I have just returned from THE MOST INCREDIBLE WEEKEND which centered around a parenting REVOLUTION!
Where to begin....
So, many of you know in early 2014 my daughter Mia, almost nine at the time, went from a happy-go-lucky, sing-song spirit to completely shutting down in a matter of a few weeks. Literally. Smiley, happy, carefree, dancing third grader who loved school, horseback riding, play dates...
And then, one day, she didn't.
It started with her not wanting to go to dance class (she was up for a 5-year trophy), then it was the desire to skip church/horseback riding/school. And although I was worried, I let the extracurricular activities go, but of course, school was not an option.
It quickly became a battle of wills each morning to get her up, dressed, teeth clean and physically in the car. Breakfast was not happening. It took all of my physical and mental strength to get her to the front door of the school before handing her (with love) firmly over to the office staff. During the school day? A half a dozen calls from the nurse, the school counselor, and if any lunch were to be eaten at all, it was done in the Assistant Principal's office.
She quickly lost ten pounds. I know this because I took her to the pediatrician several times during those months.
We went over and over what it might be...bullying? A rift with friends? On the surface, there were no big changes at home, so I felt that couldn't be it. Darker things entered my mind...could this be the onset of childhood depression?...What, what, what?!
I was wracking my brain and trying everything in my mom arsenal to figure out how to help Mia feel better again!
One night in May I sat down, mentally gathering myself for another week of school drama while I sat and watched my DVR'd episode of Oprah's Super Soul Sunday. Armed with chardonnay and Cheetos, I began to watch as the week's guest was a psychotherapist from New York by the name of Dr. Shefali Tsabary.
She was promoting a revolutionary practice in raising children through her book The Conscious Parent.
Each word she spoke, every question Oprah asked, resonated deeply with me and I immediately ordered her book. When it arrived I devoured it! (To a point where it's now in at least a dozen pieces and jammed with notes and highlights).
Months passed and Mia and I both worked diligently on our mental health. I used the information in the book, in tandem with a wonderful counselor, and after some time Mia and I had both exceeded where we'd been before she crumbled.
I continued to study the work of Dr. Shefali and ordered her second book, Out of Control: Why disciplining your child doesn't work and what will.
Then, last spring, Dr. Shefali offered a Level 1 and 2 teleconference course about conscious parenting...so, I immediately took both of them!
And, last weekend, I attended what was the birth of a 3-day Conscious Parenting Conference in Long Beach, California with many, many wonderful speakers, and of course, Dr. Shefali Tsabary!
I had the privilege to work behind the scenes during the event, the joy of meeting so many other parents and professionals (from all over the country and the world) who have also found this practice making a difference in their homes and relationships with their children.
And, at the end of the weekend, I even got to swap books with Dr. Shefali! I gave her a copy of my (2011) My Mothers Footprints: A Story of Faith, Calm, Courage, Patience and Grace, and she gave me another copy of The Conscious Parent! (She refused to sign my tattered copy...can you imagine? It's like holy to me!)
So invested in the idea of changing the way we parent, I have made the commitment to begin an intensive course in parent coaching in order to help other families enjoy the kind of present, connected relationships that I have found with my own children through this practice!
So, what is this message Dr. Shefali is sharing?
WHAT IS CONSCIOUS PARENTING?
First let me tell you what Conscious Parenting is NOT:
It's not a "method" or a "concept" or a "5-step behavioral strategy to getting your kid to behave". AND IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH DISCIPLINE.
Conscious Parenting is a transformative life practice wherein one makes the decision to live in each moment, to be awakened by the triggers your child sets off inside of you when you are in the midst of conflict. It is an understanding that the issues you are having with your child, or your spouse, or in a family relationship, or even through a friendship have nothing to do with the other person, and everything to do with how you need to grow yourself.
You see, our children are our greatest teachers! No one will push our buttons as they do...however, this comes about because we consciously (and often unconsciously) impart OUR agenda onto them.
Yes, we do.
I could go on and on, but I want instead at this time to encourage you to check into the work of Dr. Shefali, watch one of her videos, and then order her book. It does not matter if your child is two, or twelve, or even twenty-two...this work applies to all ages and developmental stages of the parent/child relationship.
As the lead picture above indicates, in the minds of those who understand the gravity and power of what can be changed by this shift in parenting, Dr. Shefali is the drop, and I am one of many initial ripples in what will become the tide to a new direction in raising children.
Share your questions, thoughts, and comments with me at firstname.lastname@example.org!