Parents may often forget that their children are just that: their children. Let me rephrase that with examples. If you want your child to maintain a healthy weight, you need to mirror & guide them with healthy habits. If you want your child to respect their elders and authority, you need to do the same (e.g., at work, with your extended family, etc). If you smoke cigarettes and later catch your teenager smoking, well there is no surprise there.
Children need parents because they must raise and guide them while they are young, to set them up for adulthood. And each parent brings something else to the table, which is why children need both parents.
"Do as I say, not as I do" is not the most practical quote to apply to parenting. Children adopt what they see their parents say AND do. Actions speak louder than words, and what contributes to certain actions? A certain mindset and outlook! Not just telling kids something. If you are a parent and your child is cutoff from their other parent, and you keep claiming to encourage the relationship, ask yourself what you are acting on and mirroring to them about their other parent, even what your perceptions are about the other parent, because your actions may be contradicting to the words of encouragement.
On the other hand, if your co-parent is the one not helping foster & support the relationship between you and your child, and your relationship is not what it once was or could be, ask yourself in what ways can you mirror consciousness in your children, to prevent their other parent's behaviors, narrative, claims, etc from taking hold. Did they ask you a tough question or accuse you of something? Don't immediately respond on the defense, act out in a triggered, angry mindset - ask critical thinking questions, and have a conscious, healthy dialogue. Are they acting out in disrespectful/outlandish ways? Don't meet them in those same ways nor mirror the intensity. This only continues the cycle. Break.the.cycle.
Now, doing 'all the right things' is impossible. Even when you think you've mastered the art of parenting, you raise 'good kids' (all kids are good kids... more on that in another blog), and feel confident you have set them up for a good future, BAM- life may throw some obstacles at them. Parenting is not about preventing all obstacles from our children by raising them in a bubble. As tempting as it sounds, and as much as we want to protect our babies (even our adult ones) from everything life has to offer, well- I hate to break it to you, but that is simply not possible. Life will come at them in one way, shape, or form and in fact, it may actually be harming them to raise them in a bubble.
It is up to parents to provide their children (raise their children) with the proper guidance, skills, tools, and mindset on how to overcome these obstacles that will inevitably come their way throughout life. If there is something that your children are mirroring from you that you are concerned about, the good news is you can shift that! The 'bad' news is it will require you, as the parent, to do some minor (or sometimes major..) shifting. Check out our blog post on trauma. Feel like your child is yelling back at you when you scream to do the dishes for what feels like the 100th time? Start asking yourself why, how, and when you scream/yell. Dig deeper. and deeper. and get to a place of learning how to have more conscious communication with your children, yes even when they don't listen. In time your children will mirror how you communicate with them. Just like you may mirror each other's anger or yelling, you can mirror consciousness.
Now, for parents who are cutoff from their children, you may be asking yourselves, how do I do this if I do not have a relationship with my child?
I am here to tell you it is easier than you think (but that doesn't mean it is easy!)
Similar to the examples above, if you contribute or react to the 'alienating/rejecting' behaviors in your child, does this solve the problem? Are there modes of communication to your child, any and all, where you can exhibit conscious, unconditionally loving communication? Keep digging, and ask yourself where and when can you show up for the better, the more positive & conscious, and do that. Keep doing it. Remember, there is no magic pill to anything in life. If your child has years in the making of whatever they are acting out on, then it won't get fixed overnight. You have to change the way you think, so they change the way they think. You have to change the ways you react to their behaviors, so they change the way they behave towards you, which is just their reaction to the conflict in the family.
The family unit is a circle. Which direction will you keep going in?
*for more in-depth guidance and support on how to be more conscious for your child, be sure to check out our Conscious Co-Parenting Course -- or individualized coaching for more personal guidance.