1. How do you stay connected with your children when you are a busy working mum yourself?
I practice Prana Power Yoga every morning, which lays the foundation for my day and grounds me and calms me and focuses me and reminds me what is important. When I practice I remember who I am and why I am on the planet. When I am in alignment and connected with myself, I can most easily, joyfully and effectively connect with others, especially my five children. By practicing every morning I have the patience, love, and positive energy to be Super–mom to my five kids. I walk with integrity and grace–I walk my talk, and am the person I would like my children to emulate.
Practicing “yoga” is one of the three principles I teach in my book, “Create the Best Life Ever: Real-life Stories to Get Inspired” (available at Amazon.com). I put quotation marks around “yoga,” because you don’t have to practice asana – yoga poses – your “yoga” could be gardening, running, baking, walking in nature, taking a bath, reading, etc. Whatever it is that you do that makes you feel calm, focused, grounded, and in alignment with your higher self. It is important to do this every single day, even if it’s for five minutes. I am very disciplined about practicing every morning and this helps tremendously in my connection with my five childre–and the world.
I am also mindful to never use the four letter “B word.” (Busy). Instead, I use the word “abundant.” I believe that my words, thoughts, emotions, and energy create my reality, utilizing the law of attraction. And so I teach, through my book and my inspiration card deck (also called “Create The Best Life Ever” and also available at Amazon.com) , to use “Deliberate Creation” to create your reality. This means, among other things, being mindful of the words you use day in and day out. Using the word “busy” implies a lack of time and an abundance of stress. In fact, many people in our culture equate being “busy” and stressed with “success.” I believe the opposite.
I create and produce an enormous amount every day utilizing ease, joy, love, good energy, excitement, anticipation, hope, and focus. All masters in any field utilized these principles and the law of attraction (Einstein, Edison, and Jordan are just three of multiple examples).
This may seem off from the question you originally asked about communicating with my children, but it couldn’t be more on target. Most people are so stressed and feeling a “lack of time,” and “busy,” that they can’t connect with their children – or others – in a meaningful way. They are totally disconnected from themselves and therefore from others, including and especially, their children. When I am with my children I am 100% with them energetically and emotionally. This doesn’t mean that a lot of things are not going on concurrently. I have five children, five yoga studios, a best-selling book and inspiration card deck, three blogs, and a 100 venue worldwide book tour. So yes, other information and energy is most likely being thrown my way while I’m with my brood, but I am like a Jedi master of focus. It is all about the power of the focus of your mind. I teach people in my book and Inspiration Card Deck and yoga classes how to be in Jedi training in this way. Every moment of your life is training and people–not only our children–are watching. We are all teachers and we are all responsible for spreading light and good energy. I teach this to my children all day every day with my words, feelings, and actions. “My life is my message.” (Gandhi)
I also spend a tremendous amount of time with my children. I am there for them when they wake up and throughout the morning, at pick up from school, after school, at night time, and on weekends and vacations. This doesn’t mean that to communicate with your children well you need to be with them all the time. I am well aware that I am extremely blessed to have created a lifestyle and “career” that enables me to be there for and with my children all the time. I write and run our five yoga studios from our home and therefore have a tremendous amount of flexibility. This is awesome in some ways and challenging in other ways. For example, if I worked in an office all day I would have much more quiet and privacy and actually be able to close my office door and have a cup of coffee and work without disruption and/or distraction. Ha, what a concept! So this is where the power of the focus of my mind comes in, and my yoga practice.
For those who are in an office day to day, no worries! Your communication with your children comes from your heart and your heart is open to connect with them at any time, whether they are in the room or not. I teach people to connect with their children when they are not together, by visualizing them surrounded with love and light and in the way that they hope and dream they will be in this world. This means ignoring the stuff that doesn’t fit in with this picture, which takes tremendous discipline and focus–especially when parenting a teenager (think Jedi training and mastery–very Star Wars).
We homeschooled our children for two years and ultimately decided that it was more in balance for them and their friends and us as a family for them to go to school. No matter what I did I could not replicate the classroom with 20 other children and a teacher who was doing her/his dharma. When I drop my children at school I say to them as I hug them goodbye, ”Even when we’re apart I’m in your heart.”
2. What is the best way to communicate with children?
In my humble opinion, the best way to communicate with children is from your heart. From an open heart. Children and animals can sense this. They can sense when you’re openhearted and open-minded. And they flock to you like bees to honey.
