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What is conscious parenting and how do you become one?

In recent years the term ‘Conscious Parent’ has started to gather momentum, but what does it actually mean?

In simple terms, it’s about being aware of how you parent. Being conscious means to be aware.

But it’s not enough to be aware. I mean, what are you being aware of?

Okay, so with awareness I just noticed that I yelled at my child, that I’m frustrated as all hell because no one is listening to me and I’m aware that I don’t know how else to deal with it, that I’m seeing my child out of control and can’t do squat about it.

I’m aware that I feel like a crap parent because of how my child is behaving and that when I react to it I am aware that I feel so guilty because I reacted and because I also don’t know how to react different.

Does that make me a conscious parent?

Surely not, you conclude.

So, what is conscious parenting?

It’s about USING the conscious part of your brain to not only be aware of what’s going on in the present moment but using the conscious part of the brain to EFFECT CHANGE!
Conscious parenting is about AWARENESS AND ADJUSTMENT!

Let me explain why this is important.

Your brain is essentially divided into the subconscious and the conscious parts of the brain.

The subconscious is made up of your habits of thinking. From the age of zero to seven, your mind had no analytical abilities, no conscious abilities. Everything that was going on in your environment was being downloaded into the subconscious.

You observed your parent’s behaviour and reactions to life, their words, their sounds, their beliefs etc. Basically, everything they did, you perceived with your subconscious mind. With repetition of seeing these behaviours and responses to life, your subconscious mind started to develop those very same programs, and you began to create your personality.

Now this explains a lot why you’re suddenly finding yourself parenting way too much like your parents for your liking. The programming on how to be a parent has been sitting in your subconscious for all of these years, waiting for the conditions of your environment (ie becoming a parent) to trigger these learnt responses, beliefs and reactions!

You may have already been playing out some of these habitual personality traits in other areas of your life for years too.

Your conscious mind on the other hand, is where you are aware. It’s where creativity lives. It’s where logic and reasoning occur. It’s where the analytical mind becomes the doorway between the conscious and the subconscious. You can deliberately (ie consciously) direct the mind in any way you desire, but you have to be aware to do it.

You can choose to be happy for example, if you are consciously directing your mind to look for happiness and think thoughts that trigger the chemicals (emotions) that make you feel happy.

So why aren’t you doing that already?

Why are you ‘choosing’ to stay angry and reactive and give into your subconscious mind.

Because the subconscious mind is made up of 95% of how much you think!

The conscious mind is only made up of 5%.

I use the analogy of a steering wheel of the car being the conscious part of the mind (the 5%) and the sat nav / autopilot of a motor vehicle being the subconscious.
When you are consciously steering your mind in the direction you want to go (ie you’re using logic, reasoning, will, desire – all parts of the conscious mind – to direct your life), you will lead in that direction.

However, if you take your hands off the steering wheel, the sat nav / autopilot will kick in and take you in the direction you’ve been programmed to go.

In other words, the subconscious takes over and you start acting in those pre-programmed, well-practiced (sometimes for years) ways of thinking, feeling and behaving.

This is why you find yourself parenting from a reactive state and in the complete opposite to the parent you want to become.

It’s because you’re not parenting Consciously.

Now back to my original definition of Conscious Parenting.

Conscious parenting is about AWARENESS & ADJUSTMENT.

It’s not enough to become aware of the programs you’re running that are triggering your behaviours and emotions. Sometimes being aware can weaken the habitual connection, but when you’re breaking a habit, you have to replace it with another.

This is where ADJUSTMENT comes in.

You have retrain your mind to change.

There are two ways you do this
a) Repetition
b) Hypnosis

When you’re in hypnosis, your mind is put to sleep (no different than you going to sleep at night time) and you are downloading the information you want your subconscious to be programmed to think habitually.

If you do that with repetition you can retrain your subconscious mind to change.

But you don’t even need to see a hypnotist to do that. You can do it while you sleep!

There are lots of downloads you can purchase that will help you to train your brain while you sleep by putting some headphones in your ears and listening to the hypnosis.
I love using hypnosisdownloads.com as they have thousands of cheap downloads that will help you to do exactly this.

