What is Conscious Parenting? Answered by Conscious Parenting Coach, Francoise Hernert
We cut an hour’s interview into a 30-minute podcast to answer one specific question, What is Conscious Parenting?
You can catch our full interview with Francoise Hernert on video here.
Full Transcript for Podcast
[00:00:00] Lauren Kinghorn: Hi everyone. It’s Lauren Kinghorn, Inspiring Mompreneurs. And today I’m with the lovely Francoise Hernert and she’s a Conscious Parenting and Transformative Coach.
[00:00:14] Francoise Hernert: Welcome. Thank you very much, Lauren. Thanks for inviting me in today’s podcast. Thanks for being here today. Also for those who are listening. So I partner with mothers to walk through the jungle of parenting and life through transformative and conscious parenting coaching. So, what does it mean? It means that I work with overwhelmed moms who are struggling in teaching their children the best lessons and values and who are having difficulties communicating to create a strong relationship with them while at the same time wanting to be a successful and accomplished woman.
[00:00:53] And my vision is to help change the world, one child at a time.. So it’s not something [00:01:00] small, it’s something big, but it’s so much necessary. So how do I envision that? Well, by helping mothers be happy as accomplished women and moms, while being a role model in order to raise confident and happy children.
What is Conscious Parenting?
[00:01:14] Lauren Kinghorn: What is conscious parenting, if you want to put it in a nutshell?
[00:01:19] So I would say that conscious parenting is a term used to describe a style of parenting that usually focuses more on the parent and on the impact of mindfulness on the parenting choices.
[00:01:34] Okay. So it’s rooted in a combination of the Eastern style philosophy, but also the Western side psychology, because there’s also coming from the Eastern part, the mindfulness that we don’t have so much in the Western side, you know, here, for example, in France, they will straight away go and see a psychologist because they believe that everything can be handled by a psychologist, but in the Eastern style, [00:02:00] they will not have this automatism to go and see a psychologist.
[00:02:04] It’s a different way of living. So it’s a very good, mixed, balanced mix between both sides. But most simply conscious parenting ask that instead of striving to fix your child, and God knows we all want to fix your child because we all believe that our child has a problem, whatever their problem.
We ask the Parents to look Inward
[00:02:22] And we need to find somebody or find a way to fix a child. So instead of doing that, we ask the parents to look inward at themselves and focus on which role model they want to be for their children. So, because usually parents believe that their priority is to spend all their money on fixing their child or finding the best schools or buying them everything.
[00:02:49] It makes us feel good. I mean, we’ve all went to a toy shop or bought something for our children, or even a candy, or whatsoever to please our child. [00:03:00] Right. We all went through that and we believe that that’s important for the child. And it makes us feel good because the child is happy, but is it essential?
[00:03:09] Is it the priority? I don’t say it’s not important, but is it what we remember from our childhood? Do we remember what our parents bought for us? Do we remember the tutoring? Do you remember the best schools where our parents may, if they had the money to put the money inside? I mean, my children take it for granted, schools, everything is granted. You see?
[00:03:38] So they don’t see that for us it’s very important and that we’re investing so much money. And on the other hand, what they need the most. Is it where we spend a lot of money or is it the time that we’re spending with them? What we’re teaching them, how we’re showing up as an adult, as a confident and joyful person, how we see [00:04:00] life…
[00:04:00] Or are we always worried that we have to work hard, so hard to get money, to pay the bills, to do this, to do that and be stressed and show them that well it’s okay to be a stressed adult, to be able to pay everything. You see, and how many are we in this track running after this never ending race, but this is not the most important.
[00:04:21] So that’s why conscious parenting brings you in another place where, okay. What’s essential?
[00:04:29] Wow. Good question. What’s essential. Yeah. What do my children really need from me?
[00:04:37] Are you mostly seeing parents, where both parents are having to work and you’re working with a mum who now is having to work and look after a child?
Overwhelmed Moms and Mom-Guilt
[00:04:49] Francoise Hernert: Yeah, I believe that in one way or another, a mother who’s not working will have issues. And the mother who is working will have other issues because [00:05:00] when you’re not working, you also have some type of guilt of, oh, I’m not doing anything except taking care of the house.
