Archive for conscious

The Tragic Suicide of Izabel Laxamana and 3 Ways to Parent More Consciously Online

15 06 05 Posting Positive PicsI used to spank my kids.  I remember putting soap in their mouths.  I remember saying to my husband in a moment of exasperation, “If they don’t obey me at 3 they’ll never obey me at 13!”

Jim was always more conscious than me.  When I was at the end of my rope, he would gently take Molly in his arms and she’d melt.  I guess my time-outs and ‘discipline’ weren’t working but at the time I thought his ‘giving in’ was doing the damage.  Thank goodness Facebook didn’t exist.  Or YouTube.  Or social media at all.  What happened at home wasn’t publicized.

Then conscious parenting change everything for me and my family in 2010.  Dr. Shefali literally saved me and I am forever indebted.  Being a new life coach and having done a lot of personal growth work in other areas I was still parenting traditionally.  Meaning: “Do what I say.  Now.”

Learning that our children are a spiritual gift to help us grow up was revolutionary to me.  I started seeing how my ego was getting in the way.  How my need to be right had damaged relationships throughout my life.  How thinking my child’s behavior was a reflection of me had me trapped.  Little by little I started letting go.  I judged less and loved more.  I looked for ways to connect and not control.

Dr. Shefali posted a heart-wrenching article on Facebook yesterday which has been the topic of much conversation.  It starts out with this tragic paragraph:

“Izabel Laxamana, a 13-year-old girl in Tacoma, Washington died by suicide after jumping off a highway overpass on Friday, May 29. Days before, Laxamana’s father Jeff had reportedly punished her for an unspecified transgression by cutting off her hair and uploading a video to YouTube. There’s now a controversy brewing online and among the girl’s friends and family over whether the video caused her death.”

How can this happen?  Yet it does happen.  There are blogs that encourage you to post pictures of your children when they are throwing tantrums. There are moms who write sarcastically of their children’s dramatic behavior and think it’s funny. Publicly shaming your child?  Since when was funny?  Never.  That’s when.  Dr. Shefali said in a recent text thread that suicide from public shaming is happening almost every other week!  That is insanity which must be stopped.

Think about this for a minute.  Once something is online it is PERMANENT.  There is no way to take it back.  What happens when your child grows up and reads your blog or sees the pictures and videos you are posting of them?  How will they feel?  Did you ever stop to think about that?  What are you hoping to gain by sharing their mistakes?  Would you want me to come and publicly record you the next time you are senselessly yelling at your child or worse?  Of course not. None of us would.

Rather than pointing a finger I’d like to suggest a solution.  Here are 3 simple ways we can all commit to parenting more conscious online:

  1. Remember you are not perfect- This can go a very very long way. Humble yourself and extend the same grace you would hope to receive to your children.  There is NO WAY your children will NOT make mistakes.  This is part of life for all of us.  Conscious parenting embraces mistakes as an opportunity to learn and grow.  It’s a chance to connect with your child.  Create a teachable moment free of judgement.  Think right now of the ideal way you would hope someone would treat you when you mess up and then act that way towards your child.
  2. Commit to only positive comments and posting– I remember my sister used to keep a journal where she would only record all the things she loved about her day. Great people she met.  Places she went.  Things that surprised her.  What a great way to create memories that focus on the positive.  What if we did that for our child.  Keep a journal of all the things you love about them.  Only post positive moments and comments about your children online.  Make it a discipline to see life through this filter and keep your conversation with your child mainly focused on what a wonderful person they are.
  3. Commit to consciously choosing the blogs and books you read– Your eyes are the window to the soul. Don’t allow your eyes to feast on negativity.  Sarcastic and negative jesting about children is not worth your time.  Keep your energy and attention focused on who you want to be and hang around with people online who also share these same values.  I have loved every second of Sandra’s Conscious Parent blog.  Support Patrice and the amazing work she is doing in the world.  Dr. Shefali is a pioneer.  Follow her everywhere she goes.  Suzi and her husband Jami shine so brightly.  Meghan, The Prof Mom, is one to follow too!  These are women you want to choose to be around as much as possible.