However, hypnosis is not the only thing you can do and in fact I believe you need to do more than just that if you wish to accelerate the rate of change in your thoughts, feelings and actions.

You see, you can go into hypnosis at night time, and start programming your mind, and that will work over time, but if you wake up and start to play out the same mental thoughts, feelings, behaviours etc, you’re going to be strengthening your current programs, and the new program has to keep competing with this well-practiced old programming, so it elongates the time it takes to change.

But what if you could use your conscious mind to accelerate the process? Now this is where we come in. We teach parents how to use their conscious mind to train their subconscious to be calm, connected and happier parents.

This is where REPETITION kicks in to help you with the ingredients of AWARENESS AND ADJUSTMENT that make up change.

What if you were able to become aware of the pattern of your thoughts that keep coming up in your day to day interactions with your kids, and adjust that thinking over and over again, thereby training your subconscious to a new mind?

This is exactly what we do at the PSC.

We teach you the science behind neuro-plasticity (changing your brain) and teach you how to take a complex task like breaking the habits of thinking negatively and getting stuck in painful emotions, and simplify it, so you have the knowledge, the skills and the support (from us) to EFFECT CHANGE.

Most people think that their external environment (like their children misbehaving) needs to change so that they can change their internal environment.

A lot of parents think that if they can just control their child’s behaviour, they will feel better, calmer and more composed. We hear this all the time – “Maybe if my child would just do as they are told, I wouldn’t have to lose my s**t”.

But it’s actually the other way around!

When you change your internal environment, you will watch your external environment start to change and we hear THAT all the time too – “I can’t believe how different my child is behaving just by me changing my reactions.”

For some parents, none of this is new. We’ve all seen the influence our good moods have on our child’s behaviour (and our bad ones).

But for others, they can be so entrenched in their own subconscious negative thinking/feeling/behaviour loops that they been practicing for years, it feels almost impossible to EFFECT CHANGE.

But this is where we make it simple for you and help you to do this through our programs.

Now one more thing I want to mention.

The reason why you’re not being an effective parent when you’re stuck in those stressful emotions that are triggering your reactive behaviour, is not because you’re a stupid, hopeless parent who doesn’t know how to parent.

It’s because when your body goes into stress, it’s like being chased by a lion. Your body goes into fight or flight mode. It starts to make physical changes to your body so that certain areas of your mind and body are shut down so that you can conserve energy ready for the fight or flight.

One of those areas is the creative centre of the brain – the conscious mind. If you’re being chased by a lion is it time to create something new (like new thoughts or behaviours)? Is it time to use your logic and reasoning abilities?

No! It’s time to RUN or HIDE! It’s time to protect yourself. The area of your brain that gets activated is your hind brain that’s going to protect you. This is why you’re getting reactive.

You’re not activating the centre of your brain that helps you to change. In fact, the learning part of your brain has shut down altogether!! (FYI, this also happens to your kids when they are experiencing hormones of stress).

So, it’s not that you can’t be a calm parent who knows how to help your child with their behaviour.

It’s more just that because the stress hormones are being activated in your body, due to those habitual negative thoughts and feelings, the part of your brain you need to be activated to be more rational (rationale is another part of the conscious brain) has shut down and no new behaviours can be exhibited.

So, can you see how trapped we can be in our subconscious thinking/feeling/behaviour loops that keep reinforcing the same thinking/feeling/behaviour loops?
Can you see why, to date, you have not changed even though you wanted too?

I want to help you to turn all this around.

You don’t have to stay stuck.

But what it’s going to take to change, is you guessed it, AWARENESS & ADJUSTMENT with REPETITION.

We will give you the tools to do this.

We will help you to become so aware that no subconscious thoughts slip past your awareness with you identifying it and then teach you how to ADJUST those thoughts and with repetition, effectively help you to retrain your subconscious mind how to think/feel and react.

AND we teach you to do all of these in the context of being a parent, something a lot of traditional self-help information are not doing.

Our programs teach you how to become aware of the thinking that’s triggering your stress and teaching you how to adjust your mindset when faced with those common challenges of parenting.

And then we teach you how to apply that information to child behaviour, loss of identity, anger management, relationships, time management and more.

