VIDEO: Dr. Shefali Tsabary on Becoming a Conscious Parent

Ted Conferences feature some of the best thinkers of our time, and a recent video we came across shows Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of “The Conscious Parent,”explaining how we all internalize the voice of our parents – what they say to us and what they do – and carry this into adulthood. The parental voice creates a blueprint by which we define ourselves, and in the below video she explains why the way we parent needs to change.

“We need to occupy the role of parenthood in an entirely different way … we cannot expect our children to embody an enlightened consciousness if we parents haven’t dared to model this ourselves. It all starts with us and how we parent,” she explains in the video.

Many are still suffering from our own childhood wounds, and whether they realize it or not, these are having an effect of their children – and who their children will become when they grown into adulthood.

“We don’t hurt our children because we are evil or ill-intentioned – certainly not out of a lack of love,” Tsabary said. “We hurt our children for one reason only – it’s because we are hurting ourselves and we barely know it. It’s because we are unconscious; because we have inherited legacies of emotional baggage from our own parents. We are sitting on emotional baggage that lies dormant, unconscious waiting to be triggered at a moment’s notice. And who better to trigger us then our children. They just know the buttons to push. Through our children, we get theater seats — orchestra seats —  to the theatrics of our emotional immaturity.”

She continued: “When we lose our tempers with our children, and we believe they are devils and monsters, chances are it isn’t because they are that, but because they have triggered an old wound within us. They’ve made us feel feelings that we don’t care to feel. They’ve made us feel powerless and out of control, helpless, and in order to regain a sense of supremacy, we lash out at them in reactivity.”

Parents who have been conditioned to find self-worth outside of themselves are teaching these same values to their children. “Our children come to us whole, compete and worthy. They are happy with two sticks, a stone and a feather. But because we have been conditioned so deeply in an unconscious manner, so severed from our own sense of presence, wholeness, attunement and sense of self and abundance, that we project a sense of lack onto them,” she says in the talk.

“We teach them, do not depend on your sense of self and value, but look outward. Look to the Ferrari, the corporate corner office, to the casino, to the pill, to the bottle, to the needle, to spouse number one, two and three, to where you live, to where you graduate from – because we are severed from a sense of being. We are consumed by doing. This is how we know self-value…”

In her book “The Conscious Parent,” she shares the importance of transforming ourselves in order to empower our children with a new view.

“It is time for us to change the spotlight – to turn it inward – and change it from the child who needs to be fixed, the child as the one with the problem, [to] parental evolution as the solution … the time to awaken is now. The parenting paradigm needs to shift.”

See her 11 minute-talk in the video below:

Remember the Stars (A Little Zen for Little Ones) by Sanjay Nambiar

“Remember the Stars (A Little Zen for Little Ones)” is a new children’s book about a wise boy who receives a lot of love, along with a lot of worry, from his parents. They worry about his health, his happiness and just about everything else. But the little boy is smart, and asks his parents to consider focusing on the present moment instead of worrying about the future. This message touches upon core Zen concepts of being present and not letting our worries disconnect us from what is truly important.

“This third title in the A Little Zen for Little Ones series holds a special place in my heart,” said author Sanjay Nambiar. “We are so busy and preoccupied in our modern culture. This book imparts a little wisdom as to what is most important, namely the time we spend together.”

“Remember the Stars (A Little Zen for Little Ones)” is the third title in the award-winning A Little Zen for Little Ones trilogy. The first title in the series, “Maybe (A Little Zen for Little Ones),” won a Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Medal and a Gelett Burgess Children’s Book Awards Gold Medal and received broad critical acclaim, while the second title, “Still There? (A Little Zen for Little Ones),” also won a Mom’s Choice Awards Silver Medal.

Read our review of the second book in the series “Still There.”

Conscious Parenting: Raising Strong and Sensitive Kids

By Maureen Healy

Does your daughter pull out all the tags from her shirts? Or perhaps your son prefers quiet play versus loud video games? Maybe you’ve even got a “picky eater” or a child that’s been called fussy. If you are nodding your head by now, you may be raising a highly sensitive child, and I promise that’s a good thing.

Highly sensitive kids are those with keen perception, and highly aware nervous systems that are very responsive to sensory input (for example, smells, sounds, lights and mood).

Succeeding with Sensitivity
Parents, teachers and extended family frequently come to me seeking help with their highly sensitive children. First, I usually explain that sensitive children are like the orchids of children – they are not the marigolds or dandelions. They are more fragile emotionally and need gentle care, so learning how to honor their gentle nature, cultivate their inner strength and steer them towards feeling good is our work.

