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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.

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