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Conscious vs Intuitive Parenting

As an intuitive personality type, (INFJ on the Myers Briggs) I tend to place a lot of faith in my sense of intuition.  I often act on my gut feeling about things, I get a pretty good “sense” of a situation before I work out all the details of what is going on, and I think it’s perfectly acceptable to do (or not do) something because it “just feels right”.  Intellectually, however, I know there are several major problems with relying on this approach all the time, so I try to balance my intuition out with some logic and reasoning, by reading and learning about things from an academic perspective and trying to make some conscious goals and choices about what things I want to teach my kids.

Being primarily an intuitive type has served me well so far, especially during the newborn and infant stages, when a parent needs to be able to take broad trends and some hazy guesswork (I changed her an hour ago, I think, and she’s making that face so she’s probably hungry) to make decisions about what a baby needs.  Breastfeeding on demand involves a great deal of intuition in my experience, as does EC.  Intuition helps when dealing with tantrums as well, as long as I can stay away from using my feelings as a guide for my behaviour and instead use them to help me deduce Bea’s unmet needs that are hiding behind the screaming.

One of the things I have made a more conscious choice to work towards in my parenting is teaching my daughters to be assertive.  I feel like I learned to ask for what I want a little late in the game, and sometimes even just figuring out exactly what I want can be a challenge.  I know that my girls will be better armed to deal with the world if they are able to know themselves and know what they want, and then have the skills and experience to be ablet to ask directly for it.  So, when Beatrice comes up and announces, “I’m hungry mama!”  I try not to respond with a long list of snack options straight off the bat.  Instead I ask her, “Do you want something?  What do you want?  What’s a good way to ask for something?”  I want her to get into the habit of identifying what she wants and asking for it, or otherwise finding out how to get it.

How do you use intuitive and conscious parenting?  Do you prefer one over the other?

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