So, if you’re ready to break the habit of parenting like your parents did, or to break your personal habits that are triggering you to become stuck in emotions of stress as a parent.

And if you’re ready to reactivate the logical, rationale and creative centres of your brain that will enable you to become the parent that you want to be, then we are ready to show you how.

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

What I’d want to say to this mother

Most parents can relate to feeling the way this mother feels, at some stage of their parenting life. 

Sometimes it's right at the beginning when you're tired, hormonal, really not sure what you're doing and just want your baby to sleep, or eat, or just stop crying for longer than 5 minute!!

Or it can happen when our children are toddlers and pushing the boundaries, or during the teenage years. 

The point is, we all have moments when parenting becomes all too much, and it's important that we keep our emotions in perspective. 

So here's what I would want to say to a mother who is feeling like the lady in this photo...

Firstly I’d want to ask whether she was okay - the traditional approach to seeing someone in distress like this.

After giving her a big fat hug, I would want to tell her that she was doing a great job and that this parenting gig is hard, despite any pre-conceived ideas that it wasn’t going to be.

I’d want to show her the many different parents I come across on a daily basis who feel exactly like her, so she could see that she wasn’t alone and her emotional struggles are NOT a reflection of her being a bad parent.

I’d want to help her to see how this is only small part of her experience as a mother, not the totality of it because I know personally and professionally that we can get consumed by these moments and see them as the only thing going on in your life.

 I would want to teach this mother how to shift her mindset when she gets bogged down and help her to adopt three fundamental ways of pulling herself out of those emotional dark places when life doesn't go to plan.

I would teach her to entrench these messages into her habitual thoughts to take with her during the baby years, toddlers and beyond, so she doesn't get bogged down by the inevitable challenges of being a parent. 

Here are the three mindset shifts I would teach her...

  1.  To change her 'picture' on how parenting was ‘supposed to be’.
  2. To remember that these difficulties are only part of the experience.
  3.  That challenges with your child do NOT reflect your worth as a parent.

Here’s why these three mind shifts are really important when you have a baby in the house (whether you are a first time parent, or adding another child to your family).

1. Changing the picture on how parenting was 'supposed to be'.

What causes us the most stress in life, as well as parenting, is when we have attached ourselves to an idea, a picture of how we thought something was going to go.

Throughout the course of our lives we adopt all these ideas of what we anticipate will occur in our parenting experience.

We adopt this expectation at a time when we knew absolutely nothing about parenting at all.

Often we’ve gathered this primitive understanding from the way we were raised (“I’m so going to be like my parents!” Or “I’m going to be NOTHING like my parents”).

We observe other parents, we see cute kids on their best behaviour, we hold other babies, we see Huggies commercials and baby formulas where kids are at their best.

But nothing can prepare you for the reality of what parenting is actually like, because your picture came from misinformation – you weren’t looking at the whole picture.

The reality of parenting, especially a newborn and young child who's still learning about the ways of the world, is that there are going to be highs and lows. It won’t be all warm and fuzzy snuggles on the couch with your baby.

There’s going to be sore nipples, lack of sleep, messy house, whining or screaming, children throwing tantrums, complete overwhelm, and times where you don’t have a damn clue what you’re doing.

Which brings me to my next point.

2. The difficulties of parenting are only part of the experience.

When we start to realise the reality of being a parent to a baby/young child, we can very quickly get consumed by the difficulties to such a degree that we forget to enjoy the good times, and there are good times.

Our brains are geared to find evidence of what we have our attention on, so if you are only looking at the hard stuff, you won’t be seeing the easy, enjoyable stuff.

What about those times where you do get to snuggle that sleeping baby?

What about the times where you do look into your baby’s eyes and feel overwhelmed with love and are mesmerised by this little being that you created?

What about those times where the baby is sleeping and you did get the house clean or felt productive?

What about the times when your child said something or did something super cute?

Once you start to put your attention on all the highs, you start to realise that the difficulties do not define your parenting experience.

3. Challenges with your baby do NOT reflect your worth as a parent.

And the most important point to keep in mind for you ENTIRE parenting experience is DO NOT PERSONALISE YOUR CHILD'S BEHAVIOUR.

