S1E12 - Conscious Parenting with Alex Cantone
Alex Cantone’s educational background:
Undergraduate degree in Child Development and Family Studies. Also focused on special education.
Worked as a small group instructor for basic skills instruction. Took curriculum and catered it to student’s individual needs.
Went to graduate school and got her masters degree in Inclusive Education and Developmental Models of Autism Intervention.
She learned things in standard education programs that she didn’t align with. She felt that children’s ability to express themselves freely was being diminished.
Teachers are held on a pedestal for the work they do with children, and especially with special needs children. People say things like, “Wow, I could never do what you do for these children!” In reality, these kids are human beings. Being a teacher is not a “sent from Heaven” kind of job. This mentality has to do with a disheveled education system that we idolize and put up on a pedestal.
Teacher’s truly are amazing! But it takes a lot to go against an educational system and say “This isn’t right.”
Alex couldn’t be a fraud inside of the traditional education system, so she broke out on her own. She thought about what she saw that didn’t make sense.
She was burnt out from her job and graduate school and basically not living in alignment with her true purpose. She was then introduced to Human Design.
Human Design helped Alex to understand herself more deeply. She figured out how she is meant to energetically dance with the world. Human Design gave her a permission slip to throw away the things that weren’t working in her life. It took away the guilt and shame she felt around who she thought she was supposed to be. She began to embrace who she really is. (A Projector!).
She pieced together her background in education and what was going wrong in the educational system. She understood behavior from a different perspective and realized she could help parents see parenting through a more conscious lens by combining her background as a developmental specialist and Human Design.
Through The Conscious Parent Guide, Alex helps to elevate consciousness, debunk systems and reinvent them, and create digestible information for parents so that they don’t have to go do a ton of research on their own.
We need to be focused on changing consciousness so that we are not repeating the same mistakes of previous generations or creating mini-me’s, which are just projections of what we think is best for our children based off our own experiences of being parented.
“I just want to be a bit better parent than my parents were to me.” This mentality isn’t serving anyone and isn’t causing any real change!
Human Design can be explained as our energetic blueprint, or the instruction manual that comes with us when we are born. Human Design charts are very complex, so its best to find valid resources and people who can read your chart or help you understand how to read your own chart.
How do we help parents have the courage to raise their kids the way their children need them to?
For Thought’s Sake Alex’s mom was the bravest woman when it came to parenting. If her kids wanted to do something that would be seen by others as “weird,” she would let her kids do it anyway. When one of Alex’s sister was three years old, she wanted to wear pants on her head so she could have long hair like Pocahontas. Alex’s mom let that little girl walk around proudly wearing pants on her head despite what anyone thought of it. She was brave enough to not let the opinions of others affect how she let her children express themselves.
Mastering your child’s Human Design energy type isn’t going to make you the perfect parent.
If a child’s behavior or preferences is not causing harm, if it’s not unsafe, then why not let them do it? At the end of the day the parent shouldn’t be worried about the child being perceived differently. Let them be them self! More often parents halt their child’s behavior because they are worried about being criticized by others about their parenting strategies.
Parents think they need to craft a perfect, prim and proper child, but that diminishes the child’s ability to show up as their true self.
In order for parents to foster this in their child, they have to foster it in themselves first. Parents have their own fears and insecurities that keep them from allowing their children to be their most authentic self. Often its because the parent is not being their own authentic self.
If a parent wants to fix, change, or improve something about their child then that means there is something about themselves that they haven’t faced.
The things that we deem as being wrong with others is really an invitation to look in the mirror and ask yourself why you feel this way about about this person.
The “WHY” is a really important part of Alex’s work with parents. We are impulsive and conditioned beings that judge things or say no to things just to fit the model that has been created for us. When you start to question everything you do and why you do it, you’ll realize that you may have no idea why you’re doing certain things or it may come from your own conditioning. You may have just been told by someone else that something was true and you therefore took it on as truth without questioning anything about why that is or isn’t so.
Example: you don’t want your child to jump on the couch. Why? Because it’s inappropriate. Why? Because that’s what I was told by my parents. Why were you told its inappropriate? Because as a child I jumped on the couch in my muddy shoes and got it dirty, so I was banned from jumping on the couch.
How can we reframe the conditioning the parent has had, decondition it, and then reframe your understanding of what you can do instead of punishing the child with a time out, for example, for jumping on the couch?
Instead of punishing the child for the behavior you deemed as inappropriate, Alex asks you to look at why the child may be engaging in that behavior. Children are not acting inappropriately to annoy their parents or purposely disobey their parents. There are usually underlying reasons that have to do with what the child is needing.
You then transition to asking yourself if you truly think that jumping on the couch is a bad thing as well as why your child is exhibiting this behavior. It may be that the child is jumping on the couch because they have too much energy and are trying to self-regulate. In that case they need something to get their energy out. In your household is jumping on the couch okay? And why is it or isn’t it okay? If you don’t want them jumping on the couch, how else can you help facilitate them self-regulating and getting out the energy that they need to?
This is all about reframing our understanding of the “why” behind the child’s behavior. Human Design is what helps Alex understand if certain behaviors are in the child’s nature and how we can approach the behavior according to their energy type and design.
Alex’s session with parents are actually very gentle. All she is doing in a session is gently guiding the parents attention in a way that creates a more conscious outlook on the behavior they are engaging in in their every day life.
Children’s behaviors are often a signal for help.
Rules are only great if they come with a solid reason for why each rule is in place.
There is a societal expectation that parents can control their child. Parents are often using certain parenting techniques just to prove to others that they are doing it “right.”
There is a lot of shame that parents have around keeping their children controlled in public environments. We need to have more compassion for parents and embrace the imperfections of ourselves and our children. Our children can’t help it that they can’t hold it together all the time. We hold our children to a higher standard of perfection than we hold ourselves to.
Why are we shaming the parent that has a child that is crying in public? Parents are trying so hard. There is so much consuming language and expectation around what it means to be a good mother that all moms are concentrated on when their child breaks down in a public setting. They’re afraid of looking like a bad mother.
A heightened reaction from parents initiates a stress cycle and the child can sense it through the inter-brain connection ( a shared intuitive channel). When a parent is stressed because their child can’t calm down, it causes the child to get more stressed. When the parent is stressed they have no ability to be an external regulator for their child. and therefore your stress cycle begins winding up and up and causes the child to wind up. Now both parent and child are escalated. It then follows with shame and pain and guilt and embarrassment. We need more compassion and empathy for parents with children out in public having a hard time.
The child acting out is really the child trying to get their parents attention to say, “Hey! Something is not working correctly in my body right now and I need help!”
When a child is not thriving in their environment, the first response has generally been to fix the child and change the child to make them act better. The problem is not always the child, but is something going on in the environment that we are not aware of. And we have no idea how the child is responding to it. Their behaviors are our signposts that something is amiss. The more that we suppress children’s behaviors and reactions, the more we are telling them that they do not need to be seen or heard.
We need to shift our perspective. It takes more than acknowledging how hard parents have it. There’s so much more to the child-parent dynamic and we need to shift our perspective and address the “why.” Look for the reason, source, and stem for where it all started. When you find the why behind the behavior, you can eliminate stress early on and avoid de-conditioning later.
Parents don’t always have tools to reach for when their child is behaving in certain ways. Alex is providing the tools to help parents learn how to best help themselves and to help their child.
You can find Alex Cantone of The Conscious Parent Guide here:
Feel free to reach out to her! She loves hearing from parents about the things they need help working on so that she can create content that is applicable to real life struggles parents are facing.
Jenna Zoe - Human Design