The Prepared Adult – How to become a conscious parent

During the whole month of August, I'm chatting about the "Prepared adult" with some other accounts on Instagram. Follow me there to join the conversation!

So what is the Prepared adult?

Maria Montessori stressed out that the teacher needed to be more than someone who would pass on her knowledge. She encouraged her teachers-in-training to recognize their own personal limitations and to acknowledge any preconceived ideas about children

For Maria Montessori, the teacher was a servant to the child. She was available to guide the child but had to leave her personal motives out of the equation.

She had to observe the child to make sure he had what he needed. She had to be discreet to allow the child to learn and explore by himself.

She had to do an inner work to be able to welcome the child as he is today and to also be able to see what the child will become. 

An ordinary teacher cannot be transformed into a Montessori teacher, but must be created anew, having rid herself of pedagogical prejudices. The first step is self-preparation of the imagination, for the Montessori teacher has to visualise a child who is not yet there, materially speaking, and must have faith in the child who will reveal himself through work. The different types of deviated children do not shake the faith of this teacher, who sees a different type of child in the spiritual field, and looks confidently for this self to show when attracted by work that interests. She waits for the children to show signs of concentration." (Dr. Maria Montessori, 'Education for a New World', Clio Press Ltd, 67)

We say that the Montessori teacher goes through a spiritual preparation.

The real preparation for education is a study of one's self. 
The training of the teacher who is to help life is something
far more than the learning of ideas. It includes the training
of character, it is a preparation of the spirit."

—Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

And it' s no different for the parent. 

What is the role of the parent in the life of their children? ⁠
Parents have a very important mission.

We raise children who will be the adults of tomorrow. It is not a small task!⁠

This quote is from the "Secret of childhood", from the last chapter titled "The Mission of Parents". Montessori was keen to talk to parents. ⁠

This quote is very wordy but I like that it reminds us to reflect on how we parent, on what we project onto our children and remind us to let go of our "ego" and not to be "reluctant" to work our ourselves. ⁠

This is Conscious Parenting 100 years before Dr Shefali!

Dr Shefali, the author of "Conscious parenting" and the "Awakenen family" is considered as the expert into bringing parents to a more conscious level in order to see their children for who they are. I agree with her approach but I cannot stop thinking that Montessori said it all in her own way.

Once you have children, you go through a profound transformation.

Raising children is more about raising ourselves!

Most of the time, no matter the parenting approach, most parents will start with a focus on the child: switching to Montessori and wooden toys, how to make my child more independent, how to encourage my child to tidy up his toys, how-to guide/control/change my child's behaviour...

Maybe, you may focus on others: how can I make my partner understand how to be a gentle parent? How can I make my parents get on with my Montessori ideas? How can I help my friend at playgroup to stop the naughty step?

Ultimately, the only thing we can really change or control is ourselves. It's often the last thing we want to work on as it's the most "challenging.But becoming more aware, more conscious and controlling your own behaviour and thoughts is the most the most powerful tool you have.

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You are your child's role model.

To this day, I still have to catch myself mid-sentence when I go on auto-pilot parenting.

I stop my actions, I role model.

I question why I cannot respond with calm, why I have reacted that way, why I am annoyed at my child's behaviour.

The answer is always about "me": I am stressed, I am dealing with a "trauma" related issue, I am on my periods, I need some me time...

And I know that if I stop and analyse my own "issues", I will feel the strength to react the best way I can.

I will also find a way to take those 5 minutes for myself, find a way to meditate, making sure I have my own support and so on.

This is me, constantly "preparing myself" while parenting, this is me being "a bit more conscious and awake", this is me letting go of my ego to really see my children for who they are: "tiny humans who are still learning and need role-model and patient parents".

We discuss this in-depth in my Discipline course as working on yourself as a parent is the most important part of the job! 

My Gentle and Montessori Discipline Course starts on the 24th of February

Get access to the course and join our tribe of like-minded, non-judgmental parents. 

How do you become a conscious parent?

- recognize when you are on auto-pilot: your reaction is out of proportion, you feel that you react like your mother/father/teacher.

- take 5 deep breaths, move away, stop and wait before you react and possibly ask your co-parent to step in. 

- while the issue has passed, analyse calmly what had happened: be curious about why but don't judge yourself as it will prevent you to identify the roots of the issue.

- Autopilot parenting has nearly always something to do with how we were raised. It is hard to reject how our parents raised us. You can decide not to reproduce the mistakes of your parents without rejecting the love of your parents. Remember that your parents did the best they could with what they knew at the time. A quick look at the history of childhood will make you indulgent towards your parents. There are great chances than they did much better than their own grand-parents and than most of our ancestors. It was not funny to be a child until the 20th century (that century was called the century of the child by the way).

- Work on yourself to be able to react in a better way next time. That inner work can take so many forms and will be a personal journey but there is no shame to need therapy or external support. You and your children deserve it.

- Empower yourself with knowledge. The more you know about child's development, the more you know abot why mainstream Discipline methods might not be the best for your child, the more you will be able to parent otherwise, with respect and without the need for punishment.

- Take care of yourself: self-care is not selfish and that can be done even when your children are little! 

I hope that will help you already!

I have also share more about those automatic replies/autopilot parenting in this video.

About the Author Carine Robin

Carine Robin is a a mother of 2 children. She raises them the Montessori way. Originally from Belgium where she worked as a child psychologist for several years, Carine spent 6 years in Ireland before settling in in the UK. She qualified as a Montessori teacher 10 years ago and has since worked as Montessori teacher and preschool manager. She founded Montessori-family in 2011 to provide opportunities for parents to discover Montessori. She believes that it’s truly possible to implement the Montessori ideas at home to make your house and family life welcoming to your child, her needs and her thrive for independence. She offers parents & babies classes, toddlers playgroups; Montessori home designs, one to one support, parenting classes and online courses.