There is so much more.  Too much to share here.  Read The Conscious Parent if you haven’t already.  Take our free conscious parenting mini-course to learn more.  Transform yourself through the gift of your child.  Awaken to the beautiful perfectness that is standing right in front of you with messy hair and crusted oatmeal on their face.  Then day-by-day, week-by-week you will see the light of consciousness growing in you and spreading outward to others.

My heart goes out to the Laxamana family for the devastating loss of Izabel and to all children who feel isolated and unheard.  We will do our best to help your parents see that your life is their biggest spiritual blessing.  You are the one they have been waiting for their whole lives to help them grow up.

We love you all and pray for those, like your father, Izabel, who are living unconsciously and who are hurting those around them.  May your light and legacy continue to shine and help others as we bring your story to the world to help make it a more conscious place for everyone to live together.


Great Summer Parenting Resources

Have you ever found a great deal and had to share it with your friends?  My mom once found a great denim-ish skirt at Dillard’s for me, which honestly looked really ugly on the hanger, but she convinced me to try it on because it was only $7.  So I bought it and to this day I still have it in my closet.  Someday if you see me in it, you’ll know my secret!So what’s the point of telling you all this?  Today I want to do that for you.  Below I have compiled a list of some great freebies and deals from friends of mine who I respect and who also have a lot to offer that I thought you should know about.  I have put them in numbered format and by category so you can quickly see what they are about.  Each has a link, and I encourage you to take some time to click through and visit!


1) Lori Petro, is a great friend and has a wonderful parenting site called Teach-Through-Love.  She teaches parents how to connect with their child in a meaningful way rather than focusing on punitive discipline.  I have learned so much from her and she has just launched a Family Peace Project which opens registration on 6/7. Click here for more details.

2) Dr. Shefali Tsabary, author of The Conscious Parent is another great parenting resource.  Her book was a hugely transformational part of my own journey as parent and opened me up to a brand new way of thinking.  PLUS she was the one who introduced me to Lori.  She has 2 new 30-minute videos talks on conscious parenting that she gave at the Dali Lama center for Peace and Education.  I highly recommend you take the time to watch them.  To watch the videos Click Here.


3)  If you want to boost your health this summer you have to jump on board with Casey Sollock.  She offers an amazing 10-day Eat Clean Challenge, which I took last summer.  It helped me to weed out much of the junk and curb my addiction to caffeine.  It’s just $19 for the whole challenge and it’s virtual with a very interactive Facebook group for support and daily emails with her warm encouragement and teaching for the day.  The next one starts July 8th.  Click here for more info.

4)  Pilates from the comfort of your home? Yes!  Via Skype or Google+ you can work with Denise who will give you a workout you’ll never forget…mainly because your abs will be so sore in places you never knew you had muscles….in a good way I mean!  She is offering a free 20-minute trial.  Grab yours today.  Click here and scroll down to register.  I just did mine last week and Denise is such a gem!


5)  My mentor David Essel has an amazing XM radio show on Channel 246 that airs live every Saturday night from 6-9pm EST/ 3-6pm PST.  I know for many of us moms listening in live at that time is not really possible, but the great news is you can listen to the David Essel Alive show archives where you’ll have access to the best self-help experts in the world today free.  I listen in through my phone connected to my bluetooth during the week when I have longer drives.  It’s great brain food and I’ve learned a lot.  To access the show archives online Click Here and to listen to the podcasts on iTunes Click Here.

6)  We have just launched the University of Moms Finishing School. It’s a page full of free downloadable talks, interviews and workbooks done by me on everything from noticing triggers, to managing frustration, to creating peace at-home and more.  There is no restriction, just free and shareable resources.  To see our Finishing School page Click Here.

I will make sure to always keep you in the loop and share the people I feel you need to know…no strings attached.  I do not get any sort of referral fee, I just believe in them and want to personally introduce you to the best there is out there on the web in addition to sharing my knowledge with you too.  If you have a resource you want to share with me, I’d love to check it out.  Please reply to this email and give me the link.

Have a super day and may these resources help you to welcome summer with a smile!

 April O’Leary, Life Coach
Founder of the University of Moms
Creator of the Happy Mom Conference

Author of Ride the Wave and Focus on You
Proud mother of 3 girls