What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families Series- Day 19

Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families
Book 1 of the Consciously Parenting series

Feelings as Our Guide: Shifting into New Behaviors Through Awareness

• Become aware of our thoughts and feelings by checking in with your physical body.
• Express your thoughts and feelings to a safe person. (A safe person is one who will allow you to completely express your feelings and thoughts without needing to stop you by invalidating, shaming, distracting, or trying to fix the hurt.) Alternatively, write down your thoughts and feelings without sensoring.
• Visualize new actions, practice new thoughts, and allow feelings to shift.
• Practice pausing (i.e., pause before acting).
• Practice new behaviors, first in your head, then in real life. Examples of new behaviors include creating a space for sharing and connecting daily when things aren’t overwhelming or responding differently to a challenging situation you’re experiencing with your child.
• Be kind and gentle with yourself when you return to previous patterns.

• Repeat the above steps.

From the book Consciously Parenting: What it Really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families

One of the most powerful ways to support our children in learning to express their feelings in ways that work for everyone is by noticing how you, your partner, and other adults around your children are expressing feelings.

Most of us didn’t have good role models for the healthy expression of feelings, so we need to create opportunities for ourselves to learn and add new tools to our parenting and life toolbox.

Jennifer found herself yelling at her kids and it was something she swore she wouldn’t do as a parent. She hated being yelled at by her mother and didn’t want to make her kids feel the way she did when she was growing up. She wanted to change that pattern. She also noticed that her kids were yelling when they were frustrated and she wanted that to stop.

It’s easy to see when our kids are doing something that doesn’t feel good to us and know that we want it to stop. And it’s easy to just put the attention there on our child’s behavior. But when we realize that we’re doing something our children are imitating, we can learn how to shift what we’re doing and model that for our kids.

Jennifer decided to start writing each morning when she got up after she read The Artist’s Way. She liked the idea of the “brain dump” and writing 3 pages when she first got up in the morning before she did anything else. She felt it gave her some more space to be with the frustrations of the day ahead.

She also decided that she would attend Consciously Parenting’s no cost Community Healing Story Circles so that she could have some good reflective listening and space for what being with her kids was like for her, so that she had more empathy for her kids. That was super helpful for her. She also started making time to connect with a dear friend who could really listen to her. They took turns sharing and listening and that was very supportive for her. She had a little more space already and seemed to be less easily upset.

She talked a lot about the situations that were most frustrating for her, slowing down to see what it felt like in her body when things were hard with her kids. She practiced pausing when she remembered what happened last time her son upset her, and soon she was able to pause sometimes when it happened in real life.

It wasn’t a quick fix, but over time, she found herself yelling less and less until it rarely happened at all. But the biggest shift of all was realizing that her son was taking pauses when he started to get upset just like she had learned to do and that felt like magic.

Changing transgenerational patterns takes patience and it takes time, but it is possible. And the beauty of it is that your kids will have less work to do when they grow up because of the work you’re doing on yourself! It’s worth it! You’re worth it and your kids are worth it!

  • Rebecca Thompson Hitt

    Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

Rebecca Thompson Hitt

Rebecca is the founder of The Consciously Parenting Project, LLC, and author of 3 books (Consciously Parenting: What it really Takes to Raise Emotionally Healthy Families, Creating Connection: Essential Tools for Growing Families through Conception, Birth and Beyond, and Nurturing Connection: What Parents Need to Know about Emotional Expression and Bonding), numerous classes and recordings, and the former co-host of a radio show, True North Parents.

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