So where do we begin? Our first step is to cultivate a deeper sense of strength in these children. When they realize within them is a Power greater than anything in their outside world, they are more likely to persevere, progress and find their way in this not-so-sensitive world. Some ways to do this on a daily basis (not sporadically) include: prayer, meditation, affirmations, uplifting music and movement like yoga.

I want to emphasize that nurturing in children a sense of strength and inner confidence isn’t mystical or magical – this is merely a skill to develop in them. My last book, “Growing Happy Kids,” explains how to cultivate inner confidence in children, and how it is the foundation for children’s lasting happiness, especially the sensitive ones.

3 Keys for Success
Cultivating inner strength in our children (and ourselves too) is necessary to live a happier life. So as we keep mindfully nurturing the deeper sense of self-belief and inner confidence in our children, I find there are three additional things sensitive children in particular need to know about their sensitive nature in order to thrive.

1. See Sensitivity as an Asset – Helping kids see their sensitivity as a strength is really important. If you look back over many of the great people throughout time there were many sensitive ones like: Joseph Campbell, Einstein, Mother Teresa or Martin Luther King, Jr. Each of these great people learned how to honor their sensitive nature and bring their unique gifts to the world. Of course, you may not be raising Mother Teresa, but your child certainly has great gifts to give, and we want him or her to stay connected to Source or God, so he or she can fearlessly share their gentle yet powerful talents.

2.Educate Kids Emotionally – Children often feel like their feelings are bigger than them, and succumb to their overwhelming emotions (anger, sadness, or other upset). It is important to help teach children they are in charge, and can make healthy choices when they feel their intense emotions. For example, you can teach Marcus at age four to take deep breaths instead of hitting his sister. Or perhaps your middle school daughter, Melissa, likes to yell when she’s upset – so perhaps you can teach her to take a walk around the block instead of screaming.

3.Celebrate them (and their talents) – Sensitive kids are often highly creative, imaginative and compassionate kids. My neighbor, Amanda, at age eight held a lemonade stand and made $55 in one day (really good lemonade)! She wound up donating this money to the local animal shelter so the bunnies in their care could stay till they found homes. I am just so amazed and delighted at the compassion in action of this eight year old, and really praised her efforts.

Parenting with Love
Sensitive kids kiss you for no reason, and say the sweetest things to you. They may also meltdown in a moment’s notice. So parenting these sensitive yet often challenging children requires a high level of patience and skillful parenting approaches. I also see no greater opportunity to deepen our experience of absolute love than raising a highly sensitive child and being their greatest advocate in this often not-so-sensitive world.

Maureen Healy is a practicing expert with sensitive children and their parents. She also writes a popular blog on Psychology Today, PBS and Beliefnet. Her latest book, “Growing Happy Kids,” can be found wherever books are sold. For more information, visit her Web site at or follow her on Twitter: @mdhealy

Back to School Tips for Parents

By Marthe Teixeira

It’s hard to believe the summer is coming to an end, and the school year is just about to begin. It feels like minutes ago you were packing your bags for the beach and the next you are walking zombielike down the aisles of Staples looking for spiral-bound notebooks. Whether your child is going back to school with all their friends, starting a new school or that big transition from middle to high school – going back to school is always a stressful time.

Forget last year’s midnight homework scramble and all the stress that came with it. The start of a new year is a great way to renew family routines, schedules and guidelines to help your child to have a success school year. Use the following tips to start off the year right.

  • Come up with a routine for the school year. Time to get that calendar out that will be hanging on the fridge all year long. This will help keep track of everyone’s schedules. Set aside time and place for homework and add it on the calendar.  That way your child is in the routine knowing when it is time to buckle down and do homework.
  • The joys of paperwork and how quickly it piles up. From tests that needs to be signed, permission slips, emergency cards, volunteer sign-up sheets and medical forms, it feels like your child brings home new forms to be signed daily. To be organized have an IN/OUT box for all the important paperwork that needs to be signed and or returned back to school.
  • Listen without trying to fix the situation. During the first few weeks of school, your child will come home with stories and dramas of that day. An immediate reaction would be to try and “fix”it by talking to the administration at school or even the other parents. Try to concentrate on listening first, and later when emotions have calmed down, discuss the situation again and give guidance.
  • Shift focus. Instead of focusing on what your child has to do, focus on what your child gets to learn. Be positive and excited about school and learning. If you stay positive, your child will stay positive.
  • Make time to talk and listen. It is so important, especially for teens, to have that special talking time with their parents. This allows your child to confide in you, even if it is to rant about their awful day. If you don’t make time to talk your teen, he/she will feel as though they are not important. Get in the habit of talking and listening a few minutes each day.
  • Avoid overextending. Try to limit activities for younger kids, especially with parents with more than one kid. Hectic schedules and too many afterschool activities can cause stress all around for the whole family.

