How to Determine Your Current Parenting Style
Welcome to this episode of The Determined Mom Show. I am your host. I’m Amanda Tento, and I have the amazing Tanya Lopez with me. She is the owner of Full Circle Hypnotherapy and she is also a parenting coach.
Today we’re gonna talk about how to determine your current parenting style. She’s gonna walk us through some of it. Current parenting styles or the different parenting styles, and you can help to determine your own.
I’m very excited that you’re here. This is something that we haven’t touched on too much in the podcast, and I love it because of you. I think everyone has their quote-unquote parenting style that they either aspire to or that they feel that they are on good days and then on bad days, the one that they’re like, Oh no, that’s not me, is it?
Did I just do that? I love that you’re here to help us clarify this and walk through it and maybe even see how we can try to shift into whatever one that we are more called to.
Thank you. Shall I start a little bit by talking about conscious, self-conscious, and unconscious parenting? Okay basically these are just three ways of being, I’ll start by talking about unconscious parenting. I think a lot of people will have heard of conscious parenting. I’ll start by talking about unconscious parenting, which is really when we’re unaware of our past programming, our trigger.
And all the kinds of experiences that get played out in our current relationships, especially in the context of parenting. Many of our reactions are automatic or they’re set at a default position. When we are triggered, which can then impact our relationship with our children.
Now, I would say that unconscious parenting is quite a powerless state. We may feel that we don’t have a sense of internal control because we are not even aware that we’re being triggered. And we may end up blaming children for what they’re doing and how they’re being.
That’s unconscious parenting in nurture. Okay, now I’ll talk about self-conscious parenting. Now I would say that this is probably the parenting paradigm that I’ve come across the most. When I’ve been delivering my parenting program, self-conscious parenting is when we are super aware of other people’s perceived opinions or views about us.
We may feel constantly judged and feel that our parenting skills and our parenting decisions are constantly being evaluated as good. Now what can happen is that when we’re in front of other people, we might change what we normally do because we want to please others. And when we fall into that trap of pleasing other people, what happens is that we abandon ourselves.
We abandon our beliefs, our principles, and our values, and also we abandon our children’s needs because we’re trying to. Society’s expectations and other people’s expectations. Now again, I would say self-conscious parenting is quite a powerless date because we might feel like victims and we may blame other people for our behavior.
And what I would say is that for sure, when we’re out in public, we can feel judged because all eyes are sometimes on us, and this can trigger a fight, flight, and freeze reaction, and they’re so automatic and really hard to interrupt.
Now fights can look like shouting or yelling or giving bribes and threats to our children. Flight can look like, just leaving where we are, or completely avoiding somewhere freezing can look like confusion and being unsure about what to do next.
Now, it’s worth remembering that self-conscious parenting, really it’s about us being the story maker. And us being the storyteller, we’re only guessing at what other people are thinking about us. The story and the subsequent feelings are really of our making.
And that’s not to, that’s not to diminish the impact of the judgment that people do make about us. And because they do. I think that’s why I’ve come across self-conscious parenting. And I’m sure this is probably resonating with a lot of people because being judged is such a horrible position to be in.
Now the third parenting way of being is conscious parenting. Now, this is where we’re aware of our past programming. Or we’re aware that our past programming is having an impact on our relationship with children. I would say with conscious parenting, we know that there’s more going on than just our children’s behavior.
And the thing I like to stress about conscious parenting, it’s not about being perfect, it’s just about being aware of what’s not working and taking responsibility for making change. It’s not about making yourself wrong, It’s not making your child wrong, and it’s also not about blaming external factors.
Now, when we are in that state, there is the possibility of change, whereas when it comes to self-conscious parenting or unconscious parenting change can be a lot harder. Now when the possibility of change exists, it helps us to parent the child in front of us rather than the child we hoped for, or the expectations that we put on children because of our past programming.
And this is the beautiful thing about conscious parenting because we can start to change. You. Generational patterns that don’t serve future generations. They’re the three parenting ways to be in a nutshell.
