Today I am thrilled to have my dear friend and yogini Carrie Hensley of Dharma Connections share her parenting wisdom with us today.
Tell us a little about your family
We are a sweet family of three, my husband Chris, our son Drew, and me. We live in sunny Mesa, Arizona. We own a yoga studio & café, which has provided some fertile soil to stretch our relationships, provide Drew with his first job, and grow closer together as a family. We love anything outdoors from kayaking to four wheeling to camping. Currently, we are in the beginning stages of launching, as Drew is a sophomore in high school.
Describe as best you can what kind of parenting style you use
I would describe my style as holistic. I have always tried to view Drew as a whole being. Having taught yoga for fourteen years, I have come to understand the power of letting go of my expectations in order to create the space to allow Drew to become who he was meant to be.
What do you see your role is as a parent?
My role as a parent continues to evolve through the different ages for Drew. Right now, I would consider myself to be more of a guide than a parent. He is at a stage in his young life where he needs to begin to spread his wings of independence.
One of my greatest parenting mentors shared with me that, between the ages of 14-21, you want to treat your child like you would your best friend. Instead of getting irritated at him when he calls saying he forgot his homework, I ask myself what I would do for a friend. This particular instance happened about six months ago. Drew forgot something that was worth a good portion of his grade. I could hear the stress in his voice over the phone. He is an A student, on the track team, and even did a leadership program at Stanford this past summer so I was grateful for an opportunity to show him that I trust and believe in him. About two days later he forgot something else. I did not receive a phone call. When he recounted the story, I asked why he didn’t call me. He said he should have learned his lesson the first time around. This whole experience taught him that not only can he count on me but also that he has to depend on himself.
What has been the most difficult part of parenting for you and what helped you through this?
For me, the most difficult aspect of parenting is letting go of control. Often when there is resistance or a certain desired outcome, fear is lurking nearby. It might be my fear of failing Drew as a parent, fear of what others think of my parenting, or fear of Drew getting hurt (intellectually I recognize he will get hurt… but think mama bear in the wild who will do ANYTHING to protect her cubs), etc. that catapults my need to control and obsess.
Yoga and mindfulness are two tools that have “saved” Drew and me on numerous occasions. Both have helped me step back and observe, rather than react to, the source of my fear. As I come to understand the root cause of my need to control, I can let it go and trust the process to unfold as it needs to.
What has been the most rewarding part of parenting?
The most beautiful aspect of parenting has been to watch Drew evolve into all that he was meant to be… to see his soul dance behind his eyes… to know that he is content… to know that he is confident in who he is at his core and the path he is meant to follow. Can we ask for anything more as parents?
Twenty years from now, looking back at yourself as a younger parent, what helpful message would you share with yourself? What might you say to other parents?
Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. You can read countless books and gather many different perspectives, but ultimately when you parent from your heart with the intention of guiding your child into who they were meant to be in this lifetime, the words will flow from your lips, the necessary resources will appear, and the support that both you and your child need will surface in ways you never dreamed possible.
Carrie is a wife to her best friend and mother to a beautiful son. She began teaching yoga in 1998. In 2005, Carrie co-opened Inside The Bungalow, yoga studio and cafe, with the intention of providing a Sacred space where students can come home to their own True Nature and uncover their journey of intention, authenticity, and reconnect to their life’s purpose.
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