Once one of my readers (a “hater”) on my Best Life Ever blog said that I was developmentally like an adolescent. I laughed when I read the comment and said, “Actually, I’m more developmentally like a five-year-old.” I mean this in the most positive way, in that I have a happy and lighthearted spirit-the spirit of a child, so I can connect easily with children and I speak to them right where they are–at their level.
For those parents who feel that they are stressed out and serious, again, no worries! It’s never too late to begin again and your fresh start can begin right now. Just by setting the intention to connect with your children where they are, the Universe is already creating this reality for you. Then read my book and inspiration card deck to understand specifically how to do this. I given day to day real-life examples–85 of them–real-life tools for how to create your Best Life Ever, including communicating well with others, especially your children.
3. Are there things in particular that can ‘damage’ the child?
Hey, I’m all about creating your BEST LIFE EVER, but I’m not all about denial, so let’s just call a spade a spade–trauma abounds. I’m trained as a clinical Psychologist and worked with trauma populations for years and I personally survived a traumatic childhood. I was fortunate to be quite resilient because I learned very early on that what I focused on grew (Deliberate Creation–one of my three principles in my book and deck). So I learned to focus on that one thing that was good. In any situation, you can find at least one thing that is light-filled. No matter what was going on, I focused on that one thing. And the Universe brought me more of that–because of the law of attraction. It is law.
There are the obvious things that are harmful to children, and we want to avoid those things; however, my message in my blog Super-mom.com and my blog BEST LIFE EVER (on Bostonherald.com) is NOT that to be a Super-mom you need to be perfect, but that to be a Super-mom, you need to do your best with breath, and begin again–again and again. We are all learning and doing the best that we can in each moment, and it’s never too late to begin again. It’s incredibly powerful to say to a child after you’ve made a mistake, “I’m sorry. I made a mistake. Can we begin again?” If I had a nickel for every time I’ve said this to my kiddos…. And as a result, my kids say it also, remember they always be watching and learning and imitating, Super-parents. I hear them imitating me, and my heart melts, “Montana, I’m sorry, I made a mistake. Can we begin again?” O. M. G.–adorable.
I teach parents to be gentle with themselves and give their child as much love, good energy, patience, and understanding as possible. And the rest will fall into place as it should.
Side note: no child or person is ever “damaged.” Words are powerful forces and so I teach to choose wisely when utilizing them. “Damaged” implies “not fixable” or somehow “less than.” While trauma is not something any of us want for children–or anyone–I am not “damaged” because I lived a life of trauma until I left for college. To the contrary, my early contrast taught me the ability to focus intensely on that which I DO want. It was my Jedi training, so to speak – love the Star Wars reference.
So damaged? No. Children who experience trauma are receiving early life training in deliberate creation and the law of attraction – training that I hope that no child has to go through, because it sucks, And children should be given their birthright – a childhood full of love, joy, connection, and wonder. But if they aren’t, they are not damaged.
4. How do we stay connected to our children despite what may be happening ie, disrespectful behaviour?
Setting boundaries and rules is not to be confused with being disconnected. In fact, I believe that doing so indicates incredible connection. Children–especially teenagers and toddlers (and I have ‘em both right now)–are begging for boundaries and limits. If you don’t give these to them, disconnection will result–often in the form of disrespect. And what else were you expecting?
I explain to my teenager and twin toddlers when I’m making a boundary and/or a limit that it would be a lot easier for me to just say yes all the time. That it takes energy, love, discipline, and focus to set boundaries and limits, and to not do so is “lazy parenting.” I explain to them that if I were implementing lazy parenting, it would not bode well for them in the short and long-term, and for our relationship. Because I am consistent in these practices, they understand this well. This doesn’t mean that we don’t have our moments. But as I explained above, we have practiced and therefore implement consistently the amazing tool of beginning again.
5. Anything else you might like to add?
I believe that humor is essential in parenting–and life in general. Laughter and joy are very high vibrations, as are gratitude and forgiveness and love. I utilize these moment to moment as I walk my path with my five children. And my daily yoga practice reminds me to utilize these everyday.
Although my best-selling book and Inspiration Card Deck, “Create the Best Life Ever: Real Life Stories to Get Inspired” (available at Amazon.com) are not specifically and only for parents, they are amazing tools on the parenting journey and help tremendously with communication with your children, and all those in your life.
Have the best day ever!
Taylor plus 5
Order my book, card deck, and DVD now at Pranapoweryoga.com.