[00:05:06] Lauren Kinghorn: Sure, housework is work.
[00:05:07] Francoise Hernert: And yeah, exactly. So, but there may be in the back of the head because of our education, how a human being is seen, the human being has to be successful. So what is the definition of success? So the mother who’s not working may have other issues being say, oh, I’m just a stay at home mom, and I’m not developing my gifts.
[00:05:33] I’m not developing myself. I’m just taking care, even if it’s a hard job, you know, it’s really a hard job to be a mom, either working or not working, for me, it’s equal. It’s really hard because when you’re working, you can give the child to somebody to handle the crying and everything, not wanting to sleep, not wanting to eat.
[00:05:51] So it’s another struggle. So there’s struggle I believe, on both sides. But bottom line, the mother is still going to have some questioning and feeling [00:06:00] overwhelmed in both ways and feeling some, some lacks, you see. So that’s why it’s so important on both ways. It’s important to work on this guilt because she will have guilt on both sides, guilt of not having stopped work completely and not being able to be a successful woman.
[00:06:21] Like she wants to be, or being guilty that she doesn’t have enough time because she’s working. So she doesn’t have enough time to take care of her kid. So there’s always something and impacts the behavior of the mother on the child because of this frustration, that you may have deep inside and unconsciously makes you react to your child’s behavior, makes you react to your spouse behavior makes you react to different things because unconsciously something has triggered.
[00:06:52] So there’s always going to be something to work on. Yeah. And yes, overwhelm is definitely there. I agree with you, I [00:07:00] see it, moms are overwhelmed. And whether you’re working or not working, it’s an overwhelming job to care for a house and children and making sure the husband’s happy, the child’s happy, the home is done.
[00:07:15] Lauren Kinghorn: Yeah. There’s always going to be something. So there’s probably always a need for somebody to see a conscious parenting coach because very few people are able to just get this stuff, naturally. We need a few lessons. Right.
[00:07:30] So if you were seeing somebody, what would be your number one lesson that you would want them to know, that would maybe turn things around for them? So, let’s say for example, they have a child that’s in trouble right now, there’s a teenager, very depressed, maybe even suicidal.
[00:07:49] Is that the kind of person that you would see, a parent of a child who’s gone into depression and they don’t know how to reach them?
Children have needs and issues. Parents have needs and issues.
[00:07:58] Francoise Hernert: So you have to [00:08:00] understand that there are two things. The child has some needs and the parent has some needs, both have needs and issues.
[00:08:06] Okay. So in the case of having a depressive and suicidal child, it needs special care, the mother can not take over because it’s a specialist. Okay. So all depends on the degree of the issue with the kid. Then the same for the mother. I cannot say that the coach is going to replace some psychologist depending on the trauma of the mother.
[00:08:32] You see? But what conscious parenting is, is really making the mother understand how her behavior, her vision of life, her wellbeing is going to impact that child’s behavior, whatever the level of where is the child at.
[00:08:55] So for example, if you have a child who’s depressed and all that, and the mother [00:09:00] is unconsciously showing her stress to her child, worrying all the time, how do you think the child is going to connect? Because he’s going to feel, and you know, children, we don’t have to talk much, children they feel everything. They are observers and they can feel if we’re happy, if we’re not happy, if we’re worried, if we’re stressed, they can feel it.
How is the Mother Showing Up?
Joyful, Excited, Hopeful? Or Always Stressed and Worried?
[00:09:23] So how is the mother showing up based on the child’s behavior? Is she joyful, excited, hopeful, or always stressed, worried. And at the end, the child can see it and the child will say, well, my mother is not well, so how can she help me? You see, so then putting distance, because the child is not seeing the hell because he’s not feeling that the mother is in a good place.
[00:09:52] So that’s why coming back to consciousness, being conscious that, okay, how am I, how is my life? How am I seeing life, [00:10:00] my life and my children issue, whatever because we all have issues, but it’s again, a question of energy and focus. Where are we putting the focus? And usually mothers, honestly, we’re always worrying, right?
