REVIEW: INSPIRATIONAL PARENTING GUIDE
Your step-by-step guide to peaceful, powerful parenting
By Helen Hansen
This inspirational parenting guide by Helen Hansen is from the outset a gripping and informative read. Right from the very beginning one is asked gently to set up a quiet space for oneself to read and digest the information provided in this guide. This might sound obvious, but for me it was actually a very important reminder to honour one’s own time and to allow oneself the space to read and ponder the information. I felt quite excited just setting myself up in a quiet corner with a pen and a piece of paper! There are thought provoking questions and experiential exercises asked at relevant intervals throughout the guide, and this in part contributes to making this book more than just a guide – it is a process, and a very interesting and worthwhile one.
The guide is divided into five modules (set aside approximately an hour per module), and Module One begins by looking at parenting in the 21st century, and moment by moment parenting.
We as parents can often feel overwhelmed by the plethora of technological information that is in this current age so easily available to us. Although this input can be stressful, it is important to remember that this availability of information also provides a huge opportunity for us to learn and grow because there is so much knowledge at our fingertips! This opens up worlds of possibilities. In this section, Helen speaks of energy and perception – two concepts the understanding of which is vitally important to guiding our children and fulfilling our roles as their parents. Parenting is not a simple term, but a growth process.
Parenting is also a moment by moment process, and this is where quietness and intuition come into play. Listening to one’s inner voice is an integral part of successful parenting – it is this voice that can often show us the way, and we need to learn to listen to it. We all have it! A balanced lifestyle in all aspects including nutrition, intake of water, exercise, me time, rest, self-growth, and time spent outdoors is necessary to be able to function optimally. Once we examine these aspects, change may be necessary to bring about balance.
There have been many theories put forward over the years regarding children and child development. Although there are surely merits to all the theories presented, there is none that is truly all encompassing. In this guide, Helen Hansen aims to provide an holistic and relevant approach to parenting.
We then come to a breakdown of milestones for each year. There’s a wonderfully simple representation of how brain waves work and how they dominate particular developmental stages of the child’s growth. This is accompanied by a more detailed explanation of the four brainwave states and the particular qualities they will display.
From birth – 7 years old, delta waves moving towards theta dominate, and this is the BODY (doing). The body is going through great changes in this phase, and the child’s primary sense of information is through the senses. The most important activity in this developmental stage is play, more specifically play with a parent.
From 7 – 14 years old, theta waves are moving towards alpha, and this is the HEART (feeling). Learning becomes focal, and children start to realise they are separate from their parents and have their own strong views and opinions. Friends become important; play is still vital. This is an age of intense feeling, and children can be dramatic as they assert their own individuality.
From 14 – 21, alpha waves are moving towards beta, and this is the HEAD (thinking). There are hormonal changes which bring about changes in the body and there are also many new feelings occurring. Abstract thinking becomes more developed, and children are constantly reinforcing their own identities.
Growing up is not something that occurs in a straight line, but is rather a ‘rhythmic movement’ from one phase to the next, and often back again. I love where Helen says that children are definitely not miniature adults – they have no life experience, and therefore should not be treated as such. It is our responsibility as their guides to teach them to make responsible and age appropriate choices.
The developmental stages are hereafter depicted in table form, and neatly and concisely sum up the following areas year by year (from year 1 to year 11): physical, neurological, thinking, language, learning, emotional, social, self-identity, and things to do. This is a very useful chart for quick referral.
The final section of this module deals with the question Who Am I?, and is a broader discussion of the body mind perspective and the role of DNA and external factors which was briefly touched upon in the opening chapter. Helen also speaks about the role of the subconscious and conscious mind, as well as the heart perspective. This is followed once again by the thought provoking questions and experiential exercises which conclude each module.
