Want to Raise Happy Kids? Be a ‘Conscious Parent’

“When you parent, it’s crucial you realize you aren’t raising a ‘mini me,’ but a spirit throbbing with its own signature.” – Dr. Shefali Tsabary in “The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children

The concept of “conscious parenting” has been garnering a lot of attention, but many moms and dads are still wondering what exactly it is and how they can implement it at home in order to raise happy children. We talked to one of the foremost authorities on the subject – Shefali Tsabary, a clinical psychologist and New York Times bestselling author of several books on the topic of conscious parenting. She has also been featured several times by Oprah Winfrey.

“Conscious parenting is not about the child at all. It’s about how we are as parents and how we are mirrored in the relationship with our child,” Tsabary says. “Conscious parenting is turning the spotlight on you and your transformation, and giving attention to your own emotional baggage and inadequacies.”

She says that when parents enter into their own transformations, they are empowered and then better able to enter into the best possible relationship with their children and be fully in the moment with them.

“It is not about fixing the child, but about being witness to what the relationship brings up in us and raising us up to a higher awareness,” Tsabary says.

The mindset behind conscious parenting is worlds away from the so-called “helicopter parenting” that has become so pervasive in recent decades. Instead of trying to micromanage children, conscious parenting instructs parents to view raising children as an opportunity to learn more about themselves.

“It’s about teaching parents to get out of the way and allow their children’s brilliance to arise naturally,” Annmarie Chereso says, founder of Project Mindfulness, an organization that teaches people how to be more mindful in their daily lives.

Parents with children of any age can practice conscious parenting because, as Tsabary explains, “our role as a parent crosses over every moment we engage with others and it transcends any age.” Because the role of a parent is ongoing, so is the practice of conscious parenting.

“It is not a destination, it’s a daily practice of bringing awareness to the present moment,” Tsabary says.

Want to learn more? Join Make It Better, Project Mindfulness and other organizations at the upcoming “Bring It! Conscious Parenting Seminar.” The all-day event is aimed at educating and empowering parents. The seminar is scheduled for Oct. 17 at the Bodhi Spiritual Center in Chicago.

“We have created the event to raise awareness, pique curiosity and educate parents about what it’s like to step into being fully conscious in your relationship with your children and family,” Chereso says.

The event will feature two keynote speakers: Tsabary, whom Chereso calls the “rock star of conscious parenting,” and Jim Dethmer, co-author of “The 15 Commitments of Conscious Leadership.”

Dethmer says that there is little difference between leadership in business and at home, where parents are the leaders and stewards of their families. He explains that it is so easy for parents to be triggered, but just recognizing when that has happened and then making a few small shifts can make a big difference in how we deal with our children.

“The simple definition of leadership is influence, and conscious parenting is about taking responsibility for the influence I am having in the lives of my children and grandchildren,” he says.

Rev. Lola Wright, the executive director of the Bodhi Spiritual Center, says she hopes the event brings a realization that parenting is not something to just survive for 18 years; it’s more about being present in a relationship that will last into adulthood.

“It’s about what will inspire and excite me to be a player in my family,” she says. “Parenting is not always fun, but it does not have to be heavy and oppressive, either.”

Tsabary sums up the event and the overall goal of conscious parenting by saying, “I want people attending the event to receive a transformed understanding of this paradigm called parenting, to rethink their role in their relationship with their children, and to reach a place where they find the resolve to be more aware and present.”