I love that. I love that it’s so easily defined too. Like it’s not like you’re questioning like, Am I doing this one right now or am I doing that one right now? Like you’ve defined it okay, you’re doing this one or that one. And I wanna go back to self-conscious parenting because I’ve had. experiences, just, with moms, like other moms are very judgy, in general.
I had an experience when our middle daughter was in preschool and there were lots of other moms, they’re like, there’s a whole class full of moms. Right? There were only two women. Really when their child would act up or when their child would do whatever, like they just didn’t feel, or like when my child or anybody’s child would act up or do anything.
They didn’t judge. They didn’t have that like judges, mc, Gerson hat on, whatever you wanna call it. And those are the two women that I resonated with. And we’re still friends to this day I don’t know, six years later because. We didn’t have, we all were like, you know what kids are gonna do.
Like I can’t control them. It’s just what it is, and we were like, Neither can you. It’s that letting go of that self-conscious parenting in an open setting and also not judging others that kind of drew us together. I think it’s interesting cuz that was a. Like a bold example in my head of that, of that, ‘s how I met Kelly and Nella. I think it’s interesting.
What I would say about the three parenting ways to be is that it’s quite fluid. A lot of parents will probably recognize all three of them. There are times when I’ve been completely unconscious and I’ve parented in a way that hasn’t made me completely happy with, the actions I took, with the words I used.
And then there are other times when, like you’re saying, there is a lot of judgment of parents out there. Self-conscious parenting is probably something that everyone’s familiar with. You just have to read the papers. Anything that you read, parents get blamed for a lot. That’s
Then conscious parenting is, again, I would say lots of people probably have conscious moments, it’s almost like we have moments and they’re all fluids. Moments could be unconscious, some moments could be self-conscious and some moments will be conscious. It’s not to beat yourself up about any of them.
And it’s not to say I am just going to be a conscious parent all the time from now on. Like an easy button. I wish there was, And I think what I would say is really that conscious parenting can only really happen when we change our relationship with ourselves.
And what I talk about a lot is compassion. That to change how we are with children, we’ve gotta change some of that. We’ve gotta do some of the work on ours. How are we with ourselves? Are we compassionate, and kind, or are we judging? Judgment with ourselves? We sometimes don’t need other people to judge us. We’re sitting there judging ourselves.
I think we do that probably more than other people like you said because you don’t know what that other person is thinking, you’re like, Making an internal dialogue where there isn’t an internal dialogue for them.
They’re just like, Oh, that lady’s doing some kids. Whatever. And you’re over there thinking, Oh my God, they think I’m like the worst parent ever. And you’re like creating not only your internal dialogue but the internal dialogue for people that probably aren’t even realizing what’s going on.
Because we’re so critical of ourselves. Just to say a little bit more about conscious parenting, it’s that to be conscious and compassionate, none of us have a blueprint for it. We didn’t have role models for this way of parenting. And to just think, Oh, I’m going to become a conscious parent.
A lot of this is outside of our comfort zone. It’s outside of our known experience and knowledge. So really if you are striving to be a conscious parent, you are a trailblazer. It is. And if you think about our past programming, if we’d had compassionate and conscious parenting, how differently would we show up?
Because we would first and foremost, be kind, loving, forgiving, and gentle with ourselves. Instead, the kind of parenting that we’ve probably all experienced means that we are full of feelings of failure, guilt, and shame, which arise out of unconscious and self-conscious parenting patterns.
That’s very true, and especially, Being of that, what is it? Millennial, Gen X generation, like it’s I don’t even know, honestly, it’s a weird thing like our parents just a, let us do whatever. Like we weren’t monitored as closely as our kids are monitored. But then at the same time, They didn’t let us do everything.
I don’t know, it’s just like a weird, like there’s just, at least in my mind, like I think about my parents and my friend’s parents and that kind of thing, and it’s just there’s just like a weird don’t even know what you would call it, like a paradox or something.
