What is Gentle Parenting and How Can You Apply It?

ByMonica OtayzaJanuary 27, 2023
little baby hand on mom's hand
There are many parenting styles, and you’re free to choose what works best for you and your little ones. Gentle Parenting is a calm, patient, and punishment-free approach to raising children, which focuses on understanding, empathy, respect, and of course, boundaries.
Trying to veer away from authoritative parenting that could come off as harsh to some children, gentle parenting is a positive style of parenting that today’s generation describe as “different” from the way parents back in the day used to raise their children.
How exactly does Gentle Parenting work?
Gentle parenting chooses not to shame, blame, or punish a child. Instead, it is a work-in-progress partnership between parents and children where collaboration is at the center. Gentle parenting, true to its name, is a softer approach to parenting, where the goal is for children to learn their boundaries without needing to use a firm hand.
Instead of forcing children to behave by being authoritative or even controlling, gentle parenting uses communication, connection, and other collaborative methods to make decisions in the family.
How does Gentle Parenting benefit the family?
Gentle parenting allows children to learn how to set their own boundaries, let their voices be heard, and to trust their own needs without them being dictated. It aims to be a guide for children to learn how to assert themselves and their needs without being disrespectful to their elders.
Not only does gentle parenting teach children to be independent and respectful, but it also minimizes their chances of being taken advantage of as they are not easily swayed nor influenced.
Aside from the independence it teaches children, gentle parenting also reduces the risk of anxiety in children, as they aren’t pressured to do things a certain way in fear of being punished. It also improves the bond between parents and their children, as they are showered with love, time, and support.
Last but not least, gentle parenting allows children to practice positive social skills. As children like copying what they see, they are able to observe their parents being empathetic and respectful. As they grow older, they will model their parents’ positive traits, which will help them become empathetic and respectful themselves.
While gentle parenting can do wonders for both parents and children, it can also come with some challenges. In some cases, being too gentle on a child could lead to a lack of discipline and structure on the part of a child. Parents can also end up being permissive and enabling simply because they do not punish their children.
Despite these challenges, gentle parenting is something worth trying at home. However, it requires a lot of patience, practice, and of course, persistence. It may not work right away, and it may not be easy to implement, especially if the approach is new to you and your family.
If you’re looking to practice gentle parenting at home, don’t be afraid to start small. Model how you’d like your child to act by practicing kindness, compassion, and empathy. You can also start with yourself by intentionally trying to be less demanding, controlling, or demanding. Instead of ordering your child to do something, try to ask politely instead.
For example, instead of saying “eat your vegetables,” you can instead say: “Would you like to eat your vegetables so you stay healthy and strong?”
At the end of the day, gentle parenting is achievable through patience and your approach. Your children deserve to feel seen, heard, and understood, and once they realize that they are, it’ll do wonders for the entire family.
Goodluck, mama!
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