Conscious Parenting – Parenting with Presence Part II

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We worry what a child will become tomorrow, yet we forget that he is someone today. –Stacia Taucher

The 2012 Parenting with Presence web conference has ended, but it is still possible to purchase the recorded interviews or review the bios of the speakers for inspiration and future reading material. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to give my undivided attention to all of the interviews I wanted to listen to before they went offline, but I managed to glean a few interesting tidbits to share and a few links and resources to file away for future research.

The first interview I listened to was The Present of Our Presence by Jack Kornfield and Trudy Goodman. They talked about the differences in parenting practices cross-culturally, specifically citing the importance of holding children in the early years and providing age appropriate (which differs across cultures) responsibility to allow children to participate in the family and feel a sense of belonging.

The also talked about the importance of really being present when your children are talking to you and being curious, open and interested in wanting to know more about them, rather than listening half-heartedly or distractedly while thinking or doing other things. This seems like an obvious statement, but I know I am guilty of it, especially with a very chatty three-year-old. Now I try to use her conversations as another reminder to return to the present moment and just listen.

And finally, they recommended taking time for yourself in the morning before your children are up, or if you can get away for a minute if they always wake up before you as mine do. Take this time in the morning to sit and breath for three minutes, or even just three breaths, to bring a loving awareness to your breath or body and your current mental state. They said that even a short amount of time can help bring more focus and attention to how you start your day. HERE are a few mantras to try.

The second talk that I began listening to, but didn’t have the chance to finish, was Managing Conflict Mindfully — Whether in Congress, or at the Dinner Table with Congressman Tim Ryan (but luckily for us there is a great free video of him speaking on mindfulness HERE). Congressman Ryan talked about his interest in mindfulness and mentioned his work with the Inner Resilience Program a program to introduce mindfulness in elementary school, which I would love to see at my daughter’s school!

Another interview that I wasn’t able to listen to as closely as I would have like, but that I want to mention was The Importance of Self-Compassion in Parenting with Thupten Jinpa who is a Tibetan and Buddhist Scholar and the Principal Translator for his Holiness the Dalai Lama (and again there is a free video of him speaking on the subject of compassion HERE.) Thupten Jinpa talked briefly about using compassion as an organizing tool for life, which I really like and want to delve more into.

And finally, I listened to The Transformation Path of Parenting with Gabriel Nossovitch. Mr. Nossovitch came across as a very interesting and likable person. One interesting piece of advice he gave, which is one that I need to remember, is to ask questions rather than give advice when your child, or anyone, comes to you for help. He said that if, instead, you listen and ask questions, it helps your children to take personal responsibility.

Mr. Nossovitch mentioned that children often mirror our own behavior and reveal your state of mind. So when your children are “acting up” or upset, it can help to check in with yourself, to become conscious of your mood or state of mind to see if your children might be responding to you.

He talked about the importance of always assuming positive intent with our children (as much as possible). For example, if you older child hits your younger child (ahem..), instead of just assuming she is being malicious, pause to consider that she might be reacting in the best way she knows how and needs more options for future behavior. So instead of jumping in to lecture her, say something like, “I know you don’t mean to hurt your brother. Are you upset about something you would like to talk about? Can we talk about some better ways to tell him?” I know that as I’ve begun to use this with my daughter it not only softens my response, but helps her to see herself in a more positive light, as well. To read more about this subject from Shelly Birger Phillips of Awake Parent (a wonderful resource), click HERE.

Mr. Nossovitch ended his talk by talking about the importance of noticing vs judging when you interact with your children. When you child does something well, repeat back what the did (“You put the dishes away all by yourself!) rather than just saying “Great Job!” When you praise or judge your child’s efforts you encourage your children to seek your approval. He also reminded listeners about the importance of acknowledging effort and not just focusing on the finished product. Read more about this subject HERE.

I know that this wasn’t comprehensive, but I hope that at least some of information helpful or that you are able to follow-up with the links and videos if you are interested in hearing more from these speakers. Thanks for reading!

How about you? Have you listened to or attended any interesting web conferences lately or read any inspiring books or articles on conscious parenting? If so, I’d love your recommendations!

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