Stress Relief: Parents Are Not Perfect, No

30
May

 

SHOCKED-PARENT

 “Frazzled Mother” (circa) 2014.

There is no end to the advice we receive as parents. Now you can add “conscious parenting” to your repertoire.

Cue to Oprah, who was recently introducing a new topic for her Super Soul Sunday series.

On this occasion she was interviewing Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist with a private practice in New York, a parenting expert, and author of “The Conscious Parent.”

“The Conscious Parent.”

What does that mean?

Not enough expectations piled on us already?

Gushing about Dr. Tsabary’s book, Oprah described it as “revolutionary” and “innovative” in promoting reflection, insight and growth in parenting.

For instead of falling victim to our own personal baggage when we ‘parent,’ children can be viewed as vessels to help us understand ourselves better.

Tsabary contends that the way you talk to and interact with your children reveals a great deal about how you feel about yourself.

Furthermore, when you consciously slow life down with your children, get to know them better, and allow natural consequences to flow through your children’s days, your parenting reactions can become less dramatic, more in rhythm with your child’s unique temperament and needs, more spiritual. By default, your child will benefit.

The concept is beautiful.

Idyllic. 

Utopian.

Idealistic.

Flawed!

Especially when the doctor speaks of ‘natural consequences.’

For example, if the child forgets to bring an important assignment to school, the teacher docks the child marks. The child learns from the experience. End of story.

Or, take the forgetful child who leaves household lights on all over the house. Says Tsabary: Take the lightbulbs out! The child, as a natural consequence, will be impacted by being in the dark and will not leave lights on in the house again. Problem solved!

What about the frazzled mother who can’t get her four children to bed on time?  Tsabary’s suggestion: Forget about strict bedtime routines! Your children will end up begging to go to bed (at 2 am) …on their own initiative! How cool would that be?

Wait a minute.

Do these concepts relate to our modern world?

The Facts About Parenting Today:

  • Parents are exhausted. They have to be all things to ALL people.
  • Child’s stress levels are epidemic.
  • School systems are broken.
  • Homework demands are outrageous.
  • Kids are scheduled into a tizzy.
  • Technology is usurping traditional parental influence (ever talked to a child with a cell phone in her face?)
  • Children are distracted by a million different influences, all day, all night. Parental control has left the building.
  • The unspoken credo: you let your children fail, you fail them.

Of course we should all slow down and be more “conscious.”

But will the children cooperate? What…via cell phone?

How will society accommodate this mindfulness approach? Will you advise your daughter’s teacher, your boss, that you and your daughter will be an hour late daily because you require bonding time?

If you take out lightbulbs all over your house and frighten your child right to therapy, is that a good idea? Should you permit young children to stay up all night?

Please spare me these rose coloured sunglass notions, as lovely as they are.

If you can relax and bond with your child for hours, figure out your child, and by osmosis, figure yourself out in the process, huge kudos to you.

And anything you can do to make life better and more proactive for your family is important, wonderful and useful.

But let’s be frank. Just getting through the day as a parent, these days, is triumph enough. Pat yourself on the back. You’re doing a great job. And all parents know – we can all do better, always… and we will try.

In the meantime, let’s absorb the fact that Shefali Tsabary’s 10 year old daughter has never seen a report card. Nor do she and her mother discuss grades.

Says Tsabary: “From day one as a parent I decided I would only focus on effort. Most of us are so obsessed with performance, it kills the ability to enjoy effort.”

We impose far too much on our children, she says, and stress ourselves out.

“Children are never the problem,” she says.

Parents are.

 


This entry was posted on Friday, May 30th, 2014 at 1:25 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

comments

2

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  1. June 11th, 2014 | deb says:

    My mother always told us, “Don’t put the kids to bed hungry.”(regardless of if they ate their dinner or not)
    Try that once, you won’t do it twice.
    That middle of the night howl of, “I’m hungry.” will get you for sure.

  2. June 13th, 2014 | abby says:

    Are you suggesting that parents should not be conscious, but rather should attend to their kids needs during normal waking hours so that they can actually enjoy some down time? Ah, but that’s not “conscious parenting!” LOL

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While I don't publish all comments, I welcome and appreciate your feedback and participation. If you'd prefer to keep your comment 'private,' please use my contact form (located on my website menu) and indicate this. I will happily respond to all comments and questions.

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