Clinical psychologist and best-selling author Shefali Tsabary has become a go-to resource for parents seeking encouragement as they do their very best to raise happy and healthy children. Her new book, “The Parenting Map: Step-by-Step Solutions to Consciously Create the Ultimate Parent-Child Relationship,” is being described as a parenting manual. At a time when pressures on parents and children seem to be at all-time highs, I asked Dr. Shefali for her best parenting advice. Here’s what she said.
The Epoch Times: What inspired you to write “The Parenting Map”?
Shefali Tsabary: Parents, the world over, are confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. I have dedicated my career to helping parents feel more empowered and confident in their parenting. This is why I wrote this book.
All parents need help, and this is the manual that every parent wishes their child was born with. It is the how-to book of conscious parenting. In 20 steps, I outline all the strategies and tools parents can use to elevate their parenting to become more conscious. Every step has practice exercises for parents to use to build stronger connections with their children and to allow them to grow into empowered and resilient human beings.
The Epoch Times: The world has been through some trials of late to say the least, and both parents and children seem to be feeling great pressure. What most concerns you about parenting today?
Ms. Shefali: The most concerning element of modern parenting today is the intense level of distractions we see all around us. The most important ingredient for raising healthy children is present and connected parents, and yet this seems to be in jeopardy today as parents are so distracted and overwhelmed by technology and social media. The less a parent is present and attentive in the early years of childhood, the greater the risk the child faces to grow up feeling unworthy and anxious.
The Epoch Times: Reports of increasing childhood anxiety, depression, and even suicide are on parents’ minds these days. What do you believe is causing this disturbing trend?
Ms. Shefali: Increased isolation and decreased social connection are often at the root of these ailments. Children thrive when they are ensconced in connected and consistent relationships. When they do not have this in their lives, they flounder and feel a sense of inner unworthiness. They feel as if they are not worthy enough for their parents’ attention and focus. And they are more prone to outside influences and interference.
The Epoch Times: Another great concern of many parents is the impact of social media on their children. What limits, if any, do you advise parents to put in place for their children (and perhaps, themselves) when it comes to social media?
Ms. Shefali: I strongly advise parents to adopt a “NO SCREENS TIL TEENS” policy at the very least, and even then, to have strict boundaries and guidelines for them to follow. Our children’s brains are not able to work through the constant stimulation that these algorithms provide and these rob our children of their innate needs of play, quiet, boredom, and creativity.
The Epoch Times: “The Parenting Map” centers on the idea of the ultimate parent–child relationship. What does that look like?
Ms. Shefali: The ultimate parent–child relationship is one where both within the relationship feel as though they are being honored and seen for who it is they are. It is a connected and respectful relationship instead of a controlling and hierarchical one.
The Epoch Times: What’s the one thing you wish every parent understood?
Ms. Shefali: That our children are not our possessions or objects that we can control or maneuver, but instead are here to claim their own sovereign spirit and direction. Once we recognize their sovereign spirit, they will be able to thrive and soar.