Book Review: The Awakened Family by Dr Shefali Tsabary

Review: Finally finished reading this amazing book. I had it checked out from the library for more than 6 weeks. It took me that long to finish it and that’s only because I really took my time savoring every line written in it. I know that I cannot do full justice to this book with my review here but I will try to summarize a few messages from that resonated with me. My overall rating is five golden stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

The Awakened Family is an empowered family where the parents are conscious of their own triggers, reactions and behavior patterns. The children, in turn, learn to tune into their own feelings by watching their parents. There is a mutual respect, trust and a deep, heart to heart connection between the parents and the children. An Awakened Family is a gift to humanity in my opinion.

In this book, Dr Tsabary starts out by debunking the popular parenting myths in a methodical manner and then she lays out the steps involved in creating the conditions that would allow for the birth of an Awakened Family.

An Awakened Family requires a conscious parent: A conscious parent is able to tap into the abundance that this universe provides, on a moment by moment basis, without being confined to the thoughts and behavior ingrained into them by their own parents or the culture that they were raised in.

The Premise behind Conscious Parenting: The whole concept of Conscious Parenting is based on the premise that when the child triggers a strong reaction in the parent, instead of trying to control or change the child, the parent engages with the child from a place of calm and compassion, while also taking the time to turn inwards and reflect upon what it is that their child needs them to change within themselves in order for them to become the parent that their child needs them to be.

Authoritarian/Controlling Parenting: Dr Tsabary argues that the authoritarian/controlling style of parenting is lazy and rote parenting. I could not agree with this more! There are no shortcuts to raising kids who are filled with self love.

Love is not enough: Dr Tsabary says that a lot of parents justify that whatever they are doing (tough doses of love, silent treatments, punishments, emotional manipulations and other forms of controlling their child) by telling themselves that they are doing this out of love for their child. She argues that loving a child is not enough. That is only the beginning. There is a lot more work to be done by the parent to face the parental dysfunction from their own childhood, to accept their own parents for who they are with all their limitations and forgive them for their shortcomings, to tap into their own inner stillness and practice self love and so much more, to become the parent that their child needs them to be.

Unprocessed pain from childhood: Dr Tsabary says (and this resonated with me deeply because I have observed this around me) that a lot of parents continue to engage with the same dysfunctional parenting patterns from their own childhood because trying to change them brings up a lot of pain associated with being raised by controlling/authoritarian parents. They tend to instead, take the shortcut and continue to idolize their parents in their minds. Some parents do this because they were raised in a culture that encouraged dysfunctional parenting patterns and they don’t want to stand out by doing something different. I have observed this and continue to observe this around me. I know that I did not say this as articulately as Dr Tsabary said it, but as someone who walked this walk already, her message here deeply resonated with me on many levels.

Parenting is a spiritual journey: Children constantly hold up mirrors in front of their parents. It takes a deep commitment and tremendous courage on the parent’s part to look inside that mirror, understand what their child is trying to teach them and then integrate that learning into their daily lives. All of this starts on the parent’s side with unconditional love and self acceptance for themselves. Parenting is a deeply spiritual journey where a parent is in no way superior to the child but they are both equal partners in the journey, A child does not have the knowledge and experience that they need to make their own decisions or live on their own. So, the parent takes on the role of a spiritual mentor, always engaging with the child in the present moment, with endless compassion and a deep respect for the spirit that resides in their child. The child, in return, sets the parent off on their own spiritual path that would bring them inner peace and liberation.

Expectations vs Intentions: Intentions set a vision and help us attain that vision in a positive, engaging manner. Whereas, expectations (from our children or anyone else for that matter) set us on a path of disappointment, frustration and closed mindedness, all of which are detrimental to our children’s overall well being.

Fear based parenting: Feeling anxious about our children’s future is a normal process of parenting. A conscious parent recognizes their anxiety, knows the difference between their feelings and emotions, and instead of reacting out of anxiety, they are able to step back and take an action that is based in empathy and full presence in the moment. By doing so, they are able to connect with their child in the present moment and avoid the dysfunction that arises from trying to connect with them either in the future or in the past.

Punishments and Time-Outs don’t work: Conflict is inevitable between siblings and between a parent and a child. Punishments, time outs, threats and other controlling forms of discipline may accomplish what they were meant for temporarily. But they backfire in the long run. They stifle the child so much that eventually they either rebel or they shutdown. Most rules can be negotiated with the child respectfully, by always listening and making a sincere effort to tune into the child’s needs. Any rule that is not detrimental to the child’s well being is negotiable if the parent is able to set their ego aside. The rules that are detrimental to the child’s well being can be laid down firmly, respectfully and consistently so that the child feels motivated to abide by them. I feel that the world could use a new generation of adults who are able to resolve conflicts respectfully and amicably by tapping into the negotiation skills that have been ingrained into them from their childhood via Conscious Parenting.

There is so much more that I can say about this book! After reading “The Conscious Parent” and “The Awakened Family”, I have become a big fan of Dr Tsabary’s teachings. I feel that children often get abused and disrespected because they are powerless. Parents are in a special, privileged position in most societies (some societies have more checks and balances in place than others), which often leads to varying degrees of abuse of that privilege. Addressing dysfunctions within families is an invaluable gift to the society in my opinion. As someone who is passionate about conscious parenting and conscious living, I feel more empowered and a whole lot more motivated to live and parent consciously after reading this book. I am filled with inspiration to continue on this journey as a spiritual mentor to my children while also respecting my children enough to allow them to play the role of my spiritual mentors.

I am looking forward to reading “Out of Control” next (another one of Dr Tsabary’s books).

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