Why Conscious Parents Need to be Cautious

 Are you a Conscious Parent or interested in conscious discipline for parents?
(Here is an article with a conscious definition.)

If so, then you need to be aware of some myths and misinformation “out there,” steering conscious parents into some practices that sound good, but can cause big problems later on.

For example, parents will ask conscious parenting experts legitimate questions about how to handle common parenting challenges. They are seeking practical how-to, step-by-step responses that teach conscious discipline techniques.

What they get are responses from conscious parenting experts and other resources such as:

  • “The only thing children need is unconditional love and support.”
  • “Let children choose what’s best for them. They intuitively know best.”
  • All children’s behavior is part of their life lessons. They’ll figure things out on their own.”
  • “Just listen to your gut, it will never fail you.”
  • “If you are calm, centered, mindful, (etc.) you will intuitively know what to say and do as a parent.”

None of these comments are 100% wrong; in fact, with some explanations and qualifiers, they all contain a lot of inspirational truth.

Without a few “edits” to the italicized words, however, they can be easily misinterpreted and mislead parents away from responsive good parenting, into unhealthy permissive parenting. The same thing can and has happened with “attachment parenting,” which has stirred up much controversy about its practices.

Neither conscious parenting nor attachment parenting are inherently permissive; both can be healthy, responsive ways to parent. Unfortunately, they give parents who would already swing towards being overly-permissive the permission or endorsement to do so.

Research shows permissive parenting can have serious negative long-term outcomes that may be almost-impossible to undo later, unless the adult children learn how to rewire their brains and reprogram their subconscious operating belief systems.

This article will be the first in a series that addresses conscious parenting myths.


Conscious Parenting Myth #1: “The only thing children need is unconditional love and support.” NOT! While “Love is all you need” is a great Beatles lyric, it’s quite a dangerous belief on which to base your parenting!

Unconditional love and support are hugely important; they just aren’t the only thing children need. Children also need freedom within reasonable boundaries, consistent routines that can be flexible if needed, and to be taught life skills, like decision-making, being self-responsible and self-disciplined…and much more. Notice which words are italicized now? These words can change extreme statements (and practices based on them) into more balanced ones.

Seesawing between extreme styles is quite common in parenting. If parents don’t want to be overly-controlling, they might go to the other extreme and become permissive. Or they might be permissive until children misbehave, then become punitive. Both extremes are harmful to children, just in different ways and to different degrees, depending how long and extreme the imbalanced parenting occurs.

So unless conscious parents also learn effective parenting skills, they can have great intentions and still unintentionally or accidentally abdicate their parental responsibilities and neglect their children, all in the name of conscious freedom for their children.

Like so many other things in life, the key to effective conscious parenting is Balance, including having a Balanced parenting style. “Balanced” is The Parents Toolshop®’s term for one parenting style decades of parenting research has found to be most effective. (See my other YourTango article on this topic.)

Balanced parenting is what most conscious parents are seeking, but might not know the beliefs, skills and strategies that are a part of it — all of which are learnable! So be careful as you read parenting advice, screening it for a balanced approach. If you want a proven parenting plan with practical how-to, step-by-step responses and conscious discipline techniques, I’m here to support you!


Jody Johnston Pawel, LSW, CFLE is president of Parent’s Toolshop® Consulting, where she oversees an international network of Toolshop® trainers. She has 30+ years experience as a top-rated speaker and parenting expert to the media worldwide, including serving as the Co-Producer and Parenting Expert for the Emmy-nominated Ident-a-Kid television series. She is the author of the award-winning book, The Parent’s Toolshop® and countless multimedia resources that support and educate parents from diverse backgrounds and needs, and other adults who live or work with children. You can find them at her award-winning website, www.ParentsToolshop.com.

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