Learn how to connect with your children more consciously to help with all kinds of parenting challenges. Conscious parenting involves first becoming aware of your natural connecting style. Then learning how to choose the way you connect in different situations to help you with the day-to-day challenges of parenting.
C onnecting with your children (and with anyone else) is something we all do but is also something few of us understand.
We all know when we have a connection with someone and when we don’t. And we’re aware that sometimes our connection with the same person varies over time, which can be a frustrating aspect of relationships.
We even use language to describe these connections such as ‘She was so cold today’, ‘It was as if he just wasn’t there’, ‘I was talking to her but she was off somewhere else’, ‘There was a great vibe between us’, ‘The energy was flat at the party’, ‘I feel smothered by her’, ‘He’s so distant and cool’, and so on.
Our connection with others is an energetic thing, and because it isn’t visible to most people, many don’t pay attention to it.
It’s easier to follow instructions on what to do with our physical bodies than our energetic systems. So people find it easy to hug someone to feel close, or to kiss or shake hands. Even so, most of us will be able to feel if a hug or kiss is cool or warm, even if we don’t understand what makes it that way.
Children Need Us To Connect With Them
Our children feel how we connect (or don’t) with them, and they need us to connect with them in order for them to receive emotional nourishment.
This type of feeding is as important as the actual food we give them.
On a fundamental level, it makes them feel that they exist, that they are important, that they have been validated. It makes them feel loved and loveable.
If children aren’t nurtured energetically by their caregivers then they’ll seek that nurturing elsewhere if they are old enough to do so.
If they are still infants, they’ll withdraw their own energy field in an attempt to protect their vulnerability.
Fortunately, most parents naturally connect with their children to some degree, but it’s helpful to be more conscious of how you connect with them.
This allows you to adjust the connection as circumstances change. For instance, if you’re breastfeeding your baby or playing a game with an older child, but you suddenly need to take a phone call. When you’re aware of your connection you can remain energetically linked to your child while taking the call.
Being aware of how people connect also helps you to choose babysitters and other carers who will relate with your child on this level.
4 Practical Exercises to Help You Become Aware of Connection
As with learning to use any sense, the first thing to do is to pay attention to it. Here are four exercises you can do:
1. Look in the mirror and imagine you are beaming out warm and welcoming energy.
See if you can notice how you feel in response to your own efforts. Then change your energy and give out cooler energy. Then take it further and give out completely unwelcoming energy.
2. When you can shift between those different energies, practice adjusting their intensity. Feel the difference, both in how it feels to you and in how you appear.
3. Practice varying your energetic communication with your partner or a friend, and give feedback to each other about how you are doing.
Sit opposite each other and take turns extending your energy field to the other person. Intend it to be warm and then cool.
See if the other person picks up when you are extending warm energy and cool energy.
Play with turning the energy up and down and pulling it back.
Have your partner give you feedback on how it felt for them as you tuned your energy.
4. With your baby or older child, practice tuning your energy by intentionally extending your energy field out towards them, with the energy coming from your heart area.
Notice if they respond to you as you do this.
With an older child you can even discuss this with them and ask for their feedback.
If your child is a baby, simply look at them and hold them and extend your energy to them, or talk or sing as you do this.
Babies respond so quickly to changes in our energetic communication with them that you will see the effects of your change in connection instantly.
Why Children Act Out
When I’m with my children, I know when my attention – and therefore energetic connection with them – changes or attaches to something else because my youngest daughter in particular will make very obvious attempts to get it back!
If I ignore her, the attention-seeking becomes more extreme, until I re-establish my connection with her.
If I didn’t know about energetic connection, it would be easy to blame her for her attention-seeking behaviour.
With awareness about it, I can consider whether I’ve been neglecting connecting with her and then fix that, rather than criticise her for simply expressing a very real need.
Many problems with children acting out arise simply because parents and caregivers don’t know about energetically feeding the children in their care.
If You Find Connecting Difficult
If you find these exercises difficult or if consciously connecting with your child brings up uncomfortable feelings, then it’s even more important that you pay attention to this aspect of communication.
Do some work on healing yourself and then provide this nourishment to your own children. There are many resources available nowadays, even free ones on-line.
There are many reasons discomfort could be occurring. It could be that your primary self may not ‘do’ warm and nurturing connection and is more businesslike and impersonal in your relationships with others, making heart-to-heart connection feel alien or even anxiety-inducing.
Maybe you’ve had negative experiences in the past while being energetically in touch with someone else, or as a child you yourself were not ‘met’ energetically by your own caregivers.
Sometimes when open and personal energy feels threatening the fear is that you might become overwhelmed and will become enmeshed with your child, thereby ‘losing yourself’.
Whatever the reason, explore it and give yourself some attention.
One of the most powerful therapies is to begin to parent yourself in the manner you would have liked to have been parented. (Recently I’ve noticed Instagram accounts helping people with reparenting – just do a search for it and you’ll find someone.)
That might involve listening to and honouring your fears and concerns, no matter how trivial they might seem to your more competent, adult self.
That means caring for your own inner child.
Setting Healthy Boundaries
If connecting with your children is no problem for you and you thrive on warm and open connection, consider whether you have the ability to make conscious choices about energetically separating from your child and allowing your child and yourself to have space to yourselves.
Some parents who follow attachment parenting principles become so energetically enmeshed with their child that they lose the ability to set boundaries.
If either you and/or your child become anxious or uncomfortable when you leave your child alone or when you leave them at school or child care, it may be that you have become energetically enmeshed with each other.
It would benefit you to learn how to gently separate energetically, and to establish individual energy fields so that you and your child can get on with your day feeling whole.
To sum up, no matter how you connect with other people, it is worth developing awareness about your own natural or ‘default’ position.
There’s no right or wrong way to connect – but we all tend to favour one way of connecting and so that becomes our automatic way.
When you’re raising children – especially if you have more than one child – it makes it easier to parent them, and it makes your children feel validated and emotionally nourished, when you can adjust the way that you connect with them.
Read my book Enlightenment Through Motherhood for a down-to-earth and humourous look at how parents can grow and develop and become better at connecting with their children by simply dealing with the day-to-day challenges of parenting.
It also gives you a crash course on Eastern spirituality, explaining chakras, chanting and meditation, and shows you how to gain the benefits of such practices through everyday family life.