From recognizing the energy field in your home to dealing with temper tantrums, learn to give your children the attention and connection they need to feel seen.
How to get the most out of these Wisdom Quotes:
Put aside everything you think you already know.
Open your mind and heart to receive something new.
Take your time going through each point.
Return to any points that particularly touch you.
In the coming days, listen carefully to the wisdom within you.
* All quotes by Eckhart Tolle, from the video: How to Teach Presence to Children in the Digital Age
1. Notice Your Home Environment
"The most important thing is the energy field at home. The energy that you and your wife generate at home, which is a reflection of both your states of consciousness, is one of the most important factors. What is the general energy field that, on a daily basis, you and your wife manifest, generate in this home environment?
I do know that, nowadays, many home environments have a very nervous energy field because everybody is so busy getting things done. The parents are busy getting things done, and the children are encouraged to continuously do this and do that, or sometimes encouraged to stop doing this or stop doing that. And then they have the additional layer of electronic devices.
There’s always something, the next thing to do, that seems to be in the underlying energy of your team. What’s the next thing that we need to do? And, have you done that yet? Come on!
Many well-meaning parents interact with their children predominantly (90% or more) on the level of doing - either do this or stop doing that. And so, the being of the child is never fully acknowledged."
"The most important thing is the energy field at home." We all know this, intuitively, but perhaps have never given it much consideration.
What is the atmosphere like in your home? Is there a busyness and nervous energy, with members of the family rushing to get things done? There's no need to judge, just notice.
Notice also how you tend to interact with your children. Is it mostly on the level of telling them what to do and what not to do? Be honest, not condemning, and open your eyes to see clearly.
In the coming days, as you become more aware of the energy in your home and your interaction with your children, consider the statement: "the being of the child is never fully acknowledged."
2. Give Your Full Attention
"In order to acknowledge the being of the child you have to spend moments when you give the child your fullest attention.
Not your fullest attention because you’re talking about something that needs to be done, but your fullest attention, for example, by just listening to the child when he has something to say to you. Or giving your fullest attention occasionally, by just observing him or her as they go about their life in the house.
It just needs to be a few minutes where your attention rests upon them, even if they are not directly interacting with you.
Observe them at play, without telling them to do this or that, or don’t do this or that, but simply allow your attention to rest on them and watch them - in that state of thoughtless awareness, where you’re just the aware presence for the children.
And then, occasionally, when they come close to you, look into their eyes. It doesn’t have to be long. You look into their eyes when you talk to them, when they talk to you, and in that moment of looking, you connect with their being.
So, that part of your interaction with the child is not based on doing, but on a flow of being towards the child, so that you connect on the level of being. That means you acknowledge the deeper reality of that child. You truly acknowledge their being."
Let your intuition guide you into moments of full attention throughout your day and experience a restful awareness of simple connection without an agenda.
Be open to spending more time watching your children play or just going about their day. Be open to making eye contact with them sometimes when they speak to you. Just be open.
When they speak to you, consciously relax your breathing and your body so that you can give them your full attention and really listen, without being in a hurry to respond.
"It just needs to be a few minutes where your attention rests upon them, even if they are not directly interacting with you." Don't believe any thoughts that come up around this being difficult or not having time, or that you already do this and your children are fine. What you are doing here is connecting on the level of being, not doing, so there is always something fresh and new here for us to enter into.
3. See With New Eyes
"I would suggest that in most modern families, children get in states of anxiety or great restlessness which later become, in teenage years, states of antagonism and anger. And I would suggest that often the child doesn’t know why there is this anger and restlessness.
It often goes back to the parents. They’ve done everything for the child on the doing level but the children feel unseen by the parent.
They feel unseen in their being.
They’re not acknowledged in their being, and if they are unseen, that vital dimension of their being feels starved and the deepest connection with the child is missing.
The parent doesn’t know that. They think, “I’m doing all I can.”
Eckhart points out that so much anxiety, restlessness and anger are born from an unmet need in our children.
"They feel unseen in their being." Perhaps you are familiar with this feeling of not being acknowledged and feeling starved of true connection. Surely this is something to be aware of when we talk about mental health.
The parents have "done everything for the child on the doing level." "They think, “I’m doing all I can.” You can certainly be forgiven for thinking that you need to do so many things for your children. However, we must no longer overlook the most important thing.
