12 positive parenting principles to reconnect with your children
Parenting is the greatest personal development course and catalyst for spiritual growth that money cannot buy. Parenting consciously, what I call ‘switched on’ parenting is the most intense challenge of our lives. I’ve not cracked it fully but have developed some basic principles, which help create a peaceful and a supportive home environment we can all thrive in:
Treat your kids as the smart, empathic, intuitive, and wise beings they truly are.
Remember they have lots to teach us. See them as sources of surprising insight and switch on to their genius.
Temper the desire to control them
and bend them to your will. Respect breeds respect; trust breeds trust. Understand that any irritating or frustrating behavior is often a natural, understandable, usually a justified need they wish to express. For example, whining usually arises when they feel ignored or powerless.
Guide them towards the behavior you want,
as you would expect from a respected colleague or friend. For example, try asking them to speak in their “strong” voice rather than judge them for the whining.
When you are out of line,
or switch off or go unconscious and lose your patience with your children make sure to apologize to them authentically, as you would a colleague.
Honesty is the best policy
especially where the ‘big emotional stuff’ is concerned like breakups, people leaving, death, job loss, ill health. Kids pick up on a ‘vibe’ so explain things as honestly (and sagely) as possible so they don’t take on the problem or blame themselves. Remember research shows that children who are given empowering narratives tend to thrive.
Answer questions with your truth.
Teaching children that in some cases there are other answers/solutions to a situation helps them to reframe things in the future. The goal is to avoid little ones getting trapped into a singular understanding of a situation that creates pain or prevents lack of creativity in the future.
Children are natural born testers of our personal growth.
Kids, by nature, seek out our weaknesses and unseen ‘shadow’ and probe us to see if we are as smart as we think we are. They spot and challenge our falsities. Our kids love us so much that they will trigger ALL your patterns in any way possible and that is an opportunity for us to heal.
Do whatever you can to stay connected to them,
as much as possible, as much of the time you can. Make sure to repair that connection whenever it is disrupted through anger or upset. Connection provides a feeling of safety, something every child needs. My mantra is Connection Before Correction. Realize children want to connect and play with you pretty much all the time, especially when it is most inconvenient. Honor this delightful urge to have fun, to learn, whilst also ensuring you do what you need to do for you and the family.
When you argue with a partner, show them how to repair that connection.
People tend to fight in front of their kids and can be moody or whatever but hide the reconciliation from them. So children watching will learn how to disconnect, to switch off. They don’t show all the ways we awesome human beings can switch back on and reconnect. Show them how much insane joy comes when we let go of our story about who did what and prioritize love instead.
Tell them you love them,
authentically and as often as you feel it. Don’t hold back. Hug them if the need a hug. Whisper into their ears – and so into their always listening, unconscious mind – that they are loved, unique, welcomed part of the universe with a right to be here. Put yourself into the role of a loving, wise, connected universe and speak to them from that place.
Prioritize emotional wisdom over all other forms of knowledge or intelligence.
Model how to share emotions, decode them, and understand emotions of others. Using empathy try to feel what they are feeling and test out your insight with them. They will feel ‘got’/understood or they will put you right if you don’t quite have it.
Mirror back everything they say so they know you get how they feel
or what they’re thinking and teach them how to mirror back to you. It ensures active listening on your part and helps them to feel safe, connected, less stressed and more likely to co-operate and collaborate. If they are upset about something, repeat back to them what their gripe is and match feelings but with added wisdom. Validate something like this; “If I were you, I think I’d also be upset if X happened to me….”
If you are looking to deepen your relationships and learn the basics of authentic communication (with yourself and others) take a look at this online course – Transformative Communication – an easy and life-enhancing approach for better relationships.