ABOUT CONSCIOUS PARENTING
"Our task is to educate the human being in such a way that he or she can bring to expression in the right way that which is living in the whole human being, and on the other side that which puts him or her into the world in the right way." Rudolf Steiner
Raising children today
As parents, today, we are quite free to raise our children as we please, perhaps for the first time in history, now that grand-parents, family, culture and traditions have faded from being directing sources and prominent guides. Parents are now in a unique situation: we are free, but we can also be alone. Raising children has become an individual, rather than a community, endeavour, and many parents ask themselves how to proceed, and on what to base their decision making.
For many parenting issues, we have access to a huge amount of information, a large portion of which is based on medical studies and psychology. We owe the success of modern births to hygiene and medicine, and psychology gives us great insight into the development of socialisation and learning. For the shaping of our everyday life, however, for all the small decisions along the way that make up our lifestyle, that reflect our most intimate values, we are necessarily much more alone. Yet very simple things such as babies’ environment, how they are handled, how they are related to, what foods they are fed, all have a profound effect on them. Things that seem subtle in their effects early on, have consequences only much later in life.
A conscious approach
If, in light of this, we are interested in what the ideal environment, care and foods are, to allow the child to develop to their healthiest, strongest potential, also long term, then we need to take into consideration the whole picture of what a child is, and what their real needs are. From this perspective, it behooves us to take a conscious approach to parenting, observe our children, observe ourselves and ask ourselves questions.
For example: What surroundings best serve the child's
physical, social and mental development? How can we
best support their growth and development in each
stage and at each level of consciousness? How do we
give them the greatest potential for becoming healthy,
capable, intelligent, creative, independently thinking,
socially responsible and responsive human beings? What
changes can we as parents make in our thinking and
attitudes? How can we apply these things to everyday
life and care of the child?
The conscious parenting guide
In this little guide, I have gathered information from
research I did, to share with parents asking themselves
the same or similar questions, focusing in particular on
the practical aspect of the question of parenting. I have sketched suggestions and thoughts to some issues that
seem important, given as considerations for parents to
guide themselves through parenthood - that is, for you
to make your own conscious choices. This is a sketch, a
first draft of looking at the practical side of these
questions. Those interested in the philosophical aspect
may pursue their research. (See Recommended reading,
Links, below.) In a nutshell: we must become our children’s protectors, and to do that we have to understand what their true needs are.
I am aware that some of these suggestions may not be for everyone to take up - some are quite contrary to what seems normally done in our society. With taking up some of these ideas, one will be swimming upstream of social trends. But social trends are not generally created with children's wellbeing in mind...
The thoughts behind much of what is here are based on principles and insights given by Rudolf Steiner, who gave the education principles and curriculum of the Waldorf or Steiner School movement. I have added a list of Steiner's books on education in the recommended reading list.
Mother and child
"Our hope is to participate in the creation of a more benevolent society, that is, a society that gives human beings the possibility to develop and exercise their creativity."
Michel Odent MD 
Mother and baby by Mary Cassat
"We receive him badly, when he enters to our world. And yet, this world we have created is destined for him, it is his to take up and bring to greater state of progress to ours."
Maria Montessori 
 Odent, Michel, Dr. Bien naître, Éditions du Seuil, Paris, France, 1977 Page 131
 Quote from Maria Montessori, L’enfant, Gonthier Denoël, in Odent, Michel, Dr. Bien naître, pages 29, 30