Conscious Parenting: The Beginning

Picture of Stacey Pinilis, LCSW

Stacey Pinilis, LCSW

Psychotherapist and Parenting Consultant in Montclair, NJ

When my daughter was 5 years old, I had my first insight into what it means to be a conscious parent. It was October and we arrived late to preschool that day because Olivia had her 5 year old check up. It was after lunch and all the kids were outside for recess. I can still hear the laughter in the air. Olivia and I were holding hands as we approached her 3 closest friends sitting on a bench. She was so excited to see them. It was a beautiful day and all was right in the world. Until it wasn’t. The second those mean little rats saw us they got up and ran away giggling. The sky turned dark. I had a visceral reaction to this and tears stung my eyes. I squeezed cute little Livvie’s hand and was about to give her a little pep talk about finding people who did want to play with her. I opened my mouth to talk and she pulled away from my grasp and said, “Bye Mommy Love You!” And she ran toward her friends where they hugged and kissed and linked arms as happy as can be. Talk about a light bulb moment.

Many parents come to me because they are worried about their kids. Some might seek me out because their son seems like a loner and others because their daughter’s best friend is ignoring her. These scenarios bring up painful feelings for parents who do not want their children to suffer. An anxious mom might ask her son 20 questions when he comes home from school hoping to get a hint that maybe he does have friends. An angry mom might be tempted to call her daughter’s friend and her mother and scream. In both cases these parents are caught up in an emotional hurricane and cannot think straight. They are in reaction mode and not able to consider options. We’ve all been there.

The awareness I found on the playground all those years ago guided my own parenting and led to my dedication to helping others. Who knew that in order to parent effectively you would have to go back in time and heal forgotten parts of yourself? This is the magical key to raising kids and frankly to living the life you desire. Imagine if you were able to pause when your boss pissed you off, when your partner forgot the milk, when your child failed a test? These moments give you an opportunity to look within and help yourself get clear and calm. In growing ourselves up we help our children more than any other trick or tool in the book.

If we can become aware that we are having an emotional reaction because we too felt left out as children or we too did poorly in school then we can be there in the present moment for our kids. The work I do with parents is never really about their children at all. It is about the parent’s own evolution.

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