Sunday, May 17, 2009
Do As I Do
As parents we sometimes forget how observant our children really are, until they mimic one of our frequent expressions or behaviors - for good or for ill. My older son recently awakened my parental consciousness by complaining about how another person was driving in front of us. His tone and choice words were a perfect copy of me as I was rushing to get somewhere and expressing my own aggravation - and it gave me pause. Somehow I had forgotten that what I did and said would be a lesson for my child.
On the flip side, I have been asked several times how we have managed to teach our children such good manners. And I have had to stop and think. How indeed? But as I look around, I see that they have learned much from how we treat others and the way we behave with our friends, family, and the public on a regular basis. We have certainly gently encouraged particular behaviors but have "taught" them more by modeling than instruction. Conscious parenting has provided us with a path for understanding the needs and development of our children, as well for respecting their social choices. As parenting expert Naomi Aldort points out, the emphasis is not on meeting society's expectations for their behavior but rather respecting their own awareness, confidence, and the level of manners that they are at. For me, it also about giving them the time and space to express themselves. Instead of telling my two year old to "say bye-bye to the nice lady", I allow him the choice to react, speak, or go about his business as he sees fit. And I regularly nurture the courage to do so.
As Dr. Aldort explains in her fabulous book, Raising Our Children, Raising Ourselves, the path to authentic parenting is a learning path and one that means we have to be willing to cultivate trust and to challenge our assumptions, beliefs, and past experiences. Awareness and acceptance have been big steps in my own parenting journey, steps that I need to climb again and again.
We are honored to host Dr. Naomi Aldort as a Keynote Speaker at our 2009 Natural Living Conference. We hope you will join us to share in her wisdom and to take back with you a new perspective on raising our kids.
Posted by Mama at Sunday, May 17, 2009