I fell into this trap myself and caused myself so much anguish and upset by believing that the challenges I had - breastfeeding and getting my baby to sleep - suddenly meant I was a bad parent.

Just like you sometimes tend to only see the bad in the parenting experience, sometimes we can get into a bad spiral of only seeing the bad in ourselves.

We inaccurately compare all our ‘failures’ to everyone else’s successes, when you have no idea what is going on for them in their lives.

Even if they aren’t going through difficulties with their children, that still doesn’t mean you are a bad parent. It just means that’s not their area of life they find difficult right now. 

It is inevitable that we all have challenges in life. That never reflects self-worth. It just reflects life lessons and learning how to do certain things as a new skill.

Perhaps your strategy isn’t working with your child.

Perhaps there is another approach that might work better for your child.

But none of this means anything about your worth as a parent.

All it means is that the current strategy isn’t working and you need to find an alternative solution. 

When parenting a child, especially a young one, we have to be really careful about the mindset you are approaching the highs and lows with, because it’s too easy to train the brain to only see the bad stuff and see it as a reflection of your self-worth or the quality of life.

And going down that hill repetitively, leads us to intense stress, emotion and even depression and anxiety.

Just like we spend time working out how to help bubs settle and feed in a healthy way, we may also need to spend some time learning how to settle our own emotions by working on our mindset and the way we see those challenges.

This too can not only effect how you feel about parenting, but also can ripple out to affect how settled your baby is.

As they say, happy mum = happy bub.

Having a baby is a massive transition, even if it isn’t your first. Be aware of how you are thinking and feeling about it and whether those thoughts/feelings are escalating to the point of effecting your experience with your child and reach out for help.

It’s okay to get assistance of those who have been there before.

And that’s exactly what the mum in the opening picture needs to know.

Are you okay? I wasn’t. I was struggling!

By now, many people know about my meltdown. I was completely immersed in the cycle of anger, yelling, crying (me and the kids) and feeling like the worst parent in the world, which ultimately led me to my breakdown in order to get my break through.

It was ‘the knife incident’. The day I got so angry I slammed a knife on the bench so hard that it almost hit my (then) two year old. Then I proceeded to run to my room screaming how much I hated my life, all with my (then) 6 month old on my hip.

Was I okay?

No I wasn’t. But would anyone else but my husband, have known that? Absolutely not!

Why?

Because I was meant to be that perfect mum. I was meant to love being at home with my children, wasn’t I? I was meant to be the achiever who got life right. I was great at so many things before kids. Why was I struggling with this? As a woman, this was meant to be my forte. Didn’t having children mean that I automatically knew what I was doing and that it would come naturally?

What sort of mother throws knives at her child? What sort of mother gets this angry at her children, screams at them and completely loses it, scaring them and making them cry? The one person who is ‘supposed’ to be the one who makes her child feel safe and loved and nurtured. What sort of parent does that?

You are definitely NOT alone

Well, as it turns out, there are quite a few of us, as we continue to discover every couple of months when hundreds of parents join our online 28 Day Tame your Temper Parenting Challenge, which was born out of my own struggles with anger.

But sadly, as hard as we are trying to let people know about our programs, just like I was, too many parents are still sitting behind closed doors, hating themselves, trying to change and feeling like a failure because they can’t.

I have written this blog to let you know that I was at that point where I wasn’t okay. I wasn’t coping with being a mum and I was stuck in the mindset that it was just too confronting to let anyone else know this was how I was feeling. I honestly believed that I must have been the only parent out there who felt this way on a daily basis.

But the statistics are stating otherwise. Currently 14% of parents experience postnatal depression. Countless more deal with parental stress to varying degrees. We are on the front line of speaking to those very parents who are coming out in our groups to speak about the realities of parenting.

I cannot stress to you enough, how important it is to find your safe place to talk about what’s going on for you and to share with people who you can trust, what you are feeling (and sometimes that might be among strangers who are going through what you are).

We know from speaking with hundreds of parents every day, that what you are feeling and thinking is going through the minds of parents everywhere. You are nowhere near as alone as you think you are and you don’t need to travel this road alone either.

The lonely road of stress behind closed doors

How far down this road are you already?

