I feel so thrilled that I got to share some Conscious Parenting ideas with a group of amazing people today at G Day Toronto. An empowerment conference for young girls.
Here is the video of the talk.
Below that is the text from the handout that I gave to the parents
so they could remember the essential points of my talk.
I’ve also added some extra information as well.
I invite you to watch the video, read the tips and share your responses.
This talk is an introduction to some concepts and strategies that will help you to build a solid foundation of self-love, self-confidence and self-esteem in your children.
Our young ones are born with an already perfect sense of self-esteem.
As they grow and develop our responsibility is to protect and nourish it.
We must become champions of self-esteem.
Give them the message that they are strong, smart, talented, beautiful, creative, loving, fun, funny
and WONDERFUL IN EVERY WAY!
Action Items – Impractical Tips!
I don’t offer practical tips.
A practical tip is:
When “a” happens
And the result will be “c”.
For example if your kid is rude to you, give them two warnings and if they continue to be rude give them a timeout.
This will let them know that you are serious and have an expectation that they will behave properly and treat you with respect.
This is a practical tip.
The problem is that no person no two people are the same. Anything that prescribes exactly how to behave or what to do does not address the complexity and diversity of the human experience.
On top of that each of us are different from day to day. So in order to work with our kids well we have to be aware of what frame of mind they are in at any given moment and respond to them as the moment changes.
This is much harder than a practical tip.
That’s why I call them Impractical Tips.
Because they require a lot of work, a lot of attention and a lot of energy.
AND the payoff, the results are a lot deeper and more profound!
So let’s look at impractical tip #1
1) Practice a lot of Self-Care and self-development
If you aren’t being kind to yourself, loving yourself and occasionally thinking of yourself you will not have the energy available to be the kind of parent you want to be. Caring for our own energy helps us to be more patient, loving and attentive with our kids.
It is vital to always be working on yourself. Getting to know yourself better, loving deeper, healing more and more. This also helps us in forgiving ourselves when we make mistakes. We can be kinder to ourselves. Learning to love our kids more requires learning to love ourselves more.
2) Say YES as much as possible
YES gives kids ownership over their thinking and their lives.
Try and decrease the number of times you say NO throughout the day.
The more a child hears YES the more their general level of positivity will increase.
It is amazing to witness that when kids hear YES a lot,
their need for resistance and defiance decreases and eventually disappears!
Saying YES is a great method for increasing how much our children feel accepted, loved and understood. The common view is that if we say YES a lot then our children will take advantage of us.
This is simply not the case.
They are much nobler beings than we often give them credit for.
They will respond to love with love. Just give them time.
3) See things from their point of view
Value their perspective as equal to your own. This includes their preferences, priorities and moods. We must work at being able to enter the consciousness of our children at each age/stage of development.
Try and see the world from their perspective.
This is hard to do because we’re steeped in our own reality. Money, job, transportation, lack of time, relationships… you know, real life! Our priorities seem so real, important and valid. The things kid’s value just can’t compare.
The message of how worthy they are is something they carry with them for all their lives. It’s something WE have carried with us for all our lives! It affects their choices and desires. It affects what they believe they deserve. It can make kids settle for less than their dreams and their hearts deepest longing!
Let us do our best to give our children the most solid foundation we can by validating what they value.
4) Let go of consequences and punishments
Instead of forcing our kids to behave in certain ways it’s more effective to inspire them. We want them to be kind because they understand and FEEL that it is better to make others feel good rather than feel bad.
There is no way to teach someone to want to make others feel good by making them feel bad.
Punishment always teaches the opposite! To do something good, kind, even polite because we fear the consequence of not doing it is a surface level good. To do these things because we know, from the inside out, that they are the right thing to do, this is a deep level good.
And why would we want to aim for anything less with our children?
5) Be Consistent with Love – Be flexible with rules
Most of the time when we hear people say we have to be consistent as parents they are usually talking about being consistent with rules, punishments and consequences. The real consistency kids need is to know that they are loved unconditionally. Everything else requires flexibility. We have to deal with our kids as deep emotional beings, not as a collection of behaviours to modify and control.
I am not a fan of rules. I prefer guidelines.
Rules attempt to control and there is a consequence for breaking them.
Guidelines… GUIDE! They are designed to educate and inspire.
A problem with rules as an educational tool is that they teach through an external source.
If we teach through experience, discussion, collaborative decision making and understanding principles the lessons are deep. When the lesson is learned this way, it’s not a habit nor is it a programmed behaviour. It becomes a natural part of how they see the world, it is part of their paradigm. Teaching from the inside out.
6) Make them feel your unconditional love
It’s not enough that you know you love them unconditionally, they have to know it, especially when they makes mistakes. This builds a sense of worth. Less chance they’ll seek love from an external source for they will have it in abundance within.
This is particularly important when things aren’t going well. When they’re being difficult or when you are in a bad mood. It’s so easy for us to let our emotions get the better of us and behave in a non-loving way.
We must be stronger than that for them.
We must create such a safe space that they always feel our love, no matter what is happening.
Now of course you and I both know that we love our kids, even if we’re yelling at them or punishing them, we still love them. The problem is that when we’re acting that way THEY don’t feel it.
They begin to see our love as conditional.
“Dad loves me more when I act like this and less when I act like that.”
When they feel this way they begin to act in ways that are designed to create that loving connection and avoid acting in ways that would make them lose it. They create a false self that they think fits who you want them to be.
Instead we must try and treat them in a way that encourages them to be as authentic and natural as possible. This way they learn to accept and honour who they truly are and wont’ feel the need to put on an act in order to gain acceptance with friends or lovers.
The best thing we can do for our children is to arm them with the most solid foundation that we can, and trust them to go into the world and be the best that they can be.
I wish you all the best on your parenting journey.
-If you would like to discuss a specific parenting issue, receive some one on one guidance or even have me come meet and work with your family.
-Or if you’d like to be kept informed when I hold parenting classes and workshops.
please contact me on my contact page.
0 thoughts on “G Day for Girls Toronto – a Youth Empowerment Conference”
Thank you again for a truly inspirational session at yesterday’s GDay in Toronto!
I came up to you at the very end to say ‘hello’, and said it sounded like we had very similar fathers growing up.
Your choice of words and language, your attention to feelings and awareness in your stories, and your conscious parenting style and decisions (made even at the age of 3!), all resonated so much with me! And, like I mentioned yesterday, everything you said was and still is a reminder and inspiration for me to be a better person and parent every moment of every day!
I will write more in an email, but wanted to thank you again for your presence and wisdom yesterday.
And if you ever do that weekend retreat – my husband and I are so there! 🙂
With great thanks,
Lesia Kohut (Toronto)
Sharing our common experiences is so helpful and healing isn’t it?
Thank you for your kind words and support.
I’ll definitely let you know when I have courses planned.