Conscious parenting is parenting through connection instead of coercion, through love instead of fear.Conscious Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children's optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond.The Latest Neuroscience now confirms attachement theory and the critical importance of the parent child attachment, This above all will influence the appropriate brain development of your child and influence the adult your child will become.
The model of parenting most of us grew up with was authoritarian parenting, which is based on fear. Some of us may have grown up with permissive parenting, which is also based on fear. Authoritarian parenting is based on the child's fear of losing the parent's love. Permissive parenting is based on the parent's fear of losing the child's love. Connection parenting is based on love instead of fear. Connection Parenting recognizes that securing and maintaining a healthy parent-child bond is our primary work as parents and the key to our children's optimal human development. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Connection Parenting promotes parenting practices that support a strong, healthy parent-child bond.
Both authoritarian parenting and permissive parenting are reactive. Connection parenting is proactive. Rather than focusing on ways to discipline children when their feelings of disconnection result in uncooperative or unacceptable behavior, Connection Parenting focuses on ways to maintain and increase the parent-child bond/connection. Connection parenting is an ideal, a navigation star we can look to for guidance. Whenever we question how to respond to a child we can ask ourselves, will this response create a connection or a disconnection. We feel connected when we feel listened to and loved. We feel disconnected when we feel hurt and unheard. Sometimes a child's behavior will push our buttons and we react rather than respond. As soon as we realize we have created a disconnect, we can reconnect by doing the following:
Rewind – Acknowledge we have said or done something hurtful
Repair – Apologize and ask for forgiveness
Replay – Respond with love and listening
Even if we can't parent in the most nurturing ways all the time, the more often we can, the more our children get what they need, the better they will be able to weather the times when we parent in less nurturing ways. The Following are some essential truths of Conscious Parenting, however conscious parenting is promoting awareness, educating and empowering. Conscious parenting is not about punishing ourselves for mistakes we have made as parents or for those times our own unresolved trauma got the better of us and created a disconnection with ourselves and our children. We now know that it is never too late to created a secure attachment with our children, our brains have the ability to change throughout our life span.
Naomi Aldort’s SALVE formula consists of the following steps:
S – Separate the self and inquire
A – Attention on the child
L – Listen
V – Validate without dramatizing
E – Empower
The S in S-A-L-V-E is for self-inquiry and is based upon the work of Byron Kate. This step is probably the most challenging because it requires us to separate ourselves from our own issues, fears, desires, and give up the compulsion to be in control or make it better. It is also the most important step because it allows us to be more emotionally available and authentic with our children. Then we can we shift our attention to tour child-A and listen with open hearts and minds-L. Once you’ve listened without judgment or interpretation, validate their emotions-V. During validation, some children may feel shame or embarrassment, especially when their emotions may be considered negative. Choose your words very carefully, phrase it like a question, or say nothing and validate nonverbally. Keep in mind that validating emotions doesn’t mean dwelling on them. Don’t over dramatize them or overdo it to meet your own needs to provide comfort. Kids can be pretty good at moving on once they’ve been heard. Finally empower them to resolve their emotional upset –E. Provide encouragement, communicate confidence in their ability to figure it out and get out of the way. Dr. Aldort repeatedly emphasizes the importance of taking the time to separate yourself from the emotional event before responding to their behavior. This is kind of like a self time out so you can imagine the worst and let it go. Once you let go of your own emotions, you can more effectively shift your focus to your child’s emotions, and respond in a thoughtful and loving way.
At The Trauma Recovery Institute we offer individual parenting consultations to explore conscious parenting and optimal child development with one or both parents. A parenting philosophy is relevant only to the extent that it promotes parenting practices which support secure bonding. Our effectiveness as parents is in direct proportion to the strength of the bond we have with our child. Securing and maintaining that bond is our primary work as parents and is the key to optimal human development. If as parents we have not resolved our own history of insecure attachment with our own caregivers, trauma and/or neglect as a child then it becomes extremely difficult to establish and maintain a secure bond with our children. We pass down trauma from one generation to another and learnt maladaptive interpersonal behaviours are communicated consciously and unconsciously encoded in verbal and non verbal interactions with our children. If we have not had a present loving caring safe nurturing attuned parent , then it will be extremely difficult for us to provide this for our children.
Individual consultations and group work are extremely effective in supporting parents to explore and heal from their own traumatic histories whilst also learning effect toools and health parenting skills to create secure bonds with their children which is necessary for optimal brain development. Our nervous system is experience dependant, our early experiences are wired into our nervous system. If we grow up in a stressed anxious home, then we become stressed and anxious as adults.
Dr. Maté speaking for the Healing our Children 2016 World Summit on why he believes that every disorder and disease has its roots in early childhood, why our culture hasn't supported healthy childhood development for years, and what we can do about it. Dr. Mate confirms that rather than looking at the children's behaviour we need to look at ourselves and explore what are our children communicating in relation to how we are in ourselves and in the relational space with our children.
While we want to use our inner compass to keep ourselves on course, it also helps to know where we’re going. For that, a road map is essential, and for ours, we’ll be using eight guiding principles of conscious parenting.
Principle 1: All behavior is a communication. Behavior reflects the internal state of the individual and the relationship’s level of connection.
Principle 2: The parent-child relationship is more important than any behavioral intervention, consequence, or punishment.
Principle 3: Children unfold neurosequentially, and quality, connected relationships allow for the unfolding. A need met will go away; a need unmet is here to stay.
Principle 4: Behaviors occur on a continuum. Behaviors in children (and parents, too) correlate to the parents’ own neurodevelopment and attachment status.
Principle 5: Parental interpretation of behaviors comes from both a conscious and subconscious place, resulting in positive or negative neurophysiologic feedback loops.
Principle 6: All individuals have a right and a responsibility to learn to express their feelings appropriately. Feelings allow us to connect to our internal guidance system.
Principle 7: Children need boundaries. We can set appropriate limits for our children while still respecting their needs and feelings—if we are aware of ourselves. (We can ask, for example, “Is this about me? Is this about them? Are my children communicating a need? Is the boundary I’m setting necessary, or is this situation an opportunity for me to grow?”)
Principle 8: The Love Cup, We need to create communities of support for ourselves and for our children. We need to take care of ourselves so that we can take care of our children. If our love cup is empty, we will have nothing to give to our children and their needs will trigger our own trauma history when perhaps our own needs were not met. This can create Disconnection.
Parenting through Love rather than Coercion at The Trauma Recovery Institute