Tsabary, Shefali. The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering Our Children. Vancouver: Namaste Publishing, 2010. Print.
In a nutshell:
Where many parenting books focus on how to change our child's behavior, Shefali Tsabary's The Conscious Parent suggests the opposite. According to Tsabary, the first step in improving the parent and child dynamic is for the parent to move from unconscious to conscious parenting and to see the task at hand as a path of spiritual growth. Tsabary outlines the trajectory from parenting an infant to a teen in terms of how we need to accept our children for who they are while also acknowledging and accepting ourselves. When we do, we no longer tread the worn paths of the way in which we were parented. Instead, we do the important work of healing ourselves and our relationships with our children. In terms of what this looks like on a practical level, Tsabary saves a discussion of discipline for the end of the book - which she terms constraining and behavior shaping.
I found much to love in this book, particularly the way in which it acknowledges that parenting is a paradox involving both the utmost joy and a whole ton of inner turmoil and questions of self. The book doesn't cite research or offer heavy footnotes. Instead, it narrates the struggles of parenting in a manner that makes the reader feel understood, and offers examples from Tsabary's own experiences with clients as well as her own parenting journey. The the language of "spiritual awakening" and "consciousness" may not appeal to every reader - and if that is the case for you, there are other books that also examine the connection between our own feelings and triggers and the work of parenting that may better suit you. (Like this or this.)
Some quotes to consider:
"The transition to parenthood is complex, requiring us to surrender to an irrevocable loss of our identity as we have thus far known it. To create the internal space required to embrace the tending of a new spirit, the pillars of our old lifestyle have to crumble. Who we were before becoming a parent doesn't and cannot exist with the same ferocity. Once children enter our life, their impact is indelible and we are required to reinvent ourselves in response" (96).
"When you are able to respect the unfolding of your child's particular journey, you teach them to nurture their own inner voice and simultaneously honor the voice of others" (31).
Have you read The Conscious Parent? If so, I'd love to know what you think! Share in the comments below. Find more Nested Mama reviews here.
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Johanna received a Ph.D. in English in 2014. Now a postpartum doula and educator of childbirth, breastfeeding, and infant sleep, she blogs about pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and parenting.