How to Apply Conscious Parenting Principles at The Table.
I learned through conscious parenting that we should not be attached to the success nor to the failure of our kids . We should be cautious not to turn their victories or failures into ours, nor make them a bigger deal than what it is for them. It is theirs to celebrate and enjoy a victory and failure should always be a growth and learning opportunity. If we personalize their success this can be internalized as anxiety and insecurity.
There are two reasons behind this. First we might mislead them into thinking failure is unacceptable and it creates a pressure on them to always be good.
I was a bit shocked, mostly with being cautious at celebrating their victories. However after a very short reflection it made sense. I reflected how my parents alway bragged about me being such a good girl so I always had to keep up with that standard. I am sure my parents truly were proud of me and that would have loved me no matter what, but I internalized it unconsciously and pressured myself to live to that high standard.
I am not saying we should not be proud of our kid´s success nor to ignore their struggles or failures. I am talking about overreacting, personalize them and having with reactions such as:
- Rewarding them with good grades and judging them for not so good ones. It is important to always find room for growth, celebrate more effort than results and why not even accept them with their limitations and let them know it is ok.
- Over bragging about them, giving more importance to the external things such as being in an honor roll or being an amazing goalie. Try to focus on your kid's innate nature, such as their tenacity, empathy and spirit.
- Forgetting to celebrate them for who they are, even all that makes them plain and ordinary.
- Over reacting to failure or not meeting expectations. Always reflect to whom the expectation belongs. To you or them?
- Not telling them they will be loved and accepted no matter what. Their achievements or failures will not define them nor will make you love them more nor less.
This same principle applies to feeding and that is why we should not overreact at the table with things such as:
- Jumping around for one bite of broccoli or for trying a new food since unconsciously we create pressure at the table. Imagine, your partner did this then when you tried something new.
- Praising them for eating only healthy foods since we create labels of good vs bad food putting them on different levels of importance.
- When we compare them or shame them with their siblings, friends or even to them when younger on their eating habits. Imagine being compared to your sibling or best friend. It will even bother you as an adult.
- When we lose our patience and get mad for not eating what is served.
- When we push them or force them to eat we don’t honor their hunger nor autonomy. Modeling and providing a balanced meal is the best way, imagine you were forced to try something you don’t like.