The other night, while teaching a class, one parent was explaining a particularly emotional situation with her daughter, and she explained how she handled it.
When she asked how I would have handled it, I turned it back to the class and said, “OK guys, this is your fourth week, how would you have handled it?”
This opened a class discussion, and pretty soon we came to a reasonably good solution. I then summarised why and how I would have handled it a certain way, and one of the moms said “UGH! It sounds so simple when you say it! Why can’t you magically appear on our shoulder somehow?”
Then the mom who was having the issue said “That’s it! We need one of those bracelets… WWND? What would Nat do?”
I had to giggle… though I wasn’t sure if it felt slightly blasphemous, it was amusing. I understand the frustration. I used to feel the same when I was on my first parenting course. I had to pick up the phone a good few times and call Shel to ask her “How do I handle this?” And so I offer the same availability to the parents who have done the course with me too.
Our instinctual reaction is not always the one we know we should be doing, or necessarily the one we want to implement. But this is the first step. This is what becoming a conscious parent is all about. Not just survival in the moment. Not just crisis management. And not just defaulting to how our parents did it because that is all we know.
If you want to become a conscious parent, and if you change your default parenting style to a new one that you choose, it can be challenging. But don’t give up. If you are making an effort to do it the new way, because you believe it is the right way, then you need to persevere. At first it will get worse before it gets better, as your children figure out where the new boundaries are, and how you establish them. And you will feel unsure and wobbly at times – a sure sign the kids will hone in on your weaknesses and push those buttons hard. But ultimately it is a conscious parenting style, and you will get better at it every time you do it. And even if you blow it, pat yourself on the back because you know you blew it. That is a step forward.
So take baby steps, and ask yourself, not what would Nat do, but rather, what would the RCB way say, and how can I handle this situation in a way that everyone feels better afterwards? Eventually, if you believe in it, you will become more and more conscious and more and more sure of what you are doing.
The rewards are so worth the initial discomfort. Push through… and call me 🙂