You may know by now that I like mental structures and models. They give me solid frameworks to help me remember things, and refocus when my attention gets too dispersed. Why is this important?
As parents, our resources get “maxed out” every day: we work, we care for others, we care for ourselves (hopefully!), we cook, we clean, we drive places, we do-do-do! We are in a constant rush of doing one thing to the next and the next… I am well aware that this cycle of busy-ness is inevitable; it’s part of life. Somebody has to do all these things in the family. If not parents, then who?
Exactly for that reason, I invite you to adopt these 3L’s in your parenting life, so when you feel exhausted, depleted, confused, discouraged or scared, you can collect yourself and refocus your attention on what matters in the long run.
In the order of priority:
- arguably, the most important skill a parent needs;
- listen 90%, talk 10%;
- don’t interrupt;
- don’t argue;
- don’t lecture – especially not in the middle of an emotional meltdown;
- it takes a lot of inner strength for a parent to listen and not to be triggered* by what an angry child may say – this is the whole point and reward of conscious parenting (*see my article on Triggers, on the blog);
- a child needs a compassionate witness when he/she is in pain, in order for the nervous system to “calm down”; this is called co-regulation;
- crying is healthy for all children; allowing a child to cry while sitting with them with warm presence and loving eye contact/body language is the most generous gift we can give a young child, because they feel accepted, seen and soothed; we create the psychological safety and connection a child needs;
- to dive deeper, read: 1) Listen: Five Simple Tools to Meet Your Everyday Parenting Challenges, book by Patty Wipfler & Tosha Schore; 2) Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, book by Dr. Laura Markham
- playfulness and lightness are vital for connection-based parenting;
- follow the child’s lead in play and take the less powerful role;
- don’t be afraid to be silly, clumsy, and clueless about things;
- don’t overpower your child in play and games; go with the flow and let them make the rules;
- focus on connection when playing, instead of teaching/ lecturing/ life coaching;
- playfulness requires 100% presence in the moment; the second you drift into the past or the future, you can’t cherish the present moment anymore; again- this is the reward of conscious parenting as a spiritual practice;
- to dive deeper, read: 1) Playful Parenting, book by Larry Cohen, PhD. ; 2) The Power of Now, book by Eckart Tolle.
- academic achievements and getting “a head start” before Kindergarten are big preoccupations of most parents in Western societies; however, parents must understand that learning follows connection; in order words- a child must first feel unconditionally loved, and safe to express all range of his/her emotions, to be able to engage their higher level thinking abilities, and inborn wonder and curiosity about the world/ school;
- my urgent call to parents is not to sacrifice connection for grades, honor rolls and accolades;
- make failure a natural part of the learning process; share your own failures / mistakes with your children;
- cultivate a growth mindset (see my article about this on my blog).
- to dive deeper, read: Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, book by Carol Dweck, PhD.
My hope is that you take these 3L’s and keep them in mind when things get hard. They will ground you and bring you back to “homebase” because connection is always the answer. If you find this work to be too hard to do alone, consider joining my program.