Trust your parenting instincts


We all know about the 5 senses but we often neglect the sixth sense, our intuition. When we pay attention to our intuition, that sense gets stronger. The more you listen to it, the more wisdom you access in all areas of your life. When it comes to being a good parent, moms and dads are wiser than they know. Here's how we can pay more attention to our parenting instincts, says Laura Bushnell, the mom of 3 grown children.

1. Stop Rushing Around With Your Children.
Often, parents mistakenly assume that providing activities, projects, and playdates, is a way for their children to be happy and satisfied. If you're going to pay attention to your children and their needs and heed your instincts as a parent, you need to block out downtime when nothing is on the books. That's when you have "talk me down time" where you can actually sit and converse with your children and see what's on their minds and in their hearts. You will instinctively know better how to parent them after these regular talking times.

2. Receive The Love Of Your Children.
When I see moms and dads rushing to provide for their kids and running around checking off the daily to-do list, there is no time carved out to allow the receipt of love from their children. Children desperately want to give their parents love, to give a hug, to play with their parents, to draw, skip, run, and ENJOY each other in the daily tasks that make a household run efficiently. When is the last time you said to your child, "Mommy would love a hug" or "Would you like to help Mommy make dinner?" It is our natural instinct to ask for help but parents often don't do that with our kids--and they really want to be helpful little household citizens! And when parents allow themselves to be nurtured and loved by their kids, we become healthy role models for our children in giving and receiving love. It is good for your child to know that love is not a one-way street!

3. Follow-Thru On Your Instinct's Messages.
Listen to the whispers of intuition - notice how often we "think things" but do not follow up on them. I had a young man who had a dream about his daughter playing the piano. When I met them his daughter was 7 and they had no piano. At 10 she was asking for one and by 13 she was doing concerts. She was a natural. * Instincts are like whispers but you have to listen to them! Sometimes that means getting quiet enough to hear what you instinctively know. I often work with parents who are having difficulties with their children - and find that these parents are often going against their natural instincts and doing what someone else told them to do.

Another example: A mother was breastfeeding for 7 months but was feeling that he son was not getting enough food. He was crying all the time waking up all night. She wanted to stop but her mother wanted her to continue. When she started doing what she wanted - which was to quit - her son began to sleep through the night and was much easier.

4. Pay Attention To Your Body's Messages.
Feel your body - our bodies are communication devices. When one of my clients left her daughter at school one day she had a terrible stomach ache. She left her and it got worse and worse. She drove back and picked her up. That day there was a shooting at the school and though it was not in the class room she was in - the entire school was affected. She listened to her body. Have you ever had chills when you thought of something? Trust those chills.

5. Focus On The Positive With Your Kids. Make a point of naming and discussing the positive things that happen every day with your child. Be a positive influence on your children by showing them that where you place your attention is within their control. Pretty soon, it will become their natural instinct to look for the good that is happening and that will make your job as a parent easier and more pleasant too. energy follows thought - so when you are positive - positive things happen.

For more information about Laura Bushnell, visit

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