how they will respond to a parenting event.
No more yelling or shouting – A parent’s life is a very busy one, it often involves work, raising a family and maintaining a relationship and these pressures often lead us to lose control and shout at our kids. Research now recognises that shouting at your kids can cause emotional damage. Now I know you are human and to raise your voice on occasions is fine, but just not all the time.
Keep a detailed journal – A detailed journal is an amazing tool for any parent. It may seem contradictory to point six that emphasised that as parents there is very little time to spare, but let me reassure you the time is well spent. Keeping a journal will allow to become conscious of your parenting actions and it will also begin to show any trends that are apparent.
Start to recognise your triggers – A trigger gets its name from the trigger of a gun, you pull back on the trigger and the bullet explodes out of the gun chamber. A trigger for a parent is no different, it is an event or emotion that sets us off and before we know it we have unfairly lost control with our kids.
Common triggers – Emotional triggers could be deep set from your childhood – it might be that every happy event as a kid turned into a nightmare no matter the circumstances. It is then likely that when it comes to parenting you could well react in the same manner. It is a happy family event and then you sabotage it in some way to ruin it – that is your expectation from childhood. It could be a simple event like a lot of traffic on the way home from work, the rubbish bins still out on the road, the kid’s bikes on the driveway, but, whatever it is it will set you off when you see the kids.
Choices and consequences – As conscious parents discipline should not be at the forefront of parenting, but there is a need to provide boundaries for our kids. Providing a choice for a toddler and a consequence for a teen is a means of placing the decision making in their hands. It is important to teach your kids as early as possible the process of decision making and being responsible for their consequences. Always deliver a choice or consequence in a calm manner.
Toddler will not put their toys away – Provide a choice for your toddler, that they can either put their toys in the basket when they are finished playing or you will pick them up and put them away for the next day. It is a simple choice and the toddler will eventually understand the result.
Teenager is always late for dinner – Let your teenager know that the consequence for coming home late is that they will not be able to eat dinner if it has already started and there will be no food available for the reminder of the night. It may seem harsh not to allow dinner, but your teenager knows the consequence and needs to take responsibility if they are home after dinner starts.
Maintaining your relationship with your partner – One of the issues with parents is that they begin to identify themselves as mum and dad, instead of two people that were in a relationship before the kids come along. It is really important that you make some time each day and week for yourselves, so that you can reconnect. Your kids are not with you forever and it is important to still have a strong relationship when they leave.
One-on-one time with your kids – No matter what the age, from babies to late teens, your kids value one-on-one time. It may be that your teenager will protest at spending some time with their mum or dad, but if you have a good relationship then they will actually enjoy it. Many of the behaviour problems that parents experience can be overcome by making more time for your kids.
No distractions – When you are spending time with your kids make sure there is no phone, television, computer, tablet or other means of distraction close by. Time with your kids will backfire if they believe you are not really with them.
Take time to find out what your kids like – Yes I know that your kid’s taste in clothes, movies or music may be completely contrary to yours, but it does not matter. Take the time to learn what they like, research it if necessary – it will make a huge impact on your kids when they realise the effort that you have made for them.
Stay calm, considered and have fun – Always parent in a calm, considered manner that shows respect for your kids. Be consistent and allow your kids to be responsible for their decisions when it comes to the choices and consequences you set. Above everything else have fun with your kids, they will soon leave, but will always be your greatest legacy.
- John Edwards is known as the most sought after conscious parenting expert in Australia. He is famous for transforming the lives of parents by showing them how to remove tantrums, fights and arguments from their family without the usual stress and anxiety. John Edwards has 18 years of high school teaching experience through which time he has taught approximately 10,000 teens aged between 12 – 18 years old. He has approximately 13,500 hours of classroom teaching and management and has spoken with approximately 6,500 parents. When it comes to children, John knows his stuff. John and his wife have raised three children of their own throughout their 23 years of marriage. He is the author of several books. John has published on the subject of professional parenting development on various parenting websites and publications. John resides in Melbourne, Australia and is passionate about inspiring parents around the world to adopt a conscious parenting style, a way of parenting that is transformational for the whole family. Visit http://www.parentconsciously.com/conscious-parenting-weekly-checklist for your Free Parenting Checklist.
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