I don’t know. It’s just a very odd combination of overall generational parenting, they wouldn’t let you do this, but then at the same time, you could go and do that. And it’s what? That doesn’t make any sense. Like, why would you let me do that if you, Anyway?
That’s a really good example, isn’t it, of unconscious parenting. As a child, you are so much more aware of going, That doesn’t make any sense. There are lots and lots of unconscious things going on in our past, and it then becomes really hard for us to consciously parent when we’ve never had that. I think we are at such a different time, aren’t we? We’re more conscious of everything.
And just also, another thing that I see a lot of challenges with is people being on the same page, like couples, like parents not even, I wouldn’t even say couples, but like parents or co-parents. I see a lot of conflict in that like the dad sees things one way.
The mom sees things another way. The parent is one way on the weekend, and they parent one way during the week. Like how do those kids put all that together? Like for anything, and I think especially our generation.
We grew up like that. , like most of my friend’s parents are divorced and everybody had two sets of rules for everything. Two, two sets of everything. And here we are coming into parenting ourselves or being parents ourselves and finding these challenges. Did we like dad’s rules better? Did we like mom’s rules better? What do we do? I find it very interesting.
I suppose another point to make is a lot of people say that there’s no parenting manual, which is true, but we’ve all had this parenting download from our parents. And like you’re talking about when people, parents, co-parents come together, they both had a different download.
And it’s very, very difficult for two people to have the same parenting manual in their heads because those parenting downloads we’ve had, probably contain lots of viruses. They need rebooting and cleaning. You’ve got these two downloads with lots of viruses going on, and lots of things that need clearing up.
And it’s very difficult for two people to be exactly on the same page unless they’re being conscious of their relationship. Yes, it’s about conscious parenting and then conscious parenting. Partnering as well and probably conscious parenting and conscious part partnering are two very similar things.
When you’ve got that consciousness in any relationship, It doesn’t mean it’s perfect. It means you can work through all the kinds of kinks, all the kinds of different things that are going on, you may have different ways of doing things, but you can still come together and support each other.
I agree. I think I find it in our relationship, my husband and I, are not only from completely different backgrounds but different cultures. He’s from Africa, that is a whole nother parenting style, in itself. Like just culture and just how they do things. And then I’m from here in the United States and from a conservative household, but one where my mom was like newly divorced and just wanted to do her own thing, she let me do what I wanted to do, it was like, like free range, but with limits. And it’s just a very interesting contrast.
But we, my husband and I have these very similar core values and core beliefs that we know, like this, is how we want our children to be raised. And we work hard to work together and to try to. Instill those values in them, talk to them about all of those things and all those things. We are not perfect by any means.
And I have a question about that as an example. But I think it’s really difficult to overcome some different types of being raised. But if you work hard and communicate, and if you have those same values, I think it’s possible.
I think values are the things that bring people together, it’s been clear about your values and when you are clear as a couple on your values, you’re clear as an individual on your values, then you can share them with your children.
About conscious parenting. Let’s say your kid does something and then you flip out and yell or something, but then you go back and you correct it. You explain to them why you were upset, and why what they did, wouldn’t be good for them in the long run.
Why? All of those things like. Talk about the developmental part of it and this is why you know X, Y, and Z could be better for you to do in the future. Is that still conscious parenting or is it like a combination of I was unconscious and then I switched to conscious?
That’s a good question. I suppose what I would say with conscious parenting is to bring compassion. If you have shouted at your child, it’s to, first of all, if you’re feeling bad about it. And I was going to talk a little bit about this. When it comes to feelings of guilt. What happens?
I might just talk about it now as part of this question. When we’ve shouted at our children or behaved in a way that we’re not very happy with, we then might be filled with guilt. And then what can happen is when we are feeling guilty, we can overcompensate. We might give them treats or extra time on the computer.
The one thing we want is to have a good relationship with our child. We think that’s because that’s so important and it’s an instinct to want to make sure that we’ve got a good relationship with our child, but the overcompensation can confuse the child and it can have an impact on the power dynamics of that relationship.
