Conscious parenting is being mindful of what influences parenting. This may include how people were parented, what stage their tamariki are at and their temperament, how their day at work was, and even how the parents slept last night.
Parenting is one of the most rewarding and challenging jobs there is. But tamariki don’t come with a manual of instructions. Parents need support and encouragement in this valuable role.
When parents understand where they are at and where the child is at, they can be more intentional in the ways they parent.
The key is to identify areas they haven’t been aware of as parents, and to make changes if needed. Taking time and be kind to themselves and becoming aware of how they parent is the first step.
We saw early on that our different ways of parenting our son really affected his behaviour. We agreed to be more consistent, more united and we've never looked back.
Here's some key steps to meeting those daily parenting challenges.
Instead of reacting in rage, providing an immediate punishment, or placing blame on the child, practicing conscious parenting might look like taking a few seconds to breathe and be calm.
It’s important for parents to take time to reflect on any triggers or emotions an event may have stirred inside them before expressing these emotions towards their child.
Conscious parenting does include setting boundaries particularly when it comes to requesting respectful communication. Make sure the child understands, and it may take a little while, but being consistent is the best way to teach them.
Finally, instead of getting upset, accept what has happened and move on. Carrying whatever behaviour or situation has happened with the whānau for the rest of the day, will only harm the relationship with the tamariki. Taking time to reconnect is an important last step.
What's a parenting style?
Everyone has their own ways of parenting, shaped by what happened when they were a child. There are three parenting styles – the rock, the paper and the tree. Most people use a mixture of the three styles, depending on how they’re feeling. Being flexible and staying consistent is what's important.