The spiritual tasks of parents in the infant and toddler years

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The spiritual tasks of parents in the infant and toddler years

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Every stage of parenthood brings about very unique, specific emotional and spiritual challenges. For the infancy stage and the toddlerhood stage, there are so many lessons for the parent. Let's talk about infancy for a moment. You know, here comes this infant completely engrassed in their primal need. And if we understand it in spiritual terms, they are devoid of intellectualization. They are completely emotion. IN their being state, they are divorced from doing. They do not care about appearances or all the things that we parents care about, so they kind of compel the parent to enter their own being state. And this can be a challenge for some parents. Fathers, typically, research has shown find it hard to connect with infants because fathers typically, men typically are primed for action, primed for doing, primed for some sort of intellectual conversating. So just to be in that non-verbal primal state of being is a challenge. But precisely there lies the spiritual jewel. Because we are forced to enter into this very quiet, spacious stillness where we connect with our infant being-to-being. There is no pressure for performance or any sort of external anxiety. Then comes the toddler. And the toddler comes with its own storm of chaos. I don't believe there's any planet quite like toddlerhood. The toddler comes with over the top emotions, unpredictability, chaos. I write in my book that there isn't a broom wide enough to sweep away the dust and grime of toddlerhood. And the toddler is so budding and independent and yet so helpless. And the spiritual lesson for toddlerhood I think for the parent is to dance that fine line between holding the toddler in their helplessness yet freeing the toddler in their autonomy. And this constant push and pull and being able to stay in that space and doing the dance moment by moment allowing the toddler to evolve or regress is the spiritual task of the parent.

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Shefali Tsabary, PhD

Clinical Psychologist & Author

Shefali Tsabary, PhD is the author of the award-winning book, The Conscious Parent. This book has been heralded as a game-changer in the parenting field. Dr. Shefali is an international speaker on conscious parenting and mindful living. She has a private practice in New York.  

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