Firstly, you experience the various challenges of being a parent and start thinking about how annoying, frustrating, or difficult this moment is. You start to think that because the moment is not the way you expected it to be, it’s stopping you from being able to do something else (achieve something, get things right, enjoy parenting, stopping you from having a bond with your child).

You start to look for why you are finding this so hard and you start to blame. You blame yourself for not doing something right. You blame your kids because they ‘should know better’, or your partner for not supporting you enough. Once the mind is on this bandwagon, you start to look for what it all means about you. I’m a bad parent. I’m hopeless. I’m never going to get this right. This is ruining my life. What’s wrong with me?!

But it doesn’t just stop there. The brain is geared to look for evidence of where you have your attention, so now you start looking for evidence outside of this moment to support the belief that things are going wrong.

You start to compare how others seem to be getting it right or doing it better than you. Then you start to think about other areas of your life with this same viewpoint. You look for evidence to support the belief that ‘life is going wrong’ and how it’s stopping you from feeling happy about your life.

You begin to see this viewpoint in other parts of the day with your kids, your work, your relationship, your friendships, your finances. With the evidence mounting you begin to draw conclusions about your life and settle on one major assumption that explains it all – EVERYTHING is GOING WRONG. I am such a failure!

Your brain is now starting to get used to this concept and you are now finding evidence everywhere, all the while making you feel worse and worse. Your self-perception continues to head south and life becomes more and more painful.

Now it’s time to react to your perception of life and how you feel about it. You get angry when you can’t control it. You cry because you feel so helpless, useless and can’t see a way out of it, and your enthusiasm to keep trying to change, is starting to diminish. “Why bother. Every time I try, I just keep getting it wrong.”

Because you believe it’s only you who has these disgraceful, embarrassing and unforgivable flaws, you try to hide how you’re feeling. “What would they think of me if they found out how bad I really am?” So you keep it quiet. Only the thinking/feeling loop and the evidence finding missions continue, and you sink lower and lower and lower.

But what you don’t know, is that you are certainly NOT the only person out there feeling challenged by parenting. You are not the only one who experiences stress, anger, sadness and loneliness, and those safe places to share your thoughts and feelings without judgement do exists.

But knowing this is only the beginning. There’s more work that needs to be done to alleviate this level of stress altogether.

Making the important Shift towards Freedom from Parental Stress

It’s great to find like-minded parents – friends who keep it real and tell you honestly what’s going on for them, but here’s another problem I see parents running into. We do what I call ‘rolling in the mud’ and you don’t get clean from rolling in the mud.

Now that we’ve found that safe place to vent, what now? Has it changed how you feel? No. What often happens next, is we become friends with our stress. We subscribe to it being a natural part of our existence that we just have to put up with.

We find security in the knowing that we are not alone. We continue to find evidence of our ‘sucky’ day so we can tell our friends, our partners, our loved ones, and we can feel momentarily better because we are sharing our experiences with someone who understands and it temporarily lifts us from its emotional grasp.

But behind closed doors, you’re still thinking with the same mindset! The same feelings are still bubbling within, bringing us down and making us miserable, regardless of finding our new allies. It’s still effecting your relationship with your kids, your partner, yourself and how you feel about your life.

The only thing that’s changed, is that now you don’t feel so alone.

There’s another step you need to take – Changing your mindset.

We need to find a balance of finding a group of parents who do keep it real, but who are also working towards changing that mindset and working on themselves to create a different way of thinking and feeling about parenthood and building connections with their children.

After that defining moment of my meltdown, it occurred to me that no one else was going to change how I felt about my life. No one else was going to suddenly wave their magic wand and miraculously change my day to day responsibilities. I knew that it wasn’t the kids, or life that was causing my stress, it was how I was perceiving that life.

As parents, we are often making our children a priority. We put them before ourselves in a pursuit to be ‘a good parent’. But what parents don’t often realise, is that the more you make yourself a priority, particularly in terms of your mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, the closer you actually get to that ‘good parent’ goal you are seeking to obtain.

We need to make a shift in the parenting community because right now we are seeing quite a significant shift between parental stress being ‘taboo’ to parental stress being celebrated, accepted and embraced, like a badge of honour we wear having to experience the woes of parenting. We are starting to adopt perceptions of parenthood where we expect that it will be hard. We expect that we will feel stressed and the only way to deal with that stress is to laugh about it or complain about it with those who ‘know what it’s like’.

