Although it could appear like simply another trendy parenting approach, gentle parenting has been practiced since the dawn of humanity. Building a solid relationship with your child while simultaneously establishing sound boundaries is the goal of this parenting approach. Yes there are several ‘parenting styles’ and they all have different effects on your kids, but this gentle approach is perfectly suited for me…
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I’ve enjoyed every minute of my life since my son was born, well not every minute, but you get my drift. I’ve been extremely involved in all his activities, from Art and Lego classes to Taekwondo, whatever he does I’m there to support and cheer him on.
I waited until I was 40 years old to have a child, my personal decision and I regret not having him earlier. I’ve grown in tandem with my son, and I’ve learned so much about myself.
Gentle parenting can be the solution you’ve been looking for if more conventional parenting techniques have appeared harsh or out-of-date to you. The secret to gentle parenting in our home is allowing our son the ability to make his own decisions while nurturing him in a secure, healthy atmosphere.
What Is Gentle Parenting?
Gentle parenting is a research-supported method of child-rearing that emphasizes empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. The cornerstones of gentle parenting are setting clear limits and exhibiting polite, caring behavior.
While more strict parenting methods may give children the impression that they should only be “seen and not heard,” gentle parenting focuses on encouraging and enabling kids to express themselves and their emotions in ways that are appropriate for their age.
How to Get Started With Gentle Parenting
Another essential element of gentle parenting is open communication, which is also the cornerstone of your relationship as your child learns to navigate life. It’s our responsibility to ensure that these young people are ready for adulthood in the healthiest way possible because we only have them for about 18 years.
Give your child a voice, treat them like a real person who can make decisions for themselves, and develop respect in both you and your child.
It’s crucial to teach our kids how to make decisions for themselves, even at an early age. In the preschool years, this can take the form of asking your child if they would prefer an apple or an orange for their snack. Or asking them “Would you like to wear the blue or the green tennis shoes?” This is going to have considerably greater results than requiring someone to wear certain shoes.
Children desire options. They yearn to be free. The first step in teaching children how to make those selections when they are older is to provide them with safe options to pick from.
Tennis shoes in the two colors I indicated, green or blue, can help stop children from reaching for flip-flops in the cold. If you find that your preschooler consistently chooses shoes that are inappropriate for the season or the classroom, restrict their options to those that are. Set the other ones up or restrict their use for “weekends only” or “at home only.”
If your child chooses to run inside when they should be walking, you may say something like, “we use walking feet inside, but we can go outside and run!” There are many phrases you can use that are more positive and empowering for your kiddos than saying “no running in the house!”
With gentle parenting, we encourage our kid about autonomy. This implies that it is your child’s decision whether to give Uncle Frank a hug during Thanksgiving or not. When someone doesn’t want to be touched, you don’t push, threaten, or shame them into showing physical affection.
A significant component of gentle parenting, particularly if you were raised using more conventional parenting techniques, is learning to retrain your brain and reframe your thoughts.
Does Gentle Parenting Include Discipline?
Contrary to popular belief, our home is not a free-for-all because we practice gentle parenting. Yelling, humiliating, and spanking are examples of traditional forms of punishment that don’t fit with gentle parenting ideas. We employ constructive methods of correction with a strong emphasis on addressing our child’s needs.
You might require some time outs while you make the switch to more compassionate parenting. Time outs for dad are OK, but not for the kids. We need to periodically evaluate ourselves if we want to raise kids who are healthy, happy, and well-adjusted. Children typically “behave badly” because of an unmet need. Instead of yelling and acting aggressively, we take a step back and consider the situation.
Why are they behaving badly? Having too much stimulation? Tired? Anxious? Angry? What are they lacking? How might we assist them in regaining their bearings? Spend some time troubleshooting and finding solutions before penalizing a youngster for making a mistake or behaving inappropriately.
Giving your child the freedom to make their own decisions and own their truth at any age is the goal of gentle parenting. This doesn’t mean that you should be a pushover or that you should never say “no” to your child.
Pick Your Battles
“Pick your battles” is a phrase that is used frequently in parenting. The “battles” are not entirely eliminated with gentle parenting, but they are definitely reduced. Is my son perfect? No, he’s not. There are no perfect parents and no perfect children.
Since my son is a family member as well, I believe that gentle parenting involves listening to him when he has something to say and, if necessary, helping him toward better decisions. I talk to him in a way that I want to be talked to.
Instead of creating battles, remember it’s your family against the world! Work together to accomplish your goals. Enjoy spending time together – yes, that includes the kiddo!
Stock Up On Some Patience
Gentle parenting is not for the weak of heart, especially if you’re switching from earlier, more conventional techniques. You’ll require a mountainous amount of patience. Check to see if your spouse and you are on the same page otherwise it will be very challenging for either parent to “stick” to this style of gentle parenting.
The greatest method to introduce gentle parenting is by modeling the behaviors you want and expect from your kids. Maintain composure and, if necessary, give yourself some space to gather your thoughts before responding. This demonstrates to our children that they can act similarly even when disturbed.
Never forget that nobody is flawless. Everyone makes errors. When that happens, get back on course as soon as you can. It’s acceptable (and healthy!) to apologize to your children if you yell or act outwardly furious. They need to learn how to apologize too, so everyone will benefit if you model that conduct.
It also often depends on how we were raised as kids and how our parents dealt with us. On my part, my parents were laid back and loving, so I guess that’s what I’ve become as a dad.
Here are some books to read if you’re interested in Gentle Parenting and other techniques.
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