Conscious Parenting 101

 

Thanks to Oprah Winfrey, Eckhart Tolle's A New Earth, including it's message of the idea of conscious parenting is getting widespread media coverage. Whether or not you agree with all of Tolle's ideas, his advice on parenting is sound. According to Tolle, conscious parenting consists largely of simply being with your child. This article explores that idea, as well as some other aspects of this new movement in parenting.

What is Conscious Parenting?

Before you dismiss these ideas as too new-agey and fluffy for you, consider the meaning of the word conscious according to Websters:

1. perceiving, apprehending, or noticing with a degree of controlled thought or observation

2. sharing another's knowledge or awareness of an inward state or outward fact

3. personally felt

4. capable of or marked by thought, will, design, or perception

5. self-conscious

6. having mental faculties undulled by sleep, faintness, or stupor : awake

7. done or acting with critical awareness

8. likely to notice, consider, or appraise

9. being concerned or interested

10. marked by strong feelings or notions

Synonyms: Aware, Awake

Doesn't seem so woo-woo now does it? Let's all be more conscious in our parenting, more aware of how we're perceiving and appraising our children, as well as noticing our behavior and what's behind it.

Shifting Paradigms

Proponents of conscious parenting believe we are at a crucial point in the history of our planet. Basically, the future of the human race depends on our children's ability to be peace-makers. Whether you believe this is nothing new, simply the human condition, or you believe major destruction is imminent if we don't take major action now - you'll have to agree that raising peaceful little people is not a bad thing. Maybe conscious parenting is the philosophy that speaks to you and helps you be the best parent you can be. In other words, can't hurt, might help.

Mama Comes First

Conscious parenting calls for parents to pay attention to their children and, more importantly to their own thoughts and behaviors. It's important to understand out own needs and personal hurts in order to avoid repeating painful patterns from our past. The idea is to limit the damage we pass on to our children so that they grow into healthy and balanced people.

Especially when frustration levels are high, we tend to fall into old, familiar patterns of behavior. Conscious parenting is all about being awake and aware to what's going on with your child now and deal with that situation or feeling.

Give Children What They Need

According to Michael Grayson Conner, child psychologist, parents need to pay particular attention to the words we use, as well as our expectations when dealing with our children. According to Conner, here is what children need:

  • Children need examples and simple instructions. They need you to show them what you want and how to do it.
  • Children need to practice. It is best to have simple goals with only a few steps. Tasks that are complex should be broken down into smaller takes. As a general rule, complex activities need to be practiced about 60 times before it becomes natural.
  • Children need supervision and guidance when they are learning new tasks. The idea is to keep students on task, correct mistakes, help when they are stuck, allow them to struggle, and to avoid discouraging failures.
  • Children need lots of encouragement and praise for their initiative, creativity and effort. They need to learn that persistence in the face of failure and discouragement can lead to success.
  • Children need opportunities to do things on their own while someone periodically monitors their behavior.

We practice conscious parenting when we are actively engaged in meeting these needs. When we are paying attention to what the child needs right now. Conner provides a great example of an interaction between a child who's been asked to clean her room and a parent who just wants it done.

For More Information on Conscious Parenting:

Conscious Parenting Alliance

Schyler Mason

Soul Point

More by this Author


Comments 16 comments

kelleyward 4 years ago

Mindfulness is so effective in parenting and every other area of life. Thanks for your great hub!


HennieN profile image

HennieN 5 years ago from South Africa

Brilliant hub. The following quote changed the way I behave as a parent: Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum


Julie 5 years ago

I thought all of this was common sense to be honest. Loved the article, nothing Im not already practicing but will be passing it along in the hope other parents can take a few pointers.


Gayle Holten 5 years ago

I was fortunate to learn about this concept when my children were still quite young and I tried to practice awareness while parenting. (Tip: sometimes I was aware of some thoughts and feelings I wasn't particularly proud of - but you strive to push past those in order to come down on the side of your own struggle to grow.) Here's what I've realized years later now that the nest is empty...I miss them for their childhood went waaayyy to fast. I'm happy that they are grown, self-supporting, interested in their own careers, and starting families of their own - love those grandbabies! But the real pay off is to watch them become "intentional"! I get such a sense of satisfaction to watch them strive to live their live with purpose and awareness. Finally, I'm glad I found joy in the journey of their childhood because I find myself with few regrets but many, many wonderful, nostalgic memories,


Eva 5 years ago

This would be great, but the misspelling of "its" in the very first sentence is a real downer. It makes the author seem uneducated, which hurts her credibility.


