We’re not taught how to communicate in school and we’re not always so fortunate to learn it from our parents either, because the truth is, communicating consciously is not the norm.
As a parent, I have learned so much about communication. I’ve studied it in depth and much of the focus of my work is around how we communicate with ourselves and our partner, but nothing has taught me the importance of communication as parenthood.
Why? Because I know how easy it is for limiting beliefs and patterns to set in. How easy it is for an identity to be built upon those beliefs. My work with adults is undoing, healing and reframing those beliefs so that our true identity can come forwards. But there is a powerful opportunity in learning how to not only communicate with our children, but teaching them how to communicate at an early stage in life. If they can master conscious communication, they will be much better equipped at dealing with others, life and themselves as they grow older.
Now I want to point something out that is very important. When I say conscious communication I don’t mean that as parents we have to be calm, peaceful and positive all the time with our children. Sometimes ‘conscious parenting’ can shame a parent into feeling like their failing if they’re not always showing up as a peaceful version of themselves. Of course we aim to be calm and loving but we’re human and we’ll have our human moments and the most important thing to teach our children is not how to be perfect but how to be human; and sometimes being human is messy…it’s okay.
What my intention is with conscious communication especially with our children, is that we’re holding our state of being and how we communicate, with awareness. That looks like: if and when we have an outburst, if we hold it in awareness we can take responsibility for our behaviour. We can apologise. We can explain what is going on for us so that the child recognises that they don’t have to take on our emotions but they can observe and empathise, instead. What we create together is a dialogue that is held in awareness.
So one aspect of conscious communication is how we interact with our children. The other aspect is directly teaching them how to communicate. What that entails is teaching them how to connect to their experience: their feelings, thoughts, emotions and supporting them in understanding the language of who they are. Essentially, it’s an exercise in self-awareness and then building the vocabulary to communicate what they are aware of within themselves.
The outcome of this work is an amazing emotional intelligence, something our current education does not pride or even slightly support. With emotional intelligence, we become more patient, empathic and compassionate. We learn how to resolve conflict better. We’re less judgmental and more accepting. Imagine what society would look like if we were all emotionally intelligent?
I’m passionate about supporting children and parents in learning this language of kind, aware communication. Again, it doesn’t mean you have to be a saint. It simply means we have to become much more aware, self-responsible and present in our interactions. It takes work, I won’t lie. We’re undoing generations of poor communication based on reactions vs conscious responses. It entails how we relate to ourselves and how we can be more authentic, vulnerable and transparent. The outcome however, is hugely empowering.