Many of us grew up as kids with the answer to many of our questions being: “Because I said so.” At the same time, it’s not always easy for a parent to find the time and energy to sit and deeply discuss things with their children when busy with the never-ending tasks that come with raising a family. In a world that puts an extreme focus on social media and narcissism, how do parents find the time, energy, and tools to raise conscious children? And what is a conscious child, anyway?
Let’s Ask the Experts – Moms
In writing this article, I wanted to share ideas that are resonant for parents and also realistic and doable. I reached out to moms who are making an intention to raise children who are conscious and aware and can grow up into adults that brings those gifts to the world.
Three working moms: Danielle, Lindsay, and Tamara were kind enough to share their thoughts about raising conscious children and what that means to them. Some of them are single moms and the kids range in age from 7 to 21.
What I found most interesting is that none of the moms I spoke to know each other, yet I received surprisingly similar answers. Each of these moms was clear with me that they are learning as they go and that it’s not always easy, but in the long run it’s been worth it and incredibly rewarding.
What is a “Conscious Child?”
Danielle: A conscious child is mindful, aware of their surroundings, and themselves. To me, this means they have an age-appropriate working understanding of what’s happening around them, and their corresponding internal thoughts and emotions.
Lindsay: A child who is self-aware, nature/earth aware and has developed empathy for self, animals, and others is how I would define it. There is a lot of trust that goes into supporting a child’s inner budding consciousness.
Tamara: In raising a conscious child, it is my hope that my children will be empathetic toward others and confident to be who they are, as well as encourage others to do the same.
Reset: Can you recommend tools or advice for other Moms who want to raise a conscious child?
Tamara: It’s not just about what you do for the child but what you do for yourself as well. It took me many years to figure out that self-care is just as important as spending time with and doing things for your children. They model their own self-worth after the way you treat yourself and no matter how much you tell them that you love and treasure them, if you don’t love and treasure yourself, they won’t believe you. I’ve found that taking time for my creativity and spiritual practice helps me be more present for them.
Danielle: Absolutely! Most importantly, model the behavior you want to see, and the language you want them to use. Explain the “why” as much as the “how.” For example, if someone asks how are you feeling? The answer can be more than “angry,” it can include the why as well, which creates space for dialogue.
Generation Mindful makes amazing tools geared toward preschool and elementary aged children to help them label and navigate their feelings, and to cultivate emotional intelligence.
I’d also suggest having a “calm down basket” full of manipulatives your child can easily access to help them learn how to self-regulate. Finger labyrinths, fidget and galaxy cubes, rain sticks, pop-its, paper to tear, play dough, are all great physical tools to help children come back to center.
The final thing I’d recommend is a regular, physical practice for your kids. Whether it’s yoga or martial arts — find something where the emphasis is on focus and utilizes breath. It’ll promote self-discipline (and devotion!) as well as concentration, confidence, and compassion for others.
Lindsay: Two people I recommend are Janet Lansbury , a RIE Associate and a certified Parent/Infant Guidance Class instructor, and Dr. Shefali Tsabari, a clinical psychologist, who has information on conscious parenting.
Reset: What are specific things you’ve done (and do) to support your child to be a more conscious human?
Danielle: From day one I’ve actively played the role of “sportscaster,” narrating what was going on around us and speculating what emotions may be present in the people around us. I have actively shared my own emotions and thought processes when navigating various situations and helped my son to do the same. Labeling emotions and experiences stretches their vocabularies so they have words to work with; coupled with simple breathing exercises and meditative practices to help when big emotions arise which make them less scary and overwhelming.
Tamara: I did everything I could to have a gentle and trauma free birth, followed by immediate skin to skin contact. I breast fed, co-slept, and wore my children, keeping them close so I could learn their cues and make sure they felt like their needs were met. When they were ready to venture out into the world, I learned to let them fail and take risks (which is probably the hardest part). I was fortunate enough to have the means to keep my kids out of public school and instead of enforcing a curriculum, we play together, and I take cues from them about what they want to pursue and learn.
Lindsay: Doing my own inner work is vital. It is really a parent’s job to be a conscious parent and to do their own personal inner work so that their child remains an independent, autonomous being who develops their own path and purpose. Another piece is helping my child develop empathy through self-reflection and encouraging self-awareness and allowing for emotional expression while also having healthy boundaries, so the child has both a soft place to land and something to push up against.
Reset: What has your child taught you in this process?
Lindsay: Be authentic, make repairs when I do something that wasn’t the best with him, and live in the now as much as possible.
Tamara: They teach me every day how to find the joy, magic, and wonder in life.
Danielle: My son has taught me humility, grace, and perseverance. I refuse to give up on him when he’s having a challenging time, and it compels me to dig deeper into my own practices in order to be fully present for him. I learn just as much from him— if not more— about grace, and forgiveness, as he does from me. He reminds me that there is always more for me to learn.
Bloom Post is a freelance writer, ceremonialist, teacher, and author of the books Shaman’s Toolbox: Practical Tools for Powerful Transformation and Plant Spirit Totems. For more information: www.BloomPost.com