Choosing your parenting style is the most important decision you have to make when deciding how to raise your child. 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. Given the vast importance of parenting style on raising children, 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 required to derive 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 learn to receive the wisdom of our children in a transformative way as we help them acquire knowledge. Transformative Parenting® can also be understood as a science, which uses psychological understanding to derive its parenting techniques. That approaching parenting as a spiritual path, and approaching parenting as a psychological science both lead to the same parenting techniques leads me to hypothesize that Transformative Parenting® may be an optimal approach.
Raising children is the most important task we will ever undertake. Yet it is usually approached haphazardly.
If we approach raising children with no clear method, or even clear goals to guide us in any given situation, we find ourselves relying mostly on memories and impressions from our childhood, searching for similar situations and copying our parent’s approach and how we were raised.
Unconsciously, we emulate our neighbors parenting style, and to a surprising degree, are directed by messaging from television, radio, the internet, and other mass media.
We may ask advice of family and friends. Occasionally we look to authority figures such as doctors, nurses, even “parenting coaches”.
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 an opportunity for emotional and spiritual growth in their parent.
This is because the world changes! However, the normal idea of parenting is to teach your child based on what you or others around you believe to be “true”, which ignores the fact that what we “know” and believe is mostly based on the past; either our own or others’, or on what we have been told, and may very well not be true or useful in today’s reality.
By forcing your child to mistakenly accept as “truth” what is not, you shape them into a worldview 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 you) now live.
What I have discovered, and want to show you, 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.
What exactly is this method? One core technique of Transformative Parenting® can be paraphrased simply: As much as possible, let your child take the lead. By establishing a strong empathic connection with your child, and then letting them take the lead as you both explore the world together, a magical process takes place which leads to a positive transformation in your life, and the development of empathic empowerment in each of you.
I hope to show you the details of why this works, how to go about it, and other benefits that accrue from following this parenting style.
As practitioners of Transformative Parenting®, we are in the happy position of having clearly defined goals for our child and ourselves. This helps us focus on what’s most important when raising our child. 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 show these things more clearly, as well as how practicing this approach can teach us about ourselves and bring to light the false beliefs I mentioned. I also explain how Transformative Parenting® differs from “spoiling” your child, and does not lead to narcissism or 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 which derives the techniques of Transformative Parenting® sheds important light on the general process of our entrapment in false conditioning, on the process of enlightenment, 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, or 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 assuring that he or she is not subjected to the same limiting or incorrect programming.
A full understanding of Transformative Parenting® will be very helpful for at least three groups of people:
- The earnest parent, whose focus is to assure the optimal outcome for their child.
- The spiritual seeker or mystic, who would like a better understanding of spiritual practice in general, and how it leads to personal transformation and higher consciousness.
- The psychotherapist or psychologist, looking for a fresh synthesis of psychological knowledge to help them better understand themselves and their patients.
Parenting, or child rearing, is the most important task any of us will ever undertake in terms of our ultimate impact on the future. However, parenting 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 it is understood, Transformative Parenting® is simple, but it is 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.
However, 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.
In my book, Transformative Parenting: The Empathic, Empowering Approach to Optimal Parenting and Personal Growth, I lay out a simple, self-evident model of the mind I call Objectification, which explains simply and clearly how your mind and everyone else’s mind works, so you can see this for yourself.
Thus, whether you are expecting to be a parent in the near future, the distant future, or not at all, you will find there a path to greater awareness.
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 Transformative Parenting® elucidates in depth; but even so, understanding the issues as explained in the book, provides a starting point, and some hints, to begin discovering your own Way.
Transformative Parenting® focuses mostly on the first years of life, both from the view of a parent, and a child – 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. On the other hand, 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, Transformative Parenting® would not have been discovered.
I want to share those discoveries with you. I offer my book, a parenting magazine, a newsletter, the ability to interact with me here and on social media, and the opportunity to engage with me in lectures and workshops both online and in person. Take advantage, please! Then put your understanding into practice, and pass the knowledge along. Send me your ideas for improvement, and consider a donation of money, skill, or time to the Institute for Transformative Parenting.
I wish you and your child every blessing! May your experience together be both joyous and enlightening!