So you want to transition to conscious parenting but finding that your kids don’t seem to be making it very easy. They should be acting better right? They should see you trying to change and follow suit? They should appreciate that you’re making this very difficult transition and make it easier…right?
No…that’s now how it works.
Unfortunately, you may find that their behavior gets worse or they stop listening altogether. It may not feel like they appreciate the changes you’re making the way you want them to. In fact, you’ll find they might push a little more and if there’s an open wound that needs healing, they might even put their finger in it on purpose. That’s what kids do. They find our triggers and vulnerabilities and they test, poke, and pour salt on wounds. Not to purposely hurt you. They want nothing but for you to be happy because when you’re happy, you’re nicer and more loving and use your inside voice.
They don’t want to hurt you but they do want to test to see if you’re serious about changing. Especially older kids who were physically punished. What will it take for mom to hit me again? How loud do I have to yell before dad pulls out the belt? See, they don’t quite trust you not to physically or emotionally hurt them anymore. They need to understand your new limits.
So, there you are on shaky ground, not sure if you can trust yourself and your child is testing you over and over again. You know a quick smack will stop it…it’s easier. Change is hard!
But if you’re serious about becoming a more conscious parent, there are a few things to remember.
5 Tips For Parents Who Want to Transition to Conscious Parenting
Drop any expectations of miraculous changes in your children. Conscious Parenting is not about them, it’s about you. Your reaction; your communication style; your self-care. Focus on your growth and healing. Every time you respond with love and empathy instead of shaming, guilt or physical violence, you are slowly changing your family dynamic. This takes time. Be in it for the long haul.
Eff guilt. Guilt will have you transitioning to permissive parenting which isn’t good either. We have to set limits and we must discipline. They have to hear no from you sometimes and they will cry or whine and live to do it again tomorrow. Don’t let guilt from the past eat you up inside. Apologize to them for your past behavior and allow them to hold you accountable when you slip…because you will…we all do. Have grace and patience for yourself and your kids.
If your kids are older they may be angry with you. Don’t ignore or punish this anger. Find ways to talk about it. Seek professional help if you need to but that anger is valid and needs a healthy outlet. The anger might manifest as opposition to authority at school or snapping on you at home. They have some healing to do. Help them through the process and apologize as much as they need to hear it. But don’t let that stop you from continuing to set limits.
Take time to learn about child development…cognitive and emotional. The more you know, the better equipped you’ll be to handle difficult behavior in a more conscious way.
Learn your triggers. Pay attention to what upset you, why, and how it made you feel. Then think about what you will do instead of yelling or hitting or shaming. Get a game plan in place so you can go from being reactive to pausing and being intentional about your next move.
This isn’t easy work. You will have to be more conscious of yourself than you’re probably used to. But with that new found consciousness comes a better connection with your family. You are changing the generational narrative and that’s a big effing deal! So keeping working and healing and fighting for your family. Your children’s children will thank you.
Are you a black parent trying to transition to conscious parenting but finding it difficult? We can help! Join our Facebook group, Conscious Parenting for the Culture, and let us support you in this journey!
-Yolanda Williams, CPT Co-Founder
Positive Discipline Coach and Co-Founder of Conscious Parenting Time. When she’s not advocating for the safety and liberation of black children from white supremacy, she’s chasing her toddler around the house and trying to remain sane.