I have been asked many times to write about conscious parenting, and to be honest, I have held back. My Mean Girl told me, ‘You’re not a ‘real mum’ because you didn’t give birth to Leo’. Oh, and another goody was, ‘You can’t really comment on parenting Melissa because Leo didn’t come out of your vagina’. Hilarious, huh?!
But, knowing that this was an important topic to share with you (and not wanting to let my Mean Girl run the show) I mastered her with my 3 step process and got down to business writing this deeply personal (and hopefully deeply useful) article.
Now, before we dive in, let’s be clear: No, I didn’t birth Leo… But I raise this divine little being 50% of the time. I am an equal parent and I choose to actively be involved in bringing up this angel. I also understand and respect that having one child is very different to having three or five or a whole football team of little tykes (!). To be honest, none of us can ever fully understand the unique circumstances of other parents, and we can make things very difficult for ourselves when we make assumptions. But what I do know — without doubt — is that these 6 tips I am about to share with you are universal truths, and they apply not only to your children but to ALL your relationships. (So, before you skip this post and think this is just for the parents, hold up sista because ANYONE can benefit from reading this!)
I also want to preface this post by saying that I am not claiming to be a parenting expert. I am simply sharing what has worked for me (and my husband) and what has made my life a lot more joyful.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the six insights that have helped me become a better parent, wife, friend and human. (Warning: What you are about to read isn’t taught and may challenge some of you. Stay open!)
1. Understand Their Love Language
I recently wrote about how understanding your partner’s love language can radically improve your relationship. This post went off. But it doesn’t only apply to your partner. By understanding your kid’s and even your friend’s love language, you are setting yourself up for some kick-ass connections. Leo’s love language is quality time and if I am constantly buying him gifts or giving him words of affirmation to show my love, it can sometimes fall on deaf ears. Which will most likely lead to me feeling upset, angry and frustrated and think he is ungrateful or being a brat — and the poor kid has no idea what he has even done wrong! Now that I know quality time is his number one, I can make sure to shower him in love in the way that means the most to him.
Sometimes that might look like 30 minutes of deep quality time squeezed in between school activities, and sometimes it’s an entire day of love and attention on the weekend. And sometimes, all he needs is 10 minutes of soccer with his dad and his love tank is overflowing. To be honest, the length of time is irrelevant. What matters most is that his love tank is being filled by getting that focused, love-filled, quality time with each of us.
In Gary Chapman’s best selling book The 5 Love Languages of Children, he teaches you how to identify what your child’s love language is and gives you so many great ways and ideas on how you can implement these into your everyday life to fill your child’s love tank up. And please note that every child will be different, so if you have 3 kids you will need to work out what each of their love languages is and act accordingly. Have fun with it and enjoy filling up each of your little angel’s love tanks.
2. Just Listen
So often, when our children come to us with a problem, the first thing we want to do is put on our ‘fix it’ hat. But most often, the problem will be resolved if we just simply listen. People (even little humans) just want to be heard, and so often by simply speaking something out loud it helps us resolve the issues in our mind. But the yang part of us wants to fix, fix, fix. Instead, stay in your softness and practice conscious listening. Don’t comment. Don’t try to fix, hold space for them and be fully present and with your child when they are expressing. Don’t be distracted by your phone or someone else. This can be one of the most challenging things to achieve, but when you open your heart, be present with your child and just listen, you will be amazed at what unfolds and how they can even resolve it within themselves. It’s very beautiful to witness.
3. Treat Them Like an Adult
From day one, we have spoken to Leo like an adult. No goo-goo gaga, no baby talk, no talking down to him. We treat him as an equal and speak to him like we would speak to anyone else. We don’t treat him less than or like he is stupid just because he is a child (I’ve seen it done).
In my mind, it’s simple: If you speak to your child like a child, you will get a childish response. Likewise, if you speak to them in your parenting/authority tone, you will get a childish response. But if you speak to your child like an adult, you are more likely to get a mature, adult-like response.
Children are amazing and because we have always spoken to Leo like an adult and not ‘babied him’, he is able to hold a conversation with other adults. Yes, let children be children, but you don’t have to talk to them like they are aliens or dumb things down for them. You would be amazed and how intelligent they actually are.
4. Remember They Are Pure Love
This one’s a toughy. Let’s face it: when shit hits the fan in the home, it can be challenging to remember that your angel is pure love. I get it… but they are! They (just like everyone else) are the embodiment of love and when things don’t go your way, reminding yourself they are love can really help. That doesn’t mean you don’t/won’t feel angry when your kid has painted your white sofa blue, or smashed your favorite lamp, or decided to clog the loo with your socks. Of course you are going to feel pi$$ed, no doubt. And it’s important you allow yourself to feel that anger, frustration or sadness, but then once you are done, have a pity party dance off and choose to let it go and not carry it into the future any longer.
5. They Are Not Here To Control
I am a recovering control freak, so this one has been a biggie for me. In the past I so desperately wanted things to go my way that when they didn’t, I would lose it. That went on for years until I learnt that it was my Mean Girl who wanted to feel in control so she can run the show and keep me stuck in Fear Town. But to be honest, that sucks! And I want to hang out in Love City. And trying to control every aspect of your life is not only incredibly exhausting, it’s IMPOSSIBLE!
Bestselling author of The Conscious Parent, psychologist and parenting expert Dr Shefali Tsabary says, that most people have a child and think, ‘Yes! Finally something or someone I can control!’ Your children are NOT here to control or to live out your unrealised dreams. They are their own beautiful being, here on their own magical journey, and our role is to support and guide them in this lifetime — not control and micromanage them.
6. We Have Chosen Each Other
Your child has chosen you and you have chosen your child. It’s easy to remember that when everything is peachy, but when we are in the pit of darkness, us funny forgetful humans tend to forget it. We are so quick to judge, point and blame everyone else. We are so speedy at forgetting that our souls have chosen each other in this lifetime to learn whatever it is we came here to learn.
Listening is one of the biggest acts of service.
When Leo came into my life, I knew that he and I had chosen each other. He is one of my greatest teachers and I am open to learning from him. That doesn’t mean I always get it ‘right’. Or that I am ‘perfect’ or that I am the most zenned-out step mumma goddess on the planet. HA! No way, far from it. But I am here. I show up every single day, wanting and willing to be better than I was yesterday. And I am so deeply committed to being the best person I can be.
So take what you wish from this list and implement it — not only in your relationships with your children, but in all your relationships.
Now I am bursting to hear from you. What one tip are you going to implement into your life? Remember this information doesn’t just apply to your kids you can use it in ALL your relationships.
So share away in the comments below.
And remember, thousands of beautiful souls come here daily to get inspiration and your comment might be the one thing they need to read to spark massive shifts within their own life. So open that big beautiful heart of yours and share from there.
As always my darling, thank you SO MUCH for being here. I love serving and supporting you to be the best you can be.