L.I.N.C profile image

L.I.N.C 5 years ago from Montreal, Canada

I am thrilled to see words in a hub around child rearing like ; instinctively, being conscious of our reactions & moods, etc. What kids need most in the world are caregivers (I am sensitive to foster/adoptive parents, grandparents, whomever the child is attaching to)who will protect and nourish their relationship with the child. It is much like gardening and as gardeners we need to realize the variety of children that can come from our single gene pool even and provide the conducive environment for that garden to bear fruit. It is ALL about relationship.


Brynn 5 years ago

With so much 'stuff' under the tree this year, I find little I, myself, am excited to really share with the kids.

I would love to come across more real reviews of products relating to conscious parenting resources, such as affirmation inspired children's music- like Baby in Bliss and family (interactive) board games, like the ones featured in Nova Naturals catalog).

Looking forward to your helping us parents get excited for what Santa's leaving under the tree this year!


Marie 6 years ago

Hi, I noticed this discussion mentions both Conscious Parenting and Eckhart Tolle so I thought it would be appropriate to post here. I'm the host for Namaste Publishing's online radio show, Namaste Radio and we have interviewed Eckhart Tolle (Namaste is the original publisher of The Power of Now) and asked him specifically about raising children consciously.

One piece of advice he gave is to allow your children to observe the world without telling them the names of everything when they are very young. When we attach a name or a label to something, it automatically puts us into our thinking mind and we slip out of that present, experiential moment. Children will learn the names for things, so there is no rush to constantly be naming everything they observe and experience.

You may also like to learn from another one of our authors, Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of the upcoming book The Conscious Parent.


Richard Thomas profile image

Richard Thomas 6 years ago

I love Tolle's amazing way of living life. I'm reading "The Power of Now" which is taking me along time as I try to make a conscious effort to let the words find a way into my soul, rather than just understanding the concepts. It's amazing.


ConsciousObserver profile image

ConsciousObserver 6 years ago

Great hub and tips to follow in raising parental awareness. It's almost like they are little mirrors watching us.


2uesday profile image

2uesday 7 years ago from - on the web, I am 2uesday.

Great advice better than some of the parenting programmes I've seen on TV. I think some parents will do this instinctively but reading something useful is always helpful. When my children were small it was a Penelope Leach book. A lot of the ideas you have aired here are a very helpful and sensible.

One tip I learnt. I soon realised small children aged two and up need to practice decision making with harmless choices but things like park or swings might overwhelm them ...they like both. So offer them the choice of an apple or an orange, a blue crayon or a red one... if they pick and change their minds about which is best they have still learnt something. Will read more of your hubs wish something like this had been about when I was working it out as mine grew up.


marisuewrites profile image

marisuewrites 8 years ago from USA

Wonderful information...I will pass many of these points on to parents and friends..

First rule of parenting "Do No Harm." which definitely involves a look inward and outward. Thanks....Marisue =)


Lela Davidson profile image

Lela Davidson 8 years ago from Bentonville, Arkansas Author

I'm glad you all enjoyed the Hub. It's kind of cool when you start noticing things you do as a parent that you really just do without thinking - some of them are super easy to change.

Rainbow Recognizer - thanks for the resource and I'll be looking out for your Hubs!


Stacie Naczelnik profile image

Stacie Naczelnik 8 years ago from Seattle

This is interesting Lela. These ideas are similar to my own views of parenting (as in how I want to do it when I have children).


RainbowRecognizer profile image

RainbowRecognizer 8 years ago from Midwest

This is really nice, Lela... sounds like we're both in the Oprah/Tolle class :o) There's a great resource available in this area: www.enjoyparenting.com Scott Noelle offers a free Daily Groove email with ideas for parentin in a manner similar to that you've discussed. I also have some thoughts on this are that I'll be discussing in future hubs. I'm interested to see how we compliment each other. Thanks!


WeddingConsultant profile image

WeddingConsultant 8 years ago from DC Metro Area

Wow this is a great hub full of information. Thank you.

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