[00:10:16] We’re worrying all the time of what may happen. So for example, let’s say you have a depressed child and what if he’s going to commit suicide and then you cannot sleep at night, right? Because the mind is going everywhere. So I’m taking this example, but any other example, your child, maybe he’s never going to succeed in life.
[00:10:35] And then you start spinning. Maybe he has a problem. Maybe this, maybe that. And then you think what, you think that your body and energy is going to be positive? And hopeful and understanding? Or is it going to show up negative energy? And of course more stress, so every time there’s a small thing you’re going to burst and shout and be impatient.
[00:10:59] We’re [00:11:00] all human beings. So beings mean feeling, so feeling mean how are you feeling internally and how is it showing up with your interaction with your children? Are you putting oil on the fire? Or are you putting sunshine and hope?
[00:11:19] Lauren Kinghorn: Yes. So, okay. So that’s a really good indicator of how you helping your children. If you are showing up joyful, excited, hopeful that is going to help your child be able to deal with his own emotions when they come up, his or her own emotions. But if you’re stressed, worried, and getting upset all the time or quick to anger, you know that it’s time to start seeing a coach to help you with your emotions.
Helping Moms who are Stressed, Worried and Quick to Anger
[00:11:50] And how do you help people with those emotions?
[00:11:53] Francoise Hernert: So yes, there are many ways, okay. On my side, what is the quickest way in the moment is the [00:12:00] breath, but it starts by being aware that we’re triggered. That’s why it’s a deep work because, why are we triggered? This is the first thing. Why are we triggered? And then how does it impact our reaction?
[00:12:16] Am I going to shout straight away? Am I going to cry? Am I going to escape? I might. So being aware of what’s happening when you’re triggered and then when you’re aware of what’s happening and when you’re triggered. Okay. What can be the solution in the moment? You can say, for example, if there’s a child shouting and everything.
[00:12:33] Okay. I understand that you’re feeling not well. And I’m okay with it, for you to express your emotions and cry whatsoever. I’m just going to go in my bedroom until you get back to balance, you see, and if you need me, I’m there. But we have the tendency to want to fix everything. Oh my poor child, stop crying [00:13:00] or changing the focus.
[00:13:02] So when the child has to express their emotion, I don’t know if you saw this video of a small baby of two years who was crying and crying. And the father was just sitting next to him and observing the child crying and crying until he had no more energy and he slept on his father’s lap. So the father was there to witness the child having big emotions, and it’s just okay to have big emotions because that means that we need to release them.
[00:13:28] Of course, as an adult, it’s not good to shout all the time, but when we start shouting then, okay, wait, wait, wait, I’m triggered. I have to show to my son that the solution or my daughter is not shout back, whatever happened. So right. Be conscious in the momenttake a deep breath, because breath helps the emotions to regulate -instantly.
[00:13:56] So it’s quick, it’s fast. [00:14:00] It’s easy to remember, easy to do and has fast results, right. But it starts by being aware.
[00:14:08] If you don’t have the awareness, how can you do the exercise in the moment? In the heat of the moment.
[00:14:16] Lauren Kinghorn: Exactly. That’s fantastic advice. Oh, the mom’s must be loving this. This is wonderful.
One Mom’s Story of Transformation
[00:14:23] Can you give me an example of someone who’s life changed from doing the work with you and how it changed for children and her.
[00:14:33] Francoise Hernert: So she came regarding a problem that she had with her son. And she was worried about her son, her son’s behavior, and that she was putting more and more distance because she could not handle her son’s behavior anymore.
[00:14:46] And so she was describing, my son is doing this, my son is doing that, I don’t like, I don’t know how to do, I’m getting more and more distance from him in, and one day she gave me a special example. She said, [00:15:00] yeah, he’s coming to wake me up in the night, I don’t like it. I don’t like it because I’m going to be very tired in the daytime and I have so many things to do. So that was her focus and her priority.
[00:15:11] Seeing how the child’s behavior was impacting her life. And then I asked her a simple question, but what do you think your child is trying to tell you, through coming to wake you up every evening during the middle of the night? And it took her some time before she understood what her child was trying to tell her. The child was just trying to tell her, Mommy, I need you, but I don’t know how to express myself.
