Approach To Parenting
by Sherrie Wharton MA, OTR/L
“What’s your screen name, cell number or e-mail address? Let’s IM
each other, put me on your buddy list.” I hear children talking like
this all the time. We live in a world with mind and spirit numbing
technology. The world is fast paced, electronic and colorful but
separates us from our inner essence. Children lose themselves in
computers, television, x-boxes, play stations and cell phones,
disconnecting further from their higher selves.
Children and adults are busy with technology and life. Since parents
are overwhelmed juggling their hectic lives, it’s harder to foster
children’s inner spiritual development. Dual career families are
common. Their time and their schedules have to be orchestrated.
Completing everything needed per day is stressful. Carving out time
for yourself is rare. As a result of being swept up with the busy
pace of living, you go through life anesthetized. Society does not
encourage you to be awake, live consciously. Despite busy lives,
children need parents as beacons of light helping steer them toward
their blossoming spirit.
I am an Occupational Therapist (OT with Master’s Degree) who has
used spiritual approaches to parenting. I have 18 years pediatric
experience and am a Master Instructor of Integrated Energy Therapy®
Here are my suggestions for helping children reconnect with their
|Decrease exposure to technology
|Model and encourage: access to feelings and untapped
|Practice sacred listening |
Limit the amount of time daily on the computer and TV. Replace this
time with children meditating five minutes per day. They would also
benefit from wrapping up in a blanket and reading, creating a quiet
space using a bean bag chair or pillows with a ‘tent” like a blanket
draped over, soaking in a bubble bath, playing games, hiking,
walking a dog, engaging in sports or recreational activities (ie.
basketball, skating, tag, etc.). These activities help calm
children. Encourage children to develop their creative skills (e.g.
painting, playing with clay or a musical instrument, creative
writing or movement, crocheting, computer programming, etc.). Even
more important than excelling is the joy and increased self-esteem
from participation. An early skill can sometimes lead to a career.
However, more often, the benefits are constructive use of time,
nurturing friendships, stress reduction, and bolstering
Evaluate if your child’s hectic schedule is causing too much stress.
Reduce the number of activities if necessary. Also, when choosing
activities with your child, consider whether it helps him/her
connect to his/her higher self and boost confidence. Be selective.
One way parents get support with their spiritual journey is by
classes such as yoga, meditation etc. Children can benefit from
these types of classes as well. They also provide positive outlets
for stress reduction and strengthen healthy bodies.
Setting An Example
It’s easy to go through life asleep but deeply dissatisfied. If you,
as parents, awaken from your slumber you reveal your own
magnificence, truth, power, and intuition. You serve as role models
to your children. Virginia Satir, a renowned Family Therapist
explains that parents need to be congruent with their own feelings.
Sometimes children observe you upset. If they ask if you are, answer
honestly but details are not necessary. This develops a child’s
sense of trust and intuition.
Teaching Your Children
People can yell or misdirect their energy and not reveal what’s
under the surface. Encourage your children to identify and connect
to their authentic feelings. To foster this concept ask questions
that elicit feelings such as, “What is your gut reaction?” This
develops intuition. “How do you feel about this situation?” This
teaches them to value their opinion instead of seeking the approval
of others. Ask them to tune in quietly and take their time before
responding. Rather than burying, stuffing or numbing feelings, allow
them to rise to the surface. Give permission for your child to cry
and hold a sacred space for his/her feelings. Invite children to
acknowledge all their emotions both light and dark. Concealing
feelings squelches power. Teach them they have strength. They can
face difficulties they didn’t know they were capable of tackling
such as peer pressure, the stress of tests, team tryouts etc. Remind
them to trust their intuition and ability to make decisions. Be
creative. Seeing them as competent, even when the waters are rough,
accesses hidden strength and connects them with their inner spirit.
Use a variety of tools. When my son was young, we would brainstorm
through roll playing all different ways to handle bullies on the
school bus including using humor to parental intervention. Now there
are wonderful library books and web sites on the topic of bullying.
In coping with peer pressure, what has been beneficial for my
daughter, is fostering open communication and encouraging expression
of her feelings. What I have found particularly useful for myself,
family, adults, and children, is incorporating an energy technique
called Integrated Energy Therapy® (IET). IET is founded by Stevan
Thayer. Energy sessions help heighten awareness of feelings and
clears blocks. Recognizing your feelings
connects you to your power and inner strength.
Listening does not mean indulging your children’s every request. Not
at all. It means hearing them and coming up with respectful
solutions. It is important for a child to know the value of what
they say and share. This can be achieved by being heard and
acknowledged. Try to carve at least 10 minutes each day just to
listen empathetically. When listening, suspend judgments or the urge
to advise (unless requested). Just acknowledge feelings expressed.
Taking time to create a sacred space of listening can help a child
access his/her inner resources.
Connecting Through IET -an energy technique
In our bodies emotions get stored and blocked by stress, fear, and
self-limiting thoughts. IET removes stuck energy and brings the body
back to its natural state of balance and joy. I have found IET both
personally and professionally effective. Therefore, I am privileged
to teach a 2 1/2 hour workshop where children learn IET. Parents are
also welcome to attend. Some of the benefits of IET include:
recognizing your feelings, accessing inner strength, transforming
stress into positive energy, connecting to your special angel,
tapping into inner glory and unlimited potential. Through
participation in this workshop, children learn a technique called,
The HeartLink Process. This powerful and simple tool is a way to
send and receive love from the angels. Mastering this process helps
children deal effectively with many stresses such as test taking,
team tryouts, overcome fear from nightmares and send positive energy
to those in need. I give each attendee a 14 page well illustrated
IET for Kids book to take home as well as a certificate of
completion. At East Norwich Therapeutic Wellness Center I combine
Occupational Therapy and IET. In addition, I give one on one IET
sessions for adults and children in the office, home or by phone.
You can reach me at 631-421-0502 or through e-mail at
Within each child is a rich reservoir of resources and inner beauty.
What a privilege to nourish every child on their journey.