Unspoken Answers: How Do You Unconsciously Parent?
From the moment we drift into this world, we look to our parents for answers. Why, how, what and when seem to be the top words all throughout the early years of our journey. There are plenty of spoken questions – many things our children want or need to know. Those are easy. We provide conscious responses, formulating our answers and choosing our words.
Then, there are the unspoken questions… questions about what’s right and wrong, how to behave, honesty, integrity, manners, what path to follow, and so on... Typically, our children don’t put words to these questions. They look for the answers themselves – and they find them in us. But are we consciously responding?
Projecting Our Aspirations
We want so much for these little people to grow up into healthy, happy, and successful adults. Sometimes, we push too hard to make that happen. When it comes to helping our children forge their path, we think we know what’s best for them. So we compartmentalize their hopes and dreams, not realizing that we are projecting our own aspirations onto them, and not necessarily allowing their lives to unfold naturally. We provide unconscious answers to their questions by projecting our aspirations.
I have met my fair share of parents over the years who have told me that they did everything for their children, yet these kids have chosen to throw it all away to walk down a path full of hardship and bad choices – because the responses they received weren’t right for them. We need to bring these unconscious responses – our projected aspirations to the forefront – and make them part of a conscious – and spoken – “discussion without projections,” rather, in a real dialogue.
Leading by Example
As parents, all we can really do to guide our children is to continually work within ourselves each day and set an example. If we want them to be honest, then we have to be honest. If we want them to be happy, we have to be happy. There can’t be any blurred lines when it comes to parenting our children. No half-truths, double standards, excuses, or rationalizations. We have to “walk the walk and talk the talk…” We have to be conscious in everything we do, if for nothing else, because we are always being observed and we’re constantly providing answers to those unspoken questions.
Recently, I had a run in with a woman at a gas station. I was trying to pull into the entrance, and she was sitting there, texting away on her phone, oblivious that she was blocking the way. I honked gently to get her attention.
Instead of politely excusing herself and making way, she proceeded to say a few choice words. She went out of her way to circle back to give me grief. To make it worse, her back window rolled down, and there sat an 11- or 12-year-old year girl peering at me with a menacing look in her eyes.
I was floored, feeling a strange mixture of sadness and fear. When I realized that she had a child with her, I was instantly mortified that I was having a confrontation with this stranger in front of her young daughter, and even more angry that she gave into her momentary anger.
I instantly disengaged, refusing to be a part of teaching her daughter to consciously seek out confrontations. I don't want to cast stones...I have no doubt that this woman loves her daughter and wants the best for her, yet this is a perfect example of how inconsistent parents can be in their job of leading by example.
We all have these moments. Whether we're caught in a moment of sudden anger (think road rage) or confrontation with a stranger, there are daily stresses that can make us snap.
We all also experience moments of weakness, insecurity, or self-deprecation, where off-hand comments like "I'm so ugly; I hate myself" slip from our mouths and get heard by our little ones. We've all been known to make negative statements like "Life sucks!" or "I hate today!" But we simply have to make the effort to be more conscious in our reactions and in our declarations.
Guiding Our Children
In life, our children are going to have to find their own way, but in the early years, we provide them with their first road map. Our children are human sponges; they are watching and taking in who we are, the way we choose to live our lives, and the interactions that we have with everyone in the world around us.
We can sit around all day talking about how to raise good, productive, and successful human beings, but none of it amounts to beans if we are not willing to live our lives the way that we hope our children will one day live theirs.
How do you guide your children so that they can find their own way in life?Tags : conscious parenting mindful parenting role models