But remember, the brain looks for evidence of what you have your attention on. If you continue to see parenting in this way, you will continue to experience parenting this way.

What if you can change how you feel about the challenges of parenting?

But what if you could train yourself to become like that ‘born to be parent’ you see at school or at daycare. You know the one that does it all with ease and genuinely loves it. That could be you. That parent is not better or worse than you. She just thinks differently. She perceives what she’s doing with a different mindset.

What if we go beyond the struggle, beyond the stress and beyond sharing our parenting woes, and what if we turned that struggle into CHANGE?

What if you could learn a way of dealing with life’s challenges with a mindset that could draw the value and the learning from these experiences instead of seeing them as wrong. What if you could teach yourself to be present, stop personalising your unwanted events, find your sense of self-worth, learn to be solution focussed and NOT get bogged down with life?

What sort of flow on effect do you think this would have on your relationships with your children and the type of adults they turn into. Do you think that would be moving towards your ideal of a good parent or away from it? It doesn’t seem like such a selfish endeavour to prioritise yourself now does it?

The pathway to change

We started this story with struggles, painful emotions, being bogged down with the challenges of parenting and connecting you to the emotions we all feel to varying levels, behind closed doors. We started with a mindset that argued with our reality and blamed events, ourselves and others for our ‘wrong life’.

We then elevated those emotions with a sense of connection, togetherness and being part of a sameness, rather than isolation. We showed you how to make friends with your stress, laugh at it even and accept it as part of you life.

But what if we took another step? What if we used this connection with other parents, banded together and helped each other to learn and continue to CHANGE the way we perceive life as a parent, and thus how we feel about it.

THIS is the mission of the Parental Stress Centre of Australia. This is why we exist. When you join our programs you become part of a group of parents on this exact mission too.

No longer are parents happy to just feel like ‘every other parent’ and make friends with their stress. they are committed to eliminating it and they are all working together (even after the programs are finished, via our past participants group), to help each other to keep it real, but elevate their emotions to align with a new way of thinking. They want what the ‘born mother’ has and they have realised that it all starts with changing their mindset, not rolling in the mud.

Are you ready to challenge your mindset and lift your parenting approach to a whole new experience?

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Kids Are An Interruption To My Life. Ouch!

One day, my children were mucking around. My husband was working away at the time and I was trying to get them into bed.

They were laughing and giggling and jumping about. At first I was playing along, but then I wanted them to settle down. I had a lot of work to do when they went to sleep and my focus was on doing that. I’d had enough of the play. It was time to sleep and I was attached to the picture of them calming down.

However, they weren’t playing the game and kept mucking around (as children do). My blood started boiling as the conversation in my head started to roll around in “they’re not listening to me”…I just want them to stop….”They need to go to bed NOW”….blah, blah, blah.

It escalated until I came to breaking point and shouted at them in my clenched-teeth way when I lose control. They instantly quietened down and went to bed, but I felt awful! That’s not the way to end the day. However I’d done it and I couldn’t take it back.

Knowing what I know in regards to the teachings of The Parental Stress Centre, I knew I needed to find the core belief that drove my anger to begin with. What was really going on to make me react this way? Was there any pattern to my thinking that causes me to react like this in other times?

I got to journaling, like I get my course participants to do when we’re trying to establish the beliefs behind our emotions, and after a while of looking at my ‘story’ behind my anger, it hit me. My core belief was:

“My children are an interruption to my life!”

WTF, are you serious? I couldn’t believe this is what I had thought. How terrible that was to think that way. But there it was right there on the page, and I knew that’s what I believed, because I felt it to the point of tears stinging the back of my eyes.

Oh dear, that was one belief I definitely needed to upgrade. I didn’t want my kids to feel like they were interrupting my life.

So here’s the upgrade:

Nothing can interrupt your life. Every experience IS your life. It’s just one event giving way to the next. There is no event that is more important than another. Everything is valuable. My children were in the moment, something I need to do more of. Parenting is a part of my life experience, too and I need to embrace every moment with my kids because, just like every other moment in life, it will rise and pass away. They will grow up, leave the nest and I will move onto other activities. My children are not an interruption to my life. They ARE my life, and a big part of it. Enjoy the moments while they’re here.

