Parenting tips from the professionals: The Intuitive Parent
Parent Coach and Author of Intuitive Parenting Jennifer Day explains how you can learn to trust your intuition and listen to your 'inner voice'.
Parent intuition, both as a concept and an innate ability, has for some time been undermined if not usurped by the thousands of parenting books and ‘experts’ flooding the market with their blogs, podcasts, and social-media forums. All well-intentioned of course, but raising a child ‘by the book’ or by following the directives of a shedload of ‘experts’ (including me!) is like trying to live a healthy life by following diet trends; meat, wine, coffee, and chocolate have all intermittently been bad and then good and then bad for us. The intention may be good, but ultimately making any significant choices in life by following fads will likely have consequences that are not right for us. So why do we do it? Why do we pay attention to all those voices? The simple answer is ‘TMI overwhelm - and of course stress.’ The simple solution is getting out of all the stress and back in touch with our intuition.
Tuning into our intuitive wisdom and paying attention to that inner ‘voice’, and what feels right, is not something that is encouraged by our society or indeed deemed compatible with our need for evidence-based information. Combine this with other factors (such as the loss of the ‘village’ – i.e. less and less of us have extended family support nearby), and we lose confidence in our own innate ‘knowing’, relying instead on Google and other external sources, which only increase our anxiety and lack of self-confidence. It can be a wicked cycle, but also one that can be interrupted.
Key is self-awareness. There are a few other simple, effective steps you can take to access your intuitive know-how.
Identify times during the day when you are ‘en-route’ between activities: For example, in the car at traffic lights, on public transport, on an escalator, walking to a meeting, etc. At that moment, take your attention into your body and ask yourself how you’re feeling? If you find any tension, exhale and consciously let it go.
Consciously tune in to yourself every morning, as soon as you wake up. Take a few slow, deep breaths and recall the love and appreciation you have for your child – allowing yourself to feel it, in your chest and body.
Throughout your day, reconnect with that morning appreciation feeling. It will help you connect to yourself and your centre.
Screens are insidious interrupters of intuition and connection with your child. Eliminate screens and devices from times when you’re interacting –at mealtimes especially, but also when you’re playing or reading to her, when picking him up from child-care or school, etc. Give her your full presence and attention, eye to eye.
When you need to make a parenting choice or decision, check in with yourself: what are you feeling? Imagine one choice: does it feel right? Do you have any tension in your body? Imagine the other choice: how does that feel? In your body? Listen to your internal voice and to your body. The more you do this and then act on your insight, the more often you’ll see evidence that your intuition was right and the more confident you will become in it.
Through close to three decades of working with parents and children around the world, as well as through my own parenting experience, I have found unequivocally that the more you as a parent learn to listen to and apply your own intuition to your parenting, the better it is for your child, for you and for your relationship.
Jennifer Day is a London-based Executive and Parent Coach. She is the author of 8 books, translated into more than ten languages and specialises in emotionally intelligent leadership and parenting. Her latest book Intuitive Parenting is published by Little,Brown (2019).
Released On 11th Oct 2019