When you’ve, when you’ve shouted or you’ve, you’ve behaved in a certain way that doesn’t make you happy. Guilt as overcompensation doesn’t work. But when we try to repair it, that does work. That’s the key, is that guilt. We feel guilt when we’ve moved away from our values.
When we’ve shouted, we must talk to children. And we do try and repair, but we don’t put any of the blame on them. We don’t say I shouted at you because you did this. It’s, I shouted and that’s, that’s on me. And I’m for shouting. But then when it comes to addressing their behavior, it’s again, using compassion.
And saying, I can see that you were struggling with this. What can I do to help you? It’s one of the things that you’ve probably heard about its connection before correction. Because quite often what happens is that we go into correction mode very quickly, and we always want children to follow the right path or go not, this can affect your future and all of that.
Before we do any of that, we’ve gotta get that connection back. As part of the process for repairing, it’s really to build on that connection. And I’m here, for things like, I’m here for you. I want to help you with this, and I can see that you’re struggling with this particular whatever it is, whatever the context is.
That way you’re doing the connection and then naturally you can help guide them a little bit better. The correction doesn’t have to be telling them what they should be doing. It’s really about guiding them and encouraging them to come up with some of their solutions; they’re not always reliant on you to tell them what they should be doing.
Because when we correct children a lot, We’re always telling them this is the right way. This is how you should do things. Connection and then you be the compassionate guide for them to conclude what would be good for them for the future, or even for the, even for the now, really just.
Shall I talk a little bit about, whenever I talk about conscious, self-conscious parenting, the emotions that come up are feelings of failure, guilt, and shame? Shall I talk a little bit about those emotions?
Yes, that would be great because I. Anytime anybody asks me like, what the hardest thing that I’ve ever done is parenting. It’s always parenting. It will always be parenting. Enmeshment of so many things, isn’t it? Parenting? It is. And if you have more than one child, every single child is different.
They react differently to different things, to each other, too, it’s just crazy. It’s just like a boiling pot of I don’t know. Grease that’s like constantly flying out, like and you’re like trying to figure out what temperature I keep it so that way everything gets done nicely, and like nobody gets burned.
That’s a really good description, I think what I’ll do is I’ll talk a little bit more about guilt as well, but I’ll talk about failure first. And I think when I’ve been delivering parenting programs, I’ve heard parents talk about, I feel like a failure. I feel like I’m failing so often.
And why does it feel so bad when we think we failed? And usually, it’s because it reminds us of. Past hurt or an experience when we were made to feel that we weren’t good enough or we weren’t enough. And this was something that can solidify in us.
And then every time we have a new failure, that feeling gets reignited. One of the things I say to parents is that again, it’s to bring compassion into all of these feelings that we have. When they’re talking about failure, if you think about when we were toddlers and we were learning to walk, we fell over hundreds of times.
We just got back up and started to walk. I always said, at what point did it become not okay to fall or to fail? Because when we were little, it was okay to keep failing, but obviously at some point, we’ve learned that failing is not okay. I tend to ask a few questions of parents. When they feel like they’re failing or they’re a failure, it’s to ask questions such as, is it okay to fail?
If not, why not? And what is it about failing that’s wrong? Does it say something about you? Does it say something personal about you? And when we think back to the point at which it became not okay to fail, that’s probably the point at which we stopped learning to our full capacity where we stopped experimenting because we became afraid to fail.
And we started to associate failing with something concrete about us. Instead, I’m struggling with this because it’s new or it’s a difficult skill to master, and it’s a process of learning, we draw a conclusion. I am a failure.
And what is the average age that you’ve found that this happens for parents? I’m thinking of elementary school. I don’t know cuz like that’s when you learn like you get a good grade or a bad grade or you get a positive point or a negative point or like to me that’s like the natural point, but I’m thinking like, wow, that’s early in development.
