Jennifer Laurent wears many hats as a single mother, life coach, and author. Everyday, she looks to live her life in a conscientious way, and she strives to help others live a conscious life too. In her first book, Excerpts from the Heart of a Mom, Jennifer presents her readers with fundamental insights on her approach to “conscious parenting.” In it, she identifies concepts that can be applied to a broad range of parenting styles that help children stay positively connected to their core.
“LiveThroughTheHeart.com” is Jennifer’s companion website where she blogs about her personal life experiences and provides inspirational messages of conscious living. Through her writings and poignant photography, she shares her life coaching skills with her readers as she encourages them to embrace their own life’s journey.
Born and raised in Rockland County, NY, Jennifer earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Dominican College, and a Masters Degree in Clinical Social Work from New York University. Over the years, Jennifer has worked as a rape crisis counselor, provided therapy for struggling families and helped those dependent on drug and alcohol. She has also experienced trauma in the Emergency Room as a social worker, working in that field for more than five years both in New York and Southern California. Jennifer currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the non-profit organization, Olive Crest, that works toward building strong families and keeping children safe.
A certified Life Coach, Jennifer is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys practicing on a daily basis. She regularly challenges her personal growth through meditation, facing her fears, and helping others. Her all-time favorite pastime is hanging out with her five-year-old son. In addition to enjoying life with her little guy, she is a fitness fanatic, a passionate poetry writer, and loves to travel to intriguing locales whenever possible.
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Q&A with Jennifer Laurent ”CONSCIOUS PARENTING”
Click each question to read the response.
I define it as parenting with awareness. It is about taking the necessary steps in your own life that will allow you to be present with your children, and opening your heart and mind to truly understand the reasons why you parent the way you do. It involves making choices instead of parenting out of habit – or, simply not knowing any better.
I became a social worker because I wanted to save the world. I have always been the type of individual who is sensitive and can feel the pain of others. I have always wanted to make a difference in others lives and to inspire change. My experience in social work provided me the opportunity to truly connect with a variety of individuals and situations that span our world. I worked with populations such as dying and disabled children and their families, drug and alcohol addiction, trauma, and family crisis, to name a few. I am grateful for the invaluable wisdom I obtained through connecting with others as a social worker.
I worked at Blythedale Children’s Hospital for about a year during my Clinical Social Work Training, then at Pelham Family Counseling Center the following year. I also worked at Palomar Pomerado Hospital and at Serenity House.
I can remember speaking with another social worker who was in the field for over 20 years. We were discussing a patient who was homeless and had issues with alcohol and drug addiction, and would continuously return to the hospital for help. I was doing everything in my power to get this man the help he needed. My co-worker couldn’t understand why I was working so hard to help a person that never actually followed through and simply continued to return to the hospital, usually worse off than the time before. He told me I should stop wasting my time. It was in that instant that I truly understood the importance of being present in the moment and looking at what is right in front of me – to be conscious of the individual without my own beliefs, habits, or judgments to cloud my vision
1) Being present in the moment so that we see who are consciously making choices.
2) A willingness to be vulnerable with our children.
3) Allowing our children to be who they are as opposed to an image we have of them.
Absolutely not! It is never to late to begin something and make a change. Each and every one of us has this very moment to transform and create our families in the way we imagine them to be. At first it may feel awkward and our children may be confused, but we all have to start somewhere. In the end, our children will appreciate the effort and you will be able to find the peace, fulfillment and joy that parenting has to offer.
I once worked with a family that was truly in crisis with an 8-year-old child who was battling a diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. He was constantly filled with such intense anxiety. What I remember most about this particular child was how much his parents loved him and were doing their best to help him, yet they were at a complete loss. Over time, as I observed the family, it became clear that the child was simply displaying the symptoms of the family unit as a whole. All of the anxiety, fear, and frustration of both parents was being shouldered by the child and exhibited through obsessive-compulsive behaviors. The parents were completely unaware of their role in their sons’ condition, but from the outside looking in, it was shockingly obvious. The lack of consciousness exhibited within this family had obvious repercussions, and underscored the need for parents to be mindful of their negative emotions so their children do not absorb them.
I would suggest to new parents that they do their best to tune everyone else out around them. When we become new parents, everybody has advice for us and they are more than willing to tell it to us. All of these outside voices can cloud our instincts, the voice in our heart, leaving us to feel confused and even parenting in a way that might not be right for you and your child. Make the attempt to focus on your child and your inner self, which is where all of the answers can be found.
First of all I want to say that we never actually fall short. We may feel that way and tell ourselves that we are not good enough, but we are. Each and every one of us is good enough and we need to stop comparing ourselves to others and judging ourselves based on what we see. I would suggest that over–stressed moms and dads take the time to focus in on what is really important to them in an attempt to simplify the demands they impress upon themselves. For example, having a sparkling clean house is truly not a factor in happiness. I think that sometimes we add more stress to ourselves by piling on all these things we think are necessary, but in reality are not. It’s the moments spent laughing, talking, cuddling, sharing, and growing that will matter in our families. Get rid of the unnecessary and focus on what matters. This can take some time and shifting on a parent’s part… believe me I know. Not having a clean house can drive me crazy, but I have learned that if I have to choose between the clutter or missing time with my son… I’ll always choose the clutter. There are other areas in our lives where this same theory applies.