Bulletproof Book Club: The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary
I have a running list of book titles that have brought tremendous value to my life. I’ve referenced many of them in my posts/website because they have played such a significant role in my continuing evolution. One of my favorite books is The Conscious Parent by Dr. Shefali Tsabary. Her view on our role as parents resonated with me deeply. She believes that our children act as our mirror. They reflect back to us parts of our severed self that longs to be healed. In short, they are our guide to a higher or more evolved version of ourself. If we are humble enough to surrender our hierarchal parenting and shift our focus from raising our child to raising the child within each one of us, we can enter the spiritual journey that is parenting. A symbiotic relationship that allows us to truly connect with the soul to which we have given life, without passing on our own generational wounds. Children often pay the price for our unwillingness to care for the needs of the child we still are in many ways. We treat them like our canvas, instead of the unique being they are. A completely separate spirit. One that is entitled to their own destiny and life’s wonderous opportunities for growth and personal inspiration. With the intention of both parent AND child to grow, we can offer our child the love, grace, and respect they inherently deserve. The kind we easily offer to our friends or coworkers. The love, grace, and respect we are seeking. The quiet reassurance that we are enough. That who we are is perfection. We continuously usher them to THIER higher self. We see it in them, even when it may be difficult. We evolve past solely reacting to their actions and look beyond to the unmet needs being manifested through bad behavior. Shefali says "bad behavior is really a search for one's inherent goodness". This is one of my favorite quotes in the book, (I actually pulled over the car to write it down). After 30 years of thinking I was just a rebellious bad kid, this sentiment brought a stream of tears to my eyes. When I shared a few chapters from this book with my own mother she said as her eyes welled up, "where was this book when we were raising you?” It’s that good.
Dr. Tsbury's ideas are unconventional and rebel against the parenting model we have culturally observed since the beginning of mankind. What she is suggesting is revolutionary, and may just be a key to bringing peace. To ourselves, our homes and ultimately, the planet. Hurt people hurt people. Let’s heal ourselves and raise our children as the individual they are. Free from the pressure to make us feel and look good. How much of our parenting or even the reason we have children is about us? Did we bring a new life into this world to fulfill our own desires, making them a pawn in our scheme? I know this question caused me discomfort. I had to pause and rethink all the plans I had for my children from even before they were concieved!
Shefali's conscious parenting mentality has completely transformed the way I parent. Even the reverence with which I view parenting. The change in our home and the individual relationships with my children is obvious. Although Shefali's book doesn't give us mechanics for making our children behave, like how many minutes are appropriate for a successful timeout or how to punish bad behavior like many parenting books provide, it will invite those willing to completely rethink parenting as a whole. This kind of parenting requires the presence and consciousness of the adult. Meaning, a willingness to view your child as a great teacher. When you stop to observe, its pretty clear our children are much closer to wholeness and presence than we are. Most adults I know are wanting to learn how to be still, without worry, and fully present in the moment. Aren’t you hearing about mediation everywhere you turn?! I don’t know anyone better at living in the present than our little ones. Everything is now. They are practically monks.
I love this book. I love her philosophy. I love her belief that we called our children into being, not only for their soul to experience life on earth, but for our own soul’s evolution. How many people do we know are hitting up the self-help area of the bookstore, in an effort to reclaim what they feel was lost to them on account of less than great parenting? How many people do we know are working to overcome poor parenting in some way? Almost everyone we know huh? The time has come to stop recreating the same or new wounds in our future generations. Its time to stop blaming our predecessors and our children and instead look inward. Its time to raise the child we are into wholeness. We have this belief that our children and their future belong to us. This need for control does not foster an environment for connection and an authentic relationship. It is, however, the breeding ground for a child who rebels and pushes away the parent or a child who submits to the parent's will, surrendering their own and loses all self, often leading to a breakdown as an adult.
“Our children are not easels upon which we get to paint the life we never had. Our children are not the diamonds or jewels you get to adorn yourself with to mask your emptiness .Our children are not our puppets by which you get to fake an authentic life. Your children do not need that burden on their shoulders”. Dear Shefali, you are rad, and this world desperately needs your wisdom.
Here is my book review. I think its clear how I feel about this one. It opened up my heart and invited me to grow right alongside my children, and I’m forever grateful. I am far from a perfect parent (is there such a thing?). If anything, I am now painfully aware of how much work I have ahead. I still resist looking within when my children act out. I still want to focus on fixing THEM. Because it's so much easier. If you think conscious parenting is a laze fare/anarchy type parenting, I dare you to give it a try. It may just blow your world open like it has mine.
I love listening to my books on audible as well as owning a physical copy. Here is a link to purchase your own copy so you can get to freeing yourself and your child from the limiting burden that is the tradition parenting we have known and experience ourselves.