I think it does happen very early in development because when you think about it, very young children are not scared to try so many different things and then. They become afraid, they don’t want to try things. They’re afraid of not being good enough. And you, that whole testing thing impacts them. I would say it probably starts happening from quite a young age.
I’m thinking like second or third grade probably. I feel like second graders are still that adventurous kind,
Sadly, it does happen at such a young age. Rather than, what I encourage parents to do when I’m working with them. Rather than making these really broad generalizations about themselves, is, again, this is something that I do encourage people to do, is to get curious before making conclusions.
Again, asking smart questions. For example, every time you’ve experienced failing, it’s to ask, what did I. What did I learn about myself? What can I do differently next time? Can I take a different step? Can I take a smaller step? Can I take a step in a different direction? And especially when it comes to parenting, it’s to ask questions like, Can I ask for help?
Do I have to do this on my own? Because, when it comes to parenting, no one is meant to be doing this on their own. And when we are in the questioning mode, in curiosity mode, even if we don’t know the answers will come. The more curious we get, the more the answers come.
The more we open ourselves up to new possibilities, new perspectives, and new insights, when we only conclude ourselves, like I’m a failure, we are closed off to new learning and getting new insights. And then the other thing that I do say to parents is that whenever we fail, That’s just a reminder that we’re moving out of our comfort zone.
Whenever we move out of our comfort zone, we are not gonna be as competent or as capable, and it’s only at the point of failure that actual real learning can start. Now a lot of people see learning as failing. But I failed and was upset that actually failure is the launchpad of new growth, awakening, and new learning.
I always encourage people to embrace failure as a starting point rather than a full stop. I thought we would talk about shame next. These are the emotions that come up a lot when I’m working with parents. Shame is personal. It’s about giving ourselves a label. I’m a bad parent or I’m a bad person. And again, this was probably rooted in our childhood. Maybe we did something and we were ashamed.
And the way to deal with shame is to take, to create a compassionate observer who views you without any judgment. I always say that it’s, rather than suppressing emotions or dismissing them, it’s really about being with our emotions, but taking a compassionate, objective observer position where you’re just with those emotions and this observer is just, has a kind, loving presence and in their eyes, They will never abandon you.
There’s nothing that you can do where they would withdraw their love. And when it comes to guilt and shame, this process can help to repent. And that is the process that I would also recommend for guilt to almost imagine that you’re being re-parented. By this observer.
And the observer could be a character from a book or a film, or it could even be a creature, but somebody who would never, ever think badly of you. Somebody who’s just full of love and it’s allowing that love to travel to the parts where you’re feeling the shame, where you’re feeling the guilt. And it’s the process of reparenting yourself. And that’s when you reparent yourself. That’s when you can become more conscious.
I love that. It makes so much sense because you’re reprogramming yourself from like your inner thoughts out, right?
And so many parents say to me, Tanya, I know better, but I can’t seem to do better. I always say it’s not about knowledge. It’s only when we feel better. That we can do better. And the only way to feel better is to be kinder and more loving and more compassionate with ourselves. And when we can feel good, we will, we can do better. And again, it’s not about being perfect
Not in every sense. And because life will throw things at us all the time. And it’s kinda our darkest, worst. Can we still be loving toward, ourselves? Because when we can also offer that to children in their darkest, hardest moments.
That’s awesome. I love it. How can people connect with you? I know that you have an empowered parenting program that you offer. Tell us a little bit about that and how people can find you.
I have my website, which is for psycho-hypnotherapy. The Empowered Parenting Program is a four-week one-to-one program. It’s four weekly sessions. And I use a combination of coaching and hypnotherapy because I feel that hypnotherapy is a great way to start reparenting ourselves.
That’s the program that I’m offering. I do have a link that I can send to you, if people want to book a 30-minute session with me, we can see if this program is a good match for both of us.
That sounds great. Thank you so much, Tanya, for being here. Truly appreciate you and all of your insight into parenting and the different parenting styles and how we become, I guess what you would call the parent that we want to be, right? Awesome. Thank you.
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