[00:15:39] And when she shifted the focus that her priority was how she was going to feel in the daytime because of not enough sleep and seeing that wow, her child is asking for help and she’s rejecting the child. And then understanding that the more she continues rejecting the child, the more it’sgoing to create distance between the mother [00:16:00] and the child.
[00:16:01] And the child has only this too, even though he’s 11 is the only way he found to show his mother that he needed help. So I said, just imagine the fact that your child doesn’t come anymore and you can sleep well. And everything is okay in the day, but then whenever he has a problem, he knows that he cannot count on you.
[00:16:18] Then she was really crying, no, this is not what I want. And then she started seeing her child’s behavior with totally new glasses and she started to see her focus about herself in a totally different way. Because at the end of the day, we mothers, what we strive for the most, what we want the most is to have a strong connection with the children. It means that no matter what happens to them, they will know that they can come and see us.
[00:16:48] They can come talk to us, to have a discussion, but at least we know what’s the word of our children. How many children are silent? How many children are not sharing [00:17:00] their life? Their ups, their downs. We have to question ourselves. Why? If that’s what we want, what do we want as a mother at the end of our journey with our children, what do we want? Do we want them just to be successful and happy?
[00:17:18] And no communication, and then everything is okay. You know, the superficial thing, or would you really want a meaningful relationship, even when they’re adults?
[00:17:27] Lauren Kinghorn: Beautiful, I got goosebumps when you were telling that story, wow, that was amazing. Yeah. Shoo, and so the difference in their relationship now, so once she made that shift, how does the relationship look now?
[00:17:42] Francoise Hernert: So she was totally stressed and she was stressing her children and it was creating disconnection and she didn’t like it because she was seeing it, but she didn’t understand why. And when she understood why, and she changed her focus every day and understood what is really the priority in her [00:18:00] life, then she saw her life as a global in a different way.
[00:18:05] So for example, she was telling me, okay, I’m a perfectionist. I like to have bedroom tidied up home tidied up, but now, you know, it’s okay. It’s okay if the washing is not done because I’m spending time with my children, because at the end of the day, am I going to remember that my home was always the ideal or am I going to remember the time that I spent instead with my children and then building good memories for my children.
[00:18:29] So then, yeah, this was a huge shift because on the to-do-list was do do, do, do and remove, okay, I did the washing and the whatsoever I did this, but how much time did you remove quality time? Did you remove from your life with your children? Are they going to remember the washing and the tidy the house, or is it going to stress them in the future that they will say, oh, my mum was so much after me regarding clearing my bedroom and all that.
[00:18:58] And that’s the only thing they’re going to remember the [00:19:00] stress that you were giving about what were your priorities versus quality time that they spend with you and role modeling that you showed them? You know, what is really important.
How to be a Conscious Parent When You’re a Busy Mom
[00:19:12] Lauren Kinghorn: But that brings up a problem in my mind, because that housework doesn’t go away, you still have to do it sometime.
[00:19:19] Francoise Hernert: Yes, so time management, re-organize your time because you cannot be with your children all the time, then you have to decide, okay, is it the right time for me to spend some time with my children? And I can do this at another moment, instead of doing this, which is less priority. And then it’s a question of time management. Of course, you know what, even in the corporate life, you have a lot of things to do, but what is essential that you have to do in the day?
[00:19:52] What do you have to do now? And what can you do later?
[00:19:57] Lauren Kinghorn: Right. Good point.
[00:19:59] Francoise Hernert: Also, Lauren, [00:20:00] we have the tendency to do everything, but if we educate our children, you know, we can ask for help too. But instead we have the tendency to say, no, no, it’s okay. I’m going to do that. It’s going to be quicker if I do it myself, but is it helping our children? Are they then going to learn how to work, how to do this or how to do that? All is a question of choice.
[00:20:30] Lauren Kinghorn: Yeah. So it’s about saying, let’s do this together. We’ve got half an hour, in half an hour if we do the housework together, we can get it all done and then we can go and do something wonderful together.
