It’s time for a paradigm shift. We must occupy the role of the parent in a whole new way.
According to a 2007 UNICEF study, American kids rank the second unhappiest of all nations. In the UK, 1 in 10 children under 8 say they are unhappy.
As parents, we naturally and intuitively have dire concerns about how happy our kids are, and worry about the world that they grow up in, but we mostly place our focus on external factors such as other children, media, school and social norms. Very seldom do we look within ourselves, not as parents – but as individuals, and go deep into our own core to reveal how our own internal compass affects our children.
There is an emotional blueprint that we all come with, and it is our most valuable tool to becoming the best parents we can be. If we want our children to be happy and thrive, to be kind and take care of others and the earth, we need to recognize that it starts with us. We can’t expect our children to hold a higher consciousness if we do not look at how we define ourselves.
Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist who has made it her life work to shift our parental consciousness. She knows well that now IS an incredibly hard time to be kid, and she has seen how our damage as adults affects our parenting. But she has some answers — and tours the world speaking about this shift in parental consciousness. She is author of multi-award-winning book, “The Conscious Parent.”
Her TEDxTalk is powerful, and one of our favorites:
(Video below the transcript):
What is it that emotionally paralyzes us as adults? How is it that we may thrive at this thing called life? Inevitably when we try to answer those questions, our story turns to childhood. And each of us speak of a similar theme; of a hunger only a parent can appease and of a thirst only a parent can quench.
We grapple with our childhood problems long into adulthood. We seek and yearn for approval from our parents even as adults. Many adults visit psychiatrists and beg for help, asking, “Am I whole? Am I worthy? Do I matter?”
But we arrive at that office with a blueprint that is almost impossible even for a psychiatrist to undo. Their words do not seep in because another voice has been internalized, the voice of their parents. Now try erasing that first blueprint. It becomes to be the way we define ourselves. It becomes the air we breathe. Parents: No one holds a greater power or more immense responsibility.
We need to occupy the role of parenthood in an entirely new way, with a new curiosity, a heightened awareness, and transformed commitment. There is nothing like parenthood that needs to be at the forefront of our global consciousness. It affects everything- how our children will thrive, how they take care of themselves, each other, the earth, show compassion, tolerate differences, innovate, create and transform the world. This is where global transformation begins. And it all starts with us. We can’t expect for our children to hold a higher consciousness if we do not embody one ourselves.
And today, our own children face challenges beyond what we ever could have imagined. Evidence suggests they are buckling under the pressure. According to the surgeon general’s office, 1 in 5 children have signs of a mental health disorder. That is a hair-raising statistic. There has been a 274% global increase in prescriptions of ADHD drugs to children. In a 2007 UNICEF study, American kids rank the second unhappiest of all nations. In the UK, 1 in 10 children under 8 say they are unhappy.
Something is clearly amiss. We need to sit up, pay attention, and raise our children differently. Now of course there are many societal factors that can be involved or blamed for these shocking problems and statistics. But nothing – no one – outside a parent could be more influential in making a positive difference.
We each hold trans formative power. In each moment- in the moments where nothing is glamorous; moments where we help them brush their teeth, do their homework, clean their room and wipe their tears, we can be present and make a difference. There is real science that shows how the parental influence impacts a child’s neuroscience.
It is understandable that no parent sets out to be evil. Each parent intends to give love to their child to the best of their current ability. There is only one reason a parent hurts a child. It’s because we are hurting ourselves (and we probably don’t even know it.) It’s because we are unconscious, and have inherited legacies of emotional baggage from our parents. It lies unconscious, dormant, waiting to be woken. Until we have children.
When we lose our tempers with our children, chances are we lash out at them reactively because it has triggered something within us, somewhere inside we want supremacy, something we could not control. When we nitpick at our children, it is not because they are inadequate; it is because of our inner lack, a reflection of something within us that does not feel good enough.
When our children are disrespectful, chances are it is not because they are wild and chaotic; it is because we ourselves have a problem with our leadership, with handling conflict order and with saying no.
Our children come to us whole, complete and worthy – they are happy with 2 sticks, a stone and a feather -but because we have been so conditioned so deeply in an unconscious manner, so severed from our presence and sense of abundance, we project a sense of lack on them. We say do not trust yourself, look outside of yourself. And we teach them to look outward at material objects. The Ferrari, corner office or spouse. We are consumed by “doing.” This is how we create our own value.
We teach them, you cannot just play, you achieve. You can’t just have a hobby, you must excel at it. You cannot just dream, you must dream big. What’s the point in dreaming if you don’t go big?
It’s time to change the spotlight and turn it inward. Change it from being the child who needs to be fixed into parental evolution is the solution. The extent to which we know ourselves is the extent to which our children will. The extent we parents can love deeply, laugh loudly, risk bravely and lose freely -is the extent to which our children will know joy and freedom.
We can no longer play the role as the parent as “the greater than.” We must look at the children as our equal transforming agents. They are our teachers, our awakeners. It is time to answer the call -we must pause reflect more, listen, connect to our own abundance. Trust our children, understand their brilliance, allow their lead to self-love, to create purpose, to enter worth, to be in gratitude – because this is how our children will absorb wholeness and fullness and abundance. And from this place they can fly free.
We must answer our call to our own awakening. The moment is now and our children await.
I know that making some changes in my house is not going to be easy, but I’m going to start with consuming less…clothes, toys, beauty products, etc – and start spending more time outside in nature with the kids. Does this talk hit home for you? Where will you start?