Change what you think about and what you think about changes…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

A Self-Harmer Taught Me An Important Lesson

I was working with a young 17 year old girl with depression and a history of self-harming and she taught me such a valuable lesson in parenting that I want to share with as many parents as possible.

She said:

“My mum just doesn’t get it.  She always wants to fix me and tell me what to do to fix my problems. But sometimes she can’t fix them. I just need to work them out from myself. Sometimes I don’t need her to try and fix me or tell me what I am doing wrong. Sometimes I just want her to love me, cuddle me, sit on the bed together and watch a movie and say nothing….But she just doesn’t get it.”

WOW! What an eye opener that was for me. Now I don’t have girls, but I certainly remember being a teenage girl and I remember my mum doing the same thing.

This is because as parents, we take on this ‘fixer’ role with our kids. We want to take away their pain. We want to help them and get them to the other side of our struggles. But sometimes we need to recognise that helping them to work through things themselves by just being there is just as valuable to them.

Sometimes they just need their soft place to fall and maybe even the place where they can get away from their problems.

How frustrating is it for women when they often try talking to a male and they don’t listen. They just try and fix things. Women often feel unheard, not validated and unloved. This is often what parents unknowingly do for their kids too.

Teenagers are naturally trying to find their independence, so perhaps begin to ask your teenager what they need from you when they’re experiencing something difficult. Perhaps ask them if they want your help to find the solution?  That way you are giving them exactly what they need.

Remember that their problems do not mean their life is going wrong. It is simply an experience they are learning from and sometimes the experience is exactly what they need for their personal development.

Work WITH your child, not FOR them.

Letting your children find their wings…

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Get It Right. You HAVE To Be Perfect.

Who on earth made that rule?!! Umm, I hate to say this…but you did.

We often hear in the parenting community that there is so much pressure on parents to get it right and do everything perfectly.

But who’s actually judging whether you’re doing it right or not?

The thing about judgment is that someone may have an opinion about what is right or not, but your reaction to their opinion comes from your beliefs, not from theirs.

No one can MAKE you feel any particular way. What they do though, is trigger something that already exists within you! They trigger the beliefs that you already hold about yourself and your life.

If you are feeling pressured, it’s because YOU believe you have to meet a certain standard in order to look good or be perceived a certain way.

YOU are the one setting the bar, so you can be the one to change it.

The only reason why other parents don’t succumb to the pressure of parenting is because they have a mindset that believes that they aren’t perfect. They know they are doing the best they can. They are continually looking for solutions to their problems. They don’t think it means anything about them if they can’t get it to be perfect or if they have an off day and they don’t believe other people’s opinions define who they are as a parent.

So when they hear about the ‘pressure of parents today’, it doesn’t trigger a response.

Adopt this mindset too, and your world will be a much more relaxed space.

Change your beliefs and you’ll change your reactions…

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

Children Want To Have An Opinion. Don’t You?

Today’s society is not like when you or I were growing up. The “children should be seen and not heard” rule doesn’t really seem to apply in today’s society. Or if it does, it seems to be to the detriment of the connection between the parent and the child.

This is because children are growing up in society that encourages them to speak up, be honest about their feelings, and that it’s okay to have an opinion.

On one hand, we encourage them to be this way, but on the other, if it doesn’t match what we believe is right we can get all riled up at times.

So are we giving our children mixed messages? Do you want them to have an opinion or not?

I think for most of us, we want to raise confident, happy children who feel free to express themselves. We just want them to do it in a respectful way.

The other day, I said to my 8 year old son Ryan:

“Ryan, you are getting to an age where you won’t always agree with me or like what I’m telling you to do. That’s completely fine and I’m open to talking to you about our differences but I won’t be spoken to rudely, nor will I speak to you when you are yelling, throwing yourself on the ground or whingeing about the problem. We need to discuss things calmly.  

It doesn’t always mean that you will get your own way, but I will explain why you can’t have your own way and why it’s in your best interests. But on the other hand, you might have an idea that I haven’t thought of and maybe you can get what you want by doing it differently. The point is that we can discuss the problem and focus on a solution, rather than fighting with each other.”

