Raising children is the most important task we will ever undertake. Yet it is usually approached haphazardly. From the very beginning, a parent’s actions have a huge impact on the emotional well-being of their children, and lay the foundations for their long-term emotional well-being. I hope you will give the following your careful consideration, and adopt Transformative Parenting® as your approach.
The following is only an introduction, for a much more in-depth discussion, and a summary of the psychological understandings underlying the techniques of Transformative Parenting®, please consider reading my book.
Transformative Parenting® is a rich and deep subject that can be understood as a spiritual path, where we receive wisdom from our children in a transformative way. Transformative Parenting® can also be understood as a science; using psychological first principles to derive optimal parenting techniques.
Because the study of parenting as a spiritual path and as a psychological science both led me to the same techniques, I believe my Transformative Parenting® approach is special, and uniquely valid.
Most of us approach raising children with no clear method, or even clear goals to guide us.
We might find ourselves relying mostly on memories and impressions from our childhood, copying our parent’s approach and how we were raised.
We might emulate our neighbors’ parenting styles, or, to a surprising degree, be directed by messaging from television, radio, the internet, and other mass media.
We may ask advice of family and friends. We may look to authority figures such as doctors, nurses, early childhood educators, family therapists, or child psychiatrists. Sometimes we have to deal with conflicting opinions.
If we have a goal, it is usually a vague one, such as to teach our child “to be good”, or “what’s best”, or “what I know”, or “not to make the mistakes I made”. This is completely normal, but leads to sub-optimal and sometimes just plain poor emotional, intellectual, and physical development in a child, and the waste of a profound opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth.
Why? Because teaching your child solely what you or others around you believe to be true ignores the fact that much of what we know and believe is based on our unique past experience, or on what we have been told, and may very well not be true or useful in today’s reality. The world changes!
By forcing your child to mistakenly accept as “truth” what is not, you shape them into a world view that may or may not have been appropriate or adaptive for some past set of circumstances, but is almost certainly not optimal for the present in which they (and now you) live.
What I have discovered is an alternative: A parenting style that fosters children’s adaptiveness, empathy, curiosity, and self-esteem, and avoids teaching incorrect beliefs that may later hinder their success and enjoyment of life. Simultaneously, this method will enhance your ability to emphatically connect with your child and others, and help you uncover and discard unconscious beliefs that are no longer helpful or appropriate for your current circumstances.
The elimination of false beliefs that hold you back from greater fulfillment, success, and happiness, leads to empowerment; and the ability to make positive changes in your life in multiple areas.
There are many understandings, techniques and practices in Transformative Parenting®, but a core philosophy is this: As much as possible, let your child lead. By establishing a strong empathic connection with your child, and letting them guide you as you explore the world together, a magical process takes place that leads to positive transformation in your life, and an empathic empowerment of you both!
As practitioners of Transformative Parenting®, we are fortunate to have clearly defined goals for our child and ourselves. This helps us focus on what’s most important: For our child, the goal is to raise a happy, empathic, self-confident adult. For us, it is to build our capacity for empathic understanding and communication (first with our child, then with others), and to uncover and rectify false, often limiting assumptions about the world and ourselves.
By letting your child take the lead, you encourage happiness and self-confidence in your child and yourself. By modeling empathy, you teach empathy to your child, and become more empathic. In my book, I explain these things clearly, and show how practicing this approach can teach us about ourselves and bring to light the false beliefs I mentioned. I also explain why Transformative Parenting® does not “spoil” your child, and to the contrary leads away from narcissism and social dysfunction.
Transformative Parenting® is about freedom, awareness, and empowerment; how to obtain them for yourself, and preserve and secure them in your child.
While most directly addressing the needs of children, parents, and prospective parents, this knowledge is of great importance even if you are not a parent. Why? Because the analysis underlying Transformative Parenting® sheds important light on our entrapment in false conditioning, and how we can escape from that false conditioning.
Over the course of our lives, and especially as we are growing up, we are all conditioned (trained, taught, programmed) by our experiences. Because of this conditioning, and because of how the mind works, we see the world only partially, necessarily incorrectly. We therefore interact with the world in overly restricted, often incorrect ways.
In Transformative Parenting® we enlist the aid of our child to identify and remove these learned impediments, while at the same time ensuring our child is not affected by them.
An understanding of Transformative Parenting® is helpful for:
- The earnest parent, whose priority is to ensure the optimal outcome for their child.
- The spiritual seeker or mystic, who would like a better understanding of personal transformation, and the path to higher consciousness and awareness.
- The psychotherapist or psychologist, looking for a fresh synthesis of psychological knowledge to help better understand their patients.
Parenting is likely the most important task any of us will ever undertake, in terms of our ultimate impact on the world of the future. However, it has been devalued, to the point that most people approach it as an afterthought to their career, spouse, or their own pleasure. Some believe it is possible for a parent to prioritize their own wants and needs, minimize or disregard their child’s wants and needs, and still expect them to grow into a healthy, self-confident, compassionate adult. In general, unless you are lucky and have lots of good help, I think this perception is false. It is also a waste of an unparalleled opportunity for spiritual growth.
Once understood, Transformative Parenting® is simple, but not easy. It requires a primary commitment to your child, which leads in a synergistic way to your own self-growth.
Transformative Parenting® is about raising children and being a child, and finally about a way of being in the world which combines the knowledge of adulthood with the joy and wisdom of childhood. It outlines a path to that way of being for both the child and the parent.
It is also about the implications of being human. Once you are able to observe your mind with some dispassion, it becomes clear that most of the traps we have fallen into as individuals, in relationships, in groups, and as a species, are logical consequences of how our minds operate. After reading my book: Transformative Parenting: The Empathic, Empowering Approach to Optimal Parenting and Personal Growth you will see this for yourself.
If you are not planning to be a parent in the near future, your process in learning to overcome your conditioning will be somewhat different from the Parent’s Path, which the book elucidates in depth; but nonetheless the book provides a starting point, and an understanding, to discover your own Way.
Transformative Parenting® focuses mostly on the first years of life because this is the time of greatest opportunity. However, the methodology can be extended to later years, and even to other relationships.
Transformative Parenting® shows us why we should perceive and value children as teachers as well as learners. It also teaches the development of skills that enhance its practice and our lives in general, such as internal self-awareness and control, and empathic attunement with others.
Awareness of how our mind works allows us to take steps to counter the confusion and mistakes that come about when we operate from our usual place of non-awareness. It helps us to be more compassionate, aware, and understanding parents and human beings. At the same time, we become less susceptible to manipulation by others.
Transformative Parenting® weaves threads of knowledge drawn from my experience in areas such as parenting, medicine, spirituality, psychology, and martial arts. Without those experiences, I may not have discovered it.
I offer you my book, this website, a newsletter, the ability to interact with me here, and the opportunity to engage with me in lectures and workshops both online and in person. Take advantage, please! Put your understanding into practice, and pass the knowledge along. Send me your ideas for improvement, and consider a donation of skill, time, or money to the Institute for Transformative Parenting.
I wish you and your child every blessing! May your experience together be both joyous and enlightening!