Marthe Teixeira is the founder/CEO of Stixs and Stones and a life coach for teen girls. She works with local schools, colleges and organizations, such as the Boys and Girls Club and Strong Women Strong Girls, and she coaches one-on one with clients. She currently has a weekly advice column to help parents of teenagers navigate the pitfalls and perils of teen life. Marthe is eager to affect positive change in the lives of teen girls, as she has personally experienced struggles and challenges as an adolescent girl.

“Growing Up Brave: Expert Strategies for Helping Your Child Overcome Fear, Stress and Anxiety,” by Dr. Donna Pincus

Written by childhood anxiety expert, Dr. Donna Pincus, “Growing Up Brave: Expert Strategies for Helping Your Child Overcome Fear, Stress and Anxiety,” helps parents identify and understand anxiety in their children – explaining what fears are a normal part of growing up, and when parents need to be concerned.

Pincus offers effective and easy to incorporate methods based on cognitive behavioral therapy for parents to use in order to reduce anxiety in their children – whether its separation anxiety, social anxiety or panic attacks. Parents will learn how to set up home and daily routines to include activities that will help their child feel more secure and confident, and how to interrupt spiraling anxiety when it occurs.

Additionally, the book teaches parents how to promote a secure attachment with their child in only five minutes a day; strategies for reinforcing problem-solving behavior and adaptive parenting styles.

Whether a child has been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, or parents are looking for proven techniques to help them deal with developmental fears and stress, this book offers solutions.

Three Tips for Raising Self-Confident and Spiritually Aware Kids

By Maureen Healy

Just yesterday, I worked with an eight-year-old client named Ava. She is highly creative and intelligent, yet struggles with her self-confidence. So I asked her, “Would you like to paint today?” and she replied, “I am not sure if I can do it.” Of course, this is a clear sign she continues to need help building her sense of outer to inner confidence. Since I also know her family as a spiritual, but not religious one, I took the approach of cultivating confidence from a spiritual perspective.

Instilling Self-Confidence Spiritually
So how do I spark self-confidence at a deeper level in children? I must be honest, this isn’t a simple question or answer. Any adult can nurture a stronger type of confidence in their children, but here I want to emphasize that children begin looking outside of themselves for validation (grades, acknowledgment from parents and trophies) and the process of spiritual self-confidence is helping them go inward.

In other words, adults who nurture in children, on a consistent basis, that within them is a power, capability and greatness able to overcome any obstacles are teaching inner confidence. It is this power within that from a spiritual perspective is our divinity. Call it God, Spirit, Christ-consciousness, Shiva, the Buddha Seed or Jehovah – the name doesn’t matter, but the idea that there is an infinite intelligence in and around our lives that can help us is a powerful teaching for kids.

So I explained this idea to Ava and she immediately brightened up. She said, “You mean I have God within me?” And I said, “Yes. There is a power in you that can help you succeed no matter what is happening in the outer world.” Interestingly enough, she was also then willing and more optimistic about painting.

Inner Confidence: Three Tips for Today
Nurturing in your children a sense of healthy self-confidence from a spiritual perspective and awareness of their divine nature is conscious parenting. Some ideas to help you on your way are:

1. Daily Dose of Spiritual Confidence (Take one every day like a vitamin!) Just like a gummy vitamin we give our children daily, we need to nurture in them the belief that they have power, greatness and capability in them every day. This may be an affirmation, song, prayer, meditation or something unique to your family or culture – the point is it needs to be done consistently and not sporadically for best results.

2.  Get Inspired Together. By becoming genuinely inspired by life and seeing the creative force that made the daffodils come up early and butterflies emerge from their cocoons is the same powerful force inside of us – this sparks self-confidence in kids. So enjoy getting inspired together whether it is musically, going into nature or something else, but remember to reinforce the idea that that same greatness is in all of us.

3. Give More. Once children “see” how powerful they are – the path to inner confidence becomes easier and more possible. Lizzie, my neighbor, set up a lemonade stand on a hot day this week and used all of her earnings ($55) to give to the local humane society that has 19 bunny rabbits in their care and needs help with them. She was so happy to drop the money off, see the bunnies and know they’ll be taken care of until they are adopted.

Maureen Healy is a spiritual teacher with more than 20 years of global experience fostering children’s happiness. Her new book, “Growing Happy Kids: How to Foster Inner Confidence, Success and Happiness,” presents a model called The Five Building Blocks of Confidence that explains in everyday language how any adult can foster a deeper type of confidence in their children. For more information visit her website at or follow her on Twitter: @mdhealy