Before we begin our parenting journey, we all have a vision of what we think parenting is going to be like…
And then we become parents and reality hits. We find ourselves rewriting our story and reinventing ourselves in a thousand big and small ways, for better and for worse…
I believe we all set out to be loving parents. But what do we do when we find ourselves doing things we said we’d never do or behaving in ways that don’t feel good to us? Where do we turn when we’d like to be respectful, but we don’t know how to get there from here?
Navigating parenting when it isn’t what you expected is additionally challenging. Whether the beginning of life isn’t what was expected (traumatic birth, postpartum depression, difficult baby, or unexpected overwhelming circumstances), a child’s behavior is challenging for you and you’re not sure how to help yourself or your child in a respectful way, or something happens that detours you or your family, such as a separation, divorce, death, illness, or loss of residence, then what?!
Here at Consciously Parenting, we specialize in helping families move toward the peaceful, respectful family you may have envisioned from the beginning. Behavioral approaches using sticker charts and other rewards and punishments never get to the heart of what’s going on. In fact, they create more disconnection in families and often make things worse over the long term, especially in situations complicated by trauma, loss, or grief.
Using cutting-edge (yet practical and parent-ized) research in neuroscience, epigenetics, attachment research, pre and perinatal psychology, trauma, sociology, and many other specialized fields, we walk you through the steps you need to move your family in a positive direction.
Our work here is based on 8 guiding principles, which are vastly different than the majority of parenting information readily available. But the difference is that these principles actually work to effect real lasting change and connection.
8 Guiding Principles of Consciously Parenting:
Principle 1: All behavior is a communication. Behavior reflects the internal state of the individual and the relationship’s level of connection.
Principle 2: The parent-child relationship is more important than any behavioral intervention, consequence, or punishment.
Principle 3: Children unfold neurosequentially, and quality, connected relationships allow for the unfolding. A need met will go away; a need unmet is here to stay.
Principle 4: Behaviors occur on a continuum. Behaviors in children (and parents, too) correlate to the parents’ own neurodevelopment and attachment status.
Principle 5: Parental interpretation of behaviors comes from both a conscious and subconscious place, resulting in positive or negative neurophysiological feedback loops.
Principle 6: All individuals have a right and a responsibility to learn to express their feelings appropriately. Feelings allow us to connect to our internal guidance system.
Principle 7: Children need boundaries. We can set appropriate limits for our children while still respecting their needs and feelings- if we are aware of ourselves. (We can ask, for example, “Is this about me? Is this about them? Are my children communicating a need? Is the boundary I’m setting necessary, or is this an opportunity for me to grow?”)
Principle 8: No man is an island. We need to create communities of support for ourselves and for our children. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our children.
You can read more about the 8 principles in the book, Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families by Rebecca Thompson, MS, MFT.