"The deepest connection with the child is missing." There is no substitute for deep connection. And it's not difficult. It's not difficult to see someone, to really see them. It may take some effort in the beginning because we're not used to being completely present. But it soon becomes so natural and fulfilling, meeting a mutual need.
4. Be Spacious Instead of Reactive
"Now, you don’t give them the attention when they demand it through throwing a tantrum. That’s not the moment to give it to them.
When the tantrum does happen, it’s good if you can be spacious and allow it to be while it happens instead of reacting, so that they don’t pull you into a similar state of consciousness, where you get angry because they’re in a tantrum.
If you can, take that as a signal to be really alert and present and observe. That is not the moment, though, to connect, because at that moment the child’s pain body is there, covering up the essence of their being. So, the moment they demand attention is not the best moment to give them attention.
The demand for attention can also be an egoic thing. The ego doesn’t want attention on the deepest level. It doesn’t know what the deepest level is. The ego wants a different kind of attention.
It wants you to strengthen the ego in the child, so it is often also a desire of the ego to control the environment. Very young children cry very loudly because it’s an attempt of the developing ego to exert some control over the environment and, in this situation, it’s good not to give them what they demand.
But give them attention in other moments, and the real attention is to let your awareness rest upon them. Look at them. See them. They want to be seen. That’s their being. Acknowledge their being.
Again, I have to repeat it because it’s so important. Don’t always interact only through doing or don’t do this, don’t do that, which tends to be the case with families."
We tend to associate tantrums with very young children, but they can also manifest in older children and even adults. What can you do when your child throws a tantrum?
Space. You give them space, "so that they don’t pull you into a similar state of consciousness, where you get angry because they’re in a tantrum." Have you ever noticed the domino effect of tantrums, when the anger and frustration keep spreading and escalating? Instead, being spacious and allowing it to happen can diffuse the situation.
You don't give them the attention they demand. We have been speaking all week of the importance of connecting with your children, yet, in circumstances like this, you really can't connect "because at that moment the child’s pain body [old, emotional pain] is there, covering up the essence of their being." Recognizing this keeps you in that place of spaciousness, rather than helplessness.
So, other than doing nothing, what's the best way to interact with them when the tantrum is happening? "Be really alert and present and observe." In another video, Eckhart points out that you don't even need patience if you are present. Presence already includes patience, forgiveness, and everything that is needed in that moment.
5. Emanate Peace Into Your Home
“With your wife, make sure that there is some spaciousness in your relationship. No matter how busy the household is, make sure there’s some spaciousness emanating from both of you, some peace.
Even though you may be busy, there’s some peace emanation into the energy field in your home that comes from you.
Children respond very much to the energy field that they grow up in. It affects them very deeply.
The interaction between you and your wife is what generates that energy field.”
In today's quote, we come back to the crucial matter of the energy we create in the family home. In the conversation about mental health, there is often much emphasis on doing various activities, and the subtle matter of energy can be completely overlooked.
Being aware of the energy field you (and your partner) are creating in your home empowers you. Awareness brings with it space and a slowing down to the natural pace of life.
These spacious moments become the peace that transforms the family environment.
In this peace, your children are given the opportunity to grow up in a way that fosters real connection and well-being. It all begins and ends with awareness.
6. Acknowledge Their Beautiful Being
"Give them attention. It doesn’t have to be long periods of time, but often.
At night, before bedtime, during the day - watch them, listen to them fully.
And don’t interfere with some kind of advice.
Acknowledge their beautiful being which is there. That’s the greatest thing you can do for the child."
Many of us will read these words and immediately judge ourselves. I am the first to admit that I have interfered many times with some well-meaning advice for my children. There is a time for advice, but that should not be the main form of communication.
Judgment directed at ourselves and others is not helpful. Always remember that. What IS helpful is to acknowledge your child's beautiful being.
It isn't difficult or time-consuming. It's simple and it happens in short moments of connection, where everything else is put to one side and you give your full, undivided attention. After all, your full attention is the most precious gift you can give anyone.
It's during these short, simple moments of attention that the whole of life and love open up to you in a way that you discover how deeply connected your heart can be with another human being. And, in the process, you become the conscious parent your child truly needs.