Read more about Parent Coaching: Raising Children Consciously
As a coach, I often have parents come and tell me how guilty they feel for yelling at their kids when they won’t listen.
But the cause of their frustration often boils down to the simple complaint:
“My kids just won’t listen.”
Often, shouting and yelling comes as a knee-jerk reaction to feeling unheard. Our subconscious mind suggests that maybe if we just spoke a little louder our children would listen and do what we tell them to do.
But it never works.
Shouting only creates more lack of actual listening, as our children hear only noise in each yelling match or they shut down with every order shouted in their direction.
As mindfulness becomes more popular and understood, we have to wonder if there’s a more conscious way of approaching an un-co-operative child. How do you mindfully get a child to listen?
Mindfulness asks us to be present within the moment, consciously with our children and seeing things from a whole view. Asking ourselves why our children don’t listen is a good place to start.
Are they focused on their own thoughts, their game or whatever they are doing? Are they tired, hungry or even possibly upset about something, lost in some replay of the day’s events, so they literally aren’t “tuned in” to what you are telling them?
Mindfulness also often asks us to reflect on ourselves, or rather see if life is reflecting from ourselves. In other words, are we, in fact, listening to our children? Are we asking them to do something we aren’t being an example of.
Taking this approach can build up a lot of resistance within parents.
We are the parents, and we’ve been told that our children HAVE to listen to us. When we were children we were told we had to listen to our elders, why should it be any different for our children?
But if we are looking for a more positive, supportive experience with our children, we have to ask if we ever felt unheard, if we felt like we couldn’t express our thoughts or feelings in the dictatorship of our childhood and if, in the long run, we actually did listen after all. Didn’t we often only jump into action when we felt we were going to get into trouble, leaving fear as our only motivation?
Mindful parents have to ask themselves, do we want our children to feel heard and understood as we want to feel ourselves or do we want them doing what we ask out of fear and simply because we’ve said so?
Children are watching and learning constantly and, in a world of technology and fast speed interactions, they are navigating different waters than most of us were at their age. But with their more advanced knowledge has also come advanced insight. Children know when we are simply saying things to distract or throw them off of something.
What that suggests is that if we’re saying no about something… it’s only fair to have a reason to back it up. Simply saying “no” with the reasoning that it’s our right to as a parent, leads to rebellion from our children who sense we aren’t fully sure of something ourselves. At the same time, saying no without foundations of reason, throws the mindful parent into confusion as we scramble for reasons which are built upon nothing.
Therefore, to mindfully get our children to listen:
1) Listen. When we ask our children questions and truly hear their answers, when we stop our distractions to truly hear them, we create the space for a real exchange and conversation.
2) Practice integrity. When we make sure our requests and words are honest and with reason, we can explain our purpose and why we need them to hear us. We can also create the opportunity for both learning and connection with our kids.
3) Look at ourselves. Are we acting how we want our children to act? Children look to example and we can’t ask anyone to do something we aren’t willing to do ourselves.
Mindful parenting is the art of presence and practice. The space of listening and recognizing our children as people, who are growing and learning just as we all are.
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Christina Fletcher is a Spiritually Aware Parent Coach and Energy Healer who specializes in helping parents become heart centered and aligned to their highest vision of their parenting and of themselves. Through her background and training in religious and self development studies, as well as spirituality and conscious parenting, Christina helps parents dive past the “shoulds” created from their upbringing and society, and release beliefs that hold them back to create authentic, connected relationships with their children, and themselves. Using mindset techniques, practical spiritual tools such as simple meditation, the law of attraction and positive focus, as well as her training and gifts as an energy healer, Christina gives space for a mom or dad to drop into the feeling of satisfaction, alignment and relief, so they can tune in to what their children truly need and work from a centered perspective. She gives practical and spiritual advice on how to tune into a child’s perspective as well as concrete tools to pass on self awareness and mindful living to children as young as 3, so authenticity, emotional awareness, communication and connection can be the foundation for the whole family. Christina is a homeschooling mom of 2 daughters, (ages 16 and 15) and a 9 year old son. She is happily married to her husband Jeff. When their girls were born 10 months apart, Christina parented as she thought she “should”. Scheduled feeds, nights of pacing the floor with crying babies, and getting mad as they got older, she knows what it’s like to feel overwhelmed and in tears through those early years. It wasn’t until her girls were 3 and 4 that she decided her happiness mattered and that she wanted to have fun again. The change transformed everything, creating a powerful relationship with her children which is stronger than ever now that they are teens. When she was pregnant with her son, she became passionate about creating a spiritually aware pregnancy, and her connection with her son prior to his birth was crucial through some family tragedy taking place at that time. This later became the topic of her first book. Christina is passionate about helping parents create deep relationships with their children, from birth until fully grown. But she also knows that deep relationships with others can only be formed from a deep relationship with yourself, so through courses, coaching and her writing, she offers tools for the entire family so they can truly become self aware and present as everything they really are.