How to be less reactive when people say you’re parenting wrong

woman with brown baby carrier and little kid in white jacket

Do you want to be less reactive? Sure, we all want to be in control of our emotions.

But when someone criticises our parenting approach, especially a conscious one, that we know deep down works well for us and our children; it can be hard to keep our cool.

The power of conscious parenting is that it extends beyond how we raise our kids. It can be used when we deal with other people; like partners, colleagues and family members.

A personal experience

Over the years I’ve been told by different people that my daughter is “too much”.

I’ve been told that she’s “too emotional”, “too demonstrative”, “impolite” and “inconsiderate”.

Although it’s true that she can sometimes be these things, she is also often emotionally aware, capable, amazingly polite and thoughtful too. She’s 7 and she’s still learning (who isn’t?!) so to expect her to have it all sorted by now is just (to use her words) “ridonculous”.

Some people have told me that my parenting needs to change. I shouldn’t be allowing her to express herself or her feelings or behave the way that she does. One person suggested that she will grow up with problems as a result of my not forcing her to be different. That one stung.

How I’m Less Reactive With My Daughter

I allow my daughter to express how she’s feeling (even if it makes me feel uncomfortable). I allow her to cry when she’s hurt herself (rather than encourage her to pretend that she’s OK). I allow her not to give hugs to people when she doesn’t want to (even when they expect her to). And I’m confident in the choices that I’m making around this.

I don’t know how things will pan out in the future. I don’t know if my choices will result in her being the “best” version of herself, but I’m confident in my choices because they’re a result of conscious deliberation and doing what I think is best right now.

I’ve based my decisions on the research I’ve read and what I know about mental health development. I know how difficulties can be instilled in the early years (and how we can avoid these).

As a CBT therapist every day I help clients recognise, experience and process their emotions – many of which originated in their early childhood experiences, which they’re still working through as adults. So I’m choosing to do things differently.

And not everyone will understand this.

How You Can Also Be Less Reactive

I know I’m not the only one in this boat, so here are some ideas for how you can respond when others question you on how you’re choosing to parent or just straight up tell you you’re doing it all wrong.

These ideas will help you channel the inner confidence you naturally develop through conscious parenting.

Before you read on, would you like to be guided to feel calm and relaxed during a stressful day?
Join us on 22nd May for a Nervous System Reset Session guided by myself.

An hour of breath work, visualisations and meditations, to leave you feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Smile and move on

You can choose whether you want to engage in a conversation about your parenting choices or not.

Have confidence in your opinions

It can be tempting to try and get others to see your point of view. It feels good to be validated and if you struggle with your own self-belief this can feel particularly important. Focus on what you know is right for you and your family and have confidence in your own opinions.

Don’t try and win anyone over

We all do and see things differently and trying to change other people’s minds or hoping that they understand your viewpoint will only work if they are open to learning your perspective.

Many people aren’t open to new perspectives and it’s not your responsibility to try and make them change their mind. Trying to do so can just create more stress and frustration for you.

There are so many (often conflicting) views on how to raise children. We can’t expect others to always understand and back us and this can challenge even the strongest of relationships.

Stay strong in your own beliefs, accept that there will always be others who see things differently to you and have tolerance and compassion for them despite this.

Love breeds love.

Conscious Parenting

Many parents believe strongly in the benefits of a gentle, attachment-based or conscious parenting approach but find their own traumas, negative beliefs and past experiences make it really hard to consistently parent their kids the way they want to.

If you’re snapping at your kids more than you’d like to, then our Emotional Regulation Group Programme is for you. With the support of myself and other mums on a similar journey with you, it will help you to manage your emotions, re-wire negative thinking patterns and release past traumas that have been keeping you stuck in a reactive pattern. Helping you gain the confidence to parent the way you want to.

If you want more information about the 12 week programme then head over here https://consciousandcalm.com/emotionalregulation/ or send me an email at hello@consciousandcalm.com

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