What do you know about conscious parenting? Learn more about how this parenting approach and how you can develop a healthy relationship with your child starting with your parenting style.
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How do you show up for parenting? What decisions do you make to help prepare your children for the future? There are a variety of parenting styles that might provide your children temporary happiness or freedom. But it doesn’t last. Conscious parenting claims to hold the solution to this problem.
Recent conversations surrounding parenting styles promote conscious parenting as a philosophy that holds the key to effective parenting. However, there are some elements to this parenting style that require further investigation and questioning.
What is Conscious Parenting?
It is a parenting approach that focuses on a parent’s self-awareness (mindfulness) and self-control combined with a sensitivity to their child’s feelings to communicate with their child most effectively. Essentially, conscious parenting is about first being aware of how you show up for parenting, so that you can do your best to connect with and guide your child well. It is not a new concept and can be quite effective.
This parenting approach does not come from Christian roots. But it does provide a great reminder of some Christian parenting principles. This approach is a different way of saying what many experts have said throughout the years regarding the importance of being a healthy parent to help your children develop well.
In this approach, parents move away from reacting to children’s behaviors and move more to responding to the child’s thoughts and feelings by first being aware of their own.
In other words, conscious parenting is about calming your inner world well enough so that you can do the understanding, directing, and interacting with your child as effectively as possible.
Key Beliefs in Conscious Parenting
On the surface, this approach makes sense and seems to match other healthy parenting styles, such as authoritative parenting, mindful parenting, and attuned parenting. This approach also has a high likelihood of a secure attachment between a parent and child because of the emphasis on sensitivity and awareness.
However, and like many things, this is much more difficult for some parents than others. There are some parents who are not naturally attuned to their own emotions. So, they may give up quickly on this approach. Or this approach may not be the best one for the different personalities in your home.
Be Aware of Risks
Here are some things to keep in mind when considering the conscious parenting style:
- Big emotions are considered “bad” in this approach when they are merely signals of something important.
- What happens when one parent works hard on conscious parenting and the other does not?
- It is good for children to learn how to respond in healthy ways to people in authority in their lives and this approach takes parents out of the place of authority.
- Being upset with your child is not bad. Relationships are stronger when navigating issues together.
- Your past is based on how you interpreted your past. How do the different personalities in your home interpret you – conscious parenting and all?
- Stopping and reflecting takes a lot of time and energy. Make sure you’re ready to be consistent with this rather than reactive one day and responsive the next.
- This approach does not focus on God as your source for wisdom and direction in your parenting. Deuteronomy 6:4-7 provides an amazing template for parenting: Love God with all of you and out of that guide your children whenever and wherever you’re doing life with them.
- Children’s behaviors and why they are happening can be very complex and can drain patience quickly.
- Peacefulness is best found in realizing you have an invitation to raise and guide a child toward a healthy development.
Is There a Better Option?
Conscious parenting is certainly better than unconscious parenting, but this approach needs a biblical foundation to be the most effective as you search for wisdom in guiding your children toward a thriving faith. In Proverbs 22:6, we see a call to train up our children in the way they should go and they will not depart from it.
Overall, this parenting approach provides some helpful thoughts about self-control and showing up well for your invitation as mom or dad. However, it’s disappointing that conscious parenting takes parents out of the role of “healthy authority” figure in a child’s life.
Authority is not a bad word like culture wants to portray. Healthy authority has other people’s best interest at heart and when done with love for Christ as the centerpiece, the Fruit of the Spirit spills out. If a child learns how to live under authority in healthy ways, they also get to learn what it means to develop a humble and servant heart.
Take a look at the 7 Traits of Effective Parenting as a biblically based and research-based approach to being more attuned, focused, and effective in your parenting. Take the assessment or simply begin trying out the 7 traits in your day-to-day parenting.
© 2022 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved.
Scripture quotations taken from the HOLY BIBLE, ENGLISH STANDARD VERSION Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.
DANNY HUERTA, PSYD, MSW, LCSW, LSSW