Gentle Parenting- What Is It?
The reality is that the definition of “gentle parenting” varies from home to home, and the practice varies still further.
Remember this when any one voice threatens to overwhelm you in the flood of the age of information we live in.
You’re parenting in a time unlike any other. You’re doing it!
‘Just keep swimming, Friend’ (As a friendly little fish once said).
Gentle parenting goes by any number of names.
- Attachment parenting.
- Intentional parenting.
- Peaceful parenting.
- Positive parenting.
Of the four styles of parenting recognized in psychology today, it most closely aligns with authoritative parenting.
Authoritative parenting, according to the American Psychological Association:
In this parenting style, the parents are nurturing, responsive, and supportive, yet set firm limits for their children