Module Three is a very interesting food for thought chapter on relationship fundamentals. Any relationship requires work, effort and commitment. We as humans are also constantly changing and evolving, and this needs to be read and taken into consideration in our interactions with others. Understanding children’s developmental stages helps us to communicate effectively with them, and so it is the same for all our relationships! People communicate in terms of what is important to them. In the adult world, this may include the following aspects: financial, mental, physical, family, social, and spiritual. An understanding of where your significant others are in terms of the above will lead to better and more effective communication methods, which in turn will of course lead to a more harmonious environment for all. Most of us are co parenting in one form or another, and the roles of Mom and Dad will shift and change all the time. There is a balance that needs to be maintained, and this is highly dependent on mom and dad having a healthy relationship. Helen mentions the language of love and how we are all different in our expressions thereof. As regards the relationship between parent and child, it is integral thereto that we treat our children with respect, and also offer them the acknowledgement that they deserve. They are our teachers too! It has been found that a child’s brain anatomy is directly linked to the amount of nurture received from most specifically the mother in the early formative years. This is an amazing piece of information! A calm environment and an harmonious relationship between parents has a significant influence on the growing child, and especially on his or her relationships with others outside of the home. As parents, we need to be present for our children when they experience emotional difficulties within other relationships, whilst also allowing them the space to work things out for themselves.
Module 4 opens with Helen looking at the heart, body, mind in an holistic way. The body we may think of as only skin and bones, but the body is matter and energy too. The body connects us to the environment, and because your physical body is also your energetic body, it is so important to nourish and feed your body correctly and healthily. Your mind is also made up of vibrations, and your mind feeds the brain. Mastering the mind, or the art of being mindful, is an incredibly useful tool to cultivate positivity in our lives. Your heart is your essence, and connects you with others. Interestingly, and this is expanded upon beautifully in this chapter, the heart has been connected to both EQ and IQ, as it affects the balance of our perfectly designed system. The Limbic Imprint is the imprint we carry from the time of conception. Imagine then if this is anything other than the positive love-filled experience that it should be. This can and will affect our lives from birth until the time we can shed the emotional attachments that we gathered from the womb. The art of mindful parenting is I think something that every parent would like to be practising. We are the example that our children witness every day, and it is upon us that their behaviour will be modelled. In short, they reflect what we portray. We therefore need to be very aware of making conscious choices, and to choose our responses carefully. It is known that children react favourably to love and warmth in any given situation, as opposed to anger or punishment. Helen explores Eric Berne’s theory of the Ego State, and gives a lovely scenario of the practical application thereof. To sum up, we need to demonstrate the behaviour that we wish to see in our children!
In Module 5, Helen discusses the very important role of effective communication. Communication affects relationships either positively or adversely, so effective communication is key to healthy and happy relationships. There are guidelines set out for effective communication, and these include: using affirming language, using neutral or pleasing tones, using inspirational language, using inspirational body language, using clear, audible and simple speech, making sure your children can hear (very important! Have a hearing test if in doubt!), and using the language of love to communicate during discipline. Conscious discipline involves being and acting consciously ourselves. We need to monitor our reactions, remove anxiety and agitation from a potentially fraught situation, and we need to refrain from judging our children – either outwardly or inwardly. This points again to the absolute necessity of self-growth. And the importance of setting intentions. There is a different language of love applicable to each phase of development, and this can easily be applied on a practical level. Effective discipline involves using both EQ and IQ, therefore disciplining the whole brain. Using the breath to step back out of a fiery situation is key, and using praise and inspiration instead of force in discipline will go a long way to achieve results. After all, discipline is about teaching, it is not about punishment.
This module closes with a transcript of an interview of Helen with Dr John Demartini.
Through this guide, and particularly through the questions and exercises posed after each module, I learned a lot about myself (I had to dig deep sometimes!). And I was reminded of how important it is to be in a strong and grounded place as a parent, so that we can act as inspirational guides to our children. This guide undoubtedly opens trains of thought that I am finding to be incredibly useful in dealing with my own family. There is a wealth of information in this guide. I would highly recommend Helen’s Inspirational Guide to Parenting to anyone willing to open their hearts to change for the better, for themselves and their families.
There is also a 60 minute audio regarding effective communication included with the E-Guide. A highly valuable resource.
For further information, please contact Helen firstname.lastname@example.org