Why Conscious Parenting Matters
By Chinyelu Kunz
/ in this article
01. A deep dive into how a child’s consciousness develops from infancy to age seven
02. How conscious parenting fosters the development of positive habits in children
03. Key shifts in children at ages 3, 6, & 9 and how these stages can challenge parenting skills
“Knowing others is Wisdom.
Knowing yourself is Enlightment.
Controlling others is a Forceful act.
Controlling yourself is Empowering!”
For a greater, more expansive understanding of consciousness, it’s helpful to look back on the development of consciousness that happens in the early childhood years from infancy to seven.
For the infant and young toddler, they experience consciousness with being at one with everything that happens around them. They feel at one with the world and with whomever “Mothers” them and cares for their needs. They do not feel a separateness and are completely affected (positively or negatively) by whatever is in their environment as well as their daily rhythms. In fact, they rely on consistent daily rhythms that are predictable. By experiencing predictable, repetitive daily rhythms, young children come to know and make sense of their world, themselves, and others. It gives meaning to the experiences they encounter.
Through consciousness, we come to see that healthy daily rhythms support the development of consciousness. We are more mindful of our choices and actions. Healthy daily rhythms also develop good habits that we, as parents, teach through our conscious actions which with repetition become part of our child’s subconscious habit life. The early childhood years is the time to develop good habits in your child. It’s also a great time for us to work on habits that we want to let go of. Unlike the young child who learns habits from us by what we do, we change bad habits through conscious thinking. That’s why it’s so difficult for us to change a bad habit.
This is why it’s important for us to be conscious of our behavior, words, and actions so that we can support the development of good habits in our children early in their life.
So for example, if you yell at your child when you are angry or frustrated with them, don’t be surprised when they yell at you when they are angry, frustrated, or overwhelmed. They will imitate you and develop a habit of yelling. Or if you often loose control of your emotions and take your child along with you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, they will imitate this – perhaps having many more tantrums than they normally would have.
Around the age of 3, a new phase in consciousness happens. The young child begins to awaken to seeing themselves as a separate individual, no longer at complete oneness with us and their world and this is when they start to say “I” instead of referring to themselves by their name. Their consciousness continues to develop not from their own will or thinking which is still immature, instead from an inner developmental bodily process that is the maturation process of the brain.
Between ages 6 and 7, still in the early childhood years, the urge to express their own individuality grows stronger and this often challenges our parenting skills. If it does, it’s a time to build your skills and see where you might need further self-development. It’s also a time to ponder deep inner questions. If you find that you’re triggered by your child’s behavior it’s actually not their fault and certainly not their responsibility carry. Your triggers could be a result of how you were parented those unresolved childhood issues that you’re still carrying with you.
As a child’s individuality develops and they become more and more expressive about their likes, dislikes, hopes and wishes and even demands, this is when conflict arises. If we are not conscious about how we are choosing to parent this time of conflict can cause our relationship with our child to drift apart.
By age 9 there is another big shift in consciousness where the child realizes with greater consciousness that they have inner thoughts which no one knows about. They realize that they can keep a secret. This is also a time when children can learn to read “silently” to themselves.
This inner development of consciousness progresses until age 21 when the now young adult awakens with a strong desire to know and understand themselves and their world. Here we can see that as consciousness develops there is more of an awareness of self, others, and the world. There is an awareness of the inner-self and an awareness of the outer projection of the inner-self. (This is how I see myself. This is how I want others to see me.)
After age 21, we either remain at this stage in consciousness or choose to develop our consciousness for greater awareness of ourselves- of our feelings, emotions, behavior, words, actions, and gestures. Essentially, how we experience ourselves and how our child experiences us.
When we choose to develop our consciousness, we are choosing to develop ourselves, we are choosing to live more mindfully. Since we are far beyond the formative early childhood years at age 21, consciousness doesn’t continue to develop on its own therefore, we must choose to grow and awaken ourselves on a deeper level.
Here are a few actions steps you can bring into daily life as you work towards parenting more consciously.
– Let go of ego.
– Focus first on your behavior, words, actions, and gestures. Focus on how you are in daily life.
– Ask yourself what qualities you want to develop in yourself. Work on self-development.
– Work on your own issues and avoid passing it forward to yet another generation.
– Model behavior that you want to see in your child.
– Create healthy home rhythms and simplify your daily routines.
– Have compassion and empathy for your child and yourself.
– Have deep understanding for your child’s capabilities based on their developmental age/stage.
– Avoid projecting expectations of who you think your child should be.
– Let your thoughts, words, and actions align with your values.