He was pretty happy with that and it set the platform for future discussions, rather than arguments. It makes him feel empowered over his life, rather than feeling like his life is being controlled and dictated.

Think about what you want in your life. Don’t you want to have your opinion heard? Don’t you want to discuss how your life is going to be run? Wouldn’t you want to know why you can’t do something you really want to do?

We need to treat our children as equals because the superior/inferior trends of the olden day parent/child relationship doesn’t suit today’s societal messages.

If you try to stick to the ‘old school’ way, it won’t be a wrong way to parent, so there’s no judgment. But it is possible that your children may not be as close to you as you would like, because they grow up to feel unheard or that their opinion doesn’t matter to you.

It is for you to decide though, how you wish to handle your child’s relationship. I’m just here to present some ideas for contemplation.

Open the communication channels…

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

What Are You Like To Live With?

Spinning back in time and I am observing me in the heat of arsenic hour when my kids were 2 and 3 years old.

They were whinging, clinging, the house was a mess, dishes everywhere, dinner trying to be cooked, I’m tired. I don’t want to be dealing with any of this. It’s been a long day and I’m hanging for my husband to come home to help take the load off.

Cue the telephone call from hubby.

“I’m going to be late.”  Those 5 dreaded words that no worn out stay-at-home parent wants to hear when they are so desperately needing a break.

“Oh, whatever then!” was my unappreciative, rude and short reply before I hung up in disgust, acting like he meant to be late from work. Like he didn’t give a damn about what I was going through. Doesn’t he know that I need help over here?!!!

Fast forward an hour or so and hubby walked through the door to a pissed off wife, a grunt as I handed over a child to be washed and as I continued to do the relentless amount of chores needing to be done.

What must it have been like to live with me back then? A nightmare! And my husband is not afraid to tell me so.

So today, I want you to think about what you are like to live with? If you work from home, or perhaps go to work during the day and at the end of the day you are tired, what is it like for the other people in your family to have to deal with you?

I want you to think about this because quite often, we look to others to blame them for how they are treating us and what they are doing to make us unhappy. But how often do we turn those pointed fingers back around to ourselves and see the part that we play in our relationships?

What if, today when you got home, or your partner gets home, you greet them with a smile, a ‘how was your day’, a “I really missed you today”  and a warmth that serves to mix things up a bit.

Make an effort and you might just find that those ‘feral’ times of the day, don’t have to be so feral.

Taking Responsibility,

Jackie

Drowning In Parenthood? Start Here.

Quite often I read the posts of people introducing themselves on my Live programs, and I think “Wow, you’ve got so much going on.  Where should we start first.”

So this post is to help those of you who are feeling this way about your life and parenthood.

What do you want?

A seemingly simple question, yet one that is not often answered with specifics, or if it is, it is answered as more than a wish then a serious goal or expectation.

But this by far is the most important question to ask yourself when you feel like you’re drowning, because we often get sucked into the vortex of seeing everything we don’t have.

I can tell you that there are no solutions down that road.

What is it that you want in your parenting experience?
What is it that you want in your relationships?
What sort of relationship do you want with your kids, your family, etc.?
What does the ideal work/life balance look like?
What sort of person do you want to be?

Sit down with yourself and look at every area of your life and think about what the ideal would look like. What sort of life do you want to create for yourself? What would make you happy?

When you’ve done that, ask yourself whether you have been specific about these wants. When you look at those wants, would you be able to tell that you had achieved them?  Or can you be even more specific?

Knowing what you want is the first step to changing your life, because it gives you a direction to go in.  From this point, you can then begin to focus on how to get this information, where you can find the information that will help you to get there and who can teach it to you.

Struggles in life don’t mean a failed life. They just mean you lost your direction, or you haven’t yet learnt the skills required to get you there. Don’t waste time thinking about that though, just focus on what you want and how to learn so you can get there!

Free yourself and redesign your life.

 

Jackie

"It takes a village to raise a child"

The PSC's 'Bring My Family Calm' Membership invites you to that village

Never feel alone or stressed in your parenting again

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