[00:20:42] Francoise Hernert: Exactly, exactly. I mean, there are basic things, but I remember when I was hanging the clothes with my parents. For me, it was quality time because I learned something and I was doing things with my parents. It’s not that my parents were always asking me to help them to put the clothes on the line [00:21:00] and to remove the clothes, but yeah. Now I know how to put the clothes on the line on this and that I know how to do things because I did it with them.
[00:21:08] So I remember it as a fun time.
[00:21:12] Lauren Kinghorn: So that was good parenting and conscious parenting. Of course it really helps to have had very conscious parents yourself. I think it must be a lot harder for parents if they didn’t have very good parenting role models themselves. Have you worked with people who have told you that their role models weren’t good and now they don’t have a clue?
[00:21:37] Francoise Hernert: Oh yeah. There’s a lot of stories, sadly. Mothers who reject their child because they wanted a boy instead of having a girl, mothers who allow the father to beat the children, mothers who were, or fathers who were alcoholic and the impact on the child, there are a lot of stories coming from childhood.
[00:21:56] And of course all this developed fear and lack [00:22:00] of self-esteem and trauma. And that’s why the first part of the conscious parenting program is to dare to be vulnerable because you have to remove all what is under the carpet in order to be able to build on the strong foundation saying that, okay, this is what they did when I was a child.
[00:22:22] They didn’t know any other way at that time. It’s very hard to accept. They didn’t know any other way at that time in the moment, how to cope as a parent, maybe because they were beaten themselves by their parents, maybe because their parents were drunk already. So, you know, they can reproduce, maybe this was the only way to show their anger and frustration from their childhood.
[00:22:44] But that’s the only way they found when they were parents. And now are we going to keep that on our shoulders and let it pull us down? Or are we going to let it go? Which is very hard to do. Let go the [00:23:00] past and rebuild for ourselves and for our children in a different way, because we don’t want to reproduce that for children.
[00:23:08] Right. We don’t want that. Who wants that for their children?
[00:23:12] Lauren Kinghorn: So have you been able to help people in those situations because those are huge things to overcome and like you said, you’ve really got to do the inner work. Have you been able to help those kinds of cases really become totally different parents to what their own parents were?
[00:23:30] Francoise Hernert: Yeah. Especially a mother who had an alcoholic stepfather who was always beating her. And the mother was accepting to see that. [No protection]. Yeah. And so she ended up leaving the house at 16 years old because she could not stand the house anymore. And, so she had to spit it out. So it was a lot of sessions of crying and spitting it out and then realizing that, wow, do I want to keep this burden and keep it as a secret for my [00:24:00] children and, and show up now the true self that I’m meant to be.
A Mother Opens like a Lotus Flower
[00:24:06] And again, it’s a question of realization. Everybody has different stages of realization, it’s never the same. And it’s a question of readiness. When you’re ready. Wow. It’s awesome because you know, it’s like the Lotus becomes, the Lotus was completely closed and the Lotus becomes open and the mother realizes that, wow, I have so many gifts, I have so many things that, that I didn’t explore and now I’m ready to blossom lesson for myself and blossom for my children.
[00:24:36] That is amazing.
[00:24:38] And stress goes out. You feel much lighter, much excited about being a parent and solving issues in a different way. And of course, it shows, it shows on yourself and on your children.
[00:24:53] I can just imagine how amazing it is to be in your position and see those changes [00:25:00] and see that person opening up like a Lotus flower. That is incredible. The most fulfilling work that we can do is to help someone else fulfil their lifelong desires. Isn’t it? It’s amazing.
[00:25:14] Yeah. We only have one life. So do we want to live, always stressed where we then running after never-ending race or do really want to appreciate every day of it with no regrets?
[00:25:30] It’s a choice.
A Child Becomes the Hero After Being Bullied
[00:25:31] Lauren Kinghorn: Absolutely. Wow. That is stunning. So how did your child get over that bullying incident? What did he have to learn? And how was the obstacle the way for him in that situation?
[00:25:43] Francoise Hernert: Yeah, the bullying, like all bullying, they have the tendency to close up, so, not share anything because they believe that they are the problem, if they are bullied that means they are the problem and it took some time before my son could express [00:26:00] that, but I saw it through behavior, he didn’t express it openly, but he had a behavior towards his brother and through his behavior, I questioned myself. I said, I never saw you do that. How come you’re doing that? And he started crying and he said, yeah, you know, I have this and that at the school.
[00:26:19] I said, oh, wow. Okay. Then I understand it’s his way of manifesting his pain, of what he’s having at the school. So then he expressed everything what was happening at the school. I said, okay, if she wanted to stop, we have to go and talk to the school. No, no, no. I’m going to have more problems.
[00:26:37] I’m going to have this and that. I said, listen, you know, bullies are usually doing that one person, but not only you, other children. So you want to be a hero and through your behavior, have other children they’ll stop their bullying too, because they don’t have the power to go and talk about the problem or you want it to continue?
[00:26:59] And [00:27:00] then, so he was what he was 10, 11, and then he said, okay, let’s go. And then in what, one day, everything was solved. All the bullying with other children were stopped. [Wow. Amazing.] And then how did my child feel in this moment? Wow. He took back the control. He managed through his decision to stop the bullying because I needed him, right?
[00:27:25] If he didn’t express what was happening to the school, nothing would have stopped because they needed the witness. They need to understand who, when, what, where, and then they had an approach according to that, and everything stopped.
[00:27:39] Lauren Kinghorn: Amazing. And he became a hero, for himself and for the other children.
[00:27:44] Francoise Hernert: Now he understand that when there’s bullying, when he has witnessed a bullying, then he knows what to do because he was in this place. Is he going to just be an observer, like other children, or is he going to do something about it? So usually he goes and see the child who’s bullied [00:28:00] and he’s going to tell his story for the child to become a hero too.
[00:28:03] So it starts by communicating with the parents. But if the parent is not in the right space and not available to talk, well, the child is going to keep everything because don’t expect your child to go and see a stranger. He will prefer to talk to a parent but to able to talk to a parent he has to be feeling trust with the parent and to be able to feel trust, well conscious parenting has a lot of impact.
[00:28:30] Lauren Kinghorn: But if he could find someone you trust like his teacher, or if there’s someone that child can go to that’s in authority who can help him that already has solved… Yeah, totally. So sad that it may not be the parent, but in some cases, children do have to find someone else that feels safe.
[00:28:51] Francoise Hernert: And sometimes it can be a brother or sister, sometimes it can be a friend. Sometimes there are other ways, but sometimes the child believe that he’s alone and [00:29:00] he’s so afraid that he has to keep a secret. And then the damage in the adulthood are terrible, terrible, because they keep this memory
[00:29:13] Bullying is a serious issue that mothers have to really, really be aware, by observing your children’s behavior. If they see that the children behavior is changing is moody, they have to go and look, what’s behind. There’s something behind. It may not be only bullying. It can be bullying pressure from a teacher, because this is also bullying.
[00:29:36] Stupid boy, you’re never going to succeed and this and that. That’s another way.
[00:29:43] Lauren Kinghorn: Exactly. Wow. You’ve given us so much today. Fran, Thank you so much. It’s been really amazing. Is there anything you would like to end with to feel that this has been complete?
[00:29:57] Francoise Hernert: I would say trust [00:30:00] yourself and take the time to pause on what really matters in your life and what is important for you instead of just running after your to-do list and how you have to show up in this world.
[00:30:16] So, yeah, take the time to pause and also appreciate what you have because we have a tendency to always want more and more and not appreciating all what we have in this moment.
[00:30:30] And we have a lot of abundance, whatever the type of abundance.
[00:30:35] Lauren Kinghorn: That is beautiful. Thank you for those beautiful words. And thank you so much for your time.
We have discussed in length around this topic in my foster support groups and it is always so good to see others bringing this parenting style to the forefront of discussion. I love your format and how inclusive this podcast is for the deaf community- blog articles are so much easier to follow than captions sometimes. Thank you for making your article accessible to more populations 🙂
Aah, wonderful to hear that conscious parenting comes up in your foster support groups. Thank You for your comment, Rachel and I’m glad you enjoyed reading the transcription in this format.