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What Is Gentle Parenting and How to Do It Successfully?

By Albulena Murturi


8 February 2024

Gentle parenting

©️ Storyset on Freepik

Parenting is a big job, and there are many different ways to do it. One way that’s becoming more popular these days is called gentle parenting. This approach focuses on being kind and understanding with your children while still teaching them right from wrong. In this article, you will find more information about how gentle parenting works and some tips on how to do it successfully. Keep reading!

What Is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle parenting is all about being supportive and loving while also giving your children rules to follow. It’s like being a coach, guiding them through life’s ups and downs with care and respect. Instead of just punishing them when they do something wrong, this way of parenting helps them understand why their actions might not be okay.

Gentle parenting
©️ lookstudio / Freepik

The concept of gentle parenting, rooted in authoritative parenting principles that gained prominence around the 1960s, emphasizes both high standards and strong support for children. Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of “The Gentle Parenting Book” and “The Gentle Discipline Book,” characterizes it as a parenting style that combines setting boundaries with nurturing care.

This parenting style recognizes that children require both connection and structure. This approach emphasizes warmth, responsiveness, kindness, and gentleness alongside routines, expectations, and skill-building.

In gentle parenting, discipline strategies are tailored to a child’s age and developmental stage. Ockwell-Smith emphasizes the importance of understanding that children may lack the neurological maturity to behave differently, cautioning against punishing them simply for being children. This nuanced approach aims to foster healthy development while respecting the individual needs and capacities of each child.

How Does Gentle Parenting Work?

Understanding Feelings

When your child is upset, gentle parenting encourages you to help them calm down and talk about why they’re feeling that way. By listening and validating their emotions, you are teaching them to understand themselves better.

Talking it Out

Instead of jumping straight to punishment, gentle parenting suggests talking to your child calmly about what happened and why it wasn’t okay. This helps them learn from their mistakes and make better choices in the future.

Working Together

Gentle parenting is all about teamwork. You and your child can come up with solutions to problems together, rather than just handing down rules from above.

Gentle parenting
©️ Storyset / Freepik

How to Balance Discipline with Gentle Parenting

Setting Rules

Gentle parenting still means having rules and boundaries, but they’re set with kindness and understanding. Consistency is key, so make sure everyone knows what’s expected.

Respecting Differences

Every child is unique, so this parenting way means adapting your approach to fit their personality and needs. This helps them feel understood and respected.

Being Firm When Needed

While gentle parenting is about being kind, there are times when you need to be firm. It’s important to stick to your rules and show your child that actions have consequences.

©️ Freepik

Is Gentle Parenting Right for You?

Gentle parenting isn’t always easy, but it can have big benefits for your child’s emotional well-being and your relationship with them. If you are willing to put in the effort and learn new ways of parenting, this could be a great fit for your family. Here are some pros and cons to make it more clear.

Pros and Cons

  1. Pros: Gentle parenting helps kids learn empathy, resilience, and how to build strong relationships. It’s also a positive way to discipline, focusing on understanding rather than punishment.
  2. Cons: It can take time and patience to learn how to practice this way of parenting effectively. You might also need to unlearn some old habits and find new ways to handle challenging situations.

Tips for Successful Application

  1. Communicate Expectations: Make sure everyone knows what’s expected, including other caregivers and family members.
  2. Stay Calm: Try to stay calm and positive, even when things get tough. Kids learn best when they feel safe and supported.
  3. Plan Ahead: Anticipate challenges and come up with strategies for handling them peacefully. Consistency is key to success.
  4. Work Together: Involve your child in problem-solving and decision-making. This helps them feel like they are part of the team.

©️ Drazen Zigic / Freepik

Disclaimer: The information provided on this website is for general informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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Albulena Murturi

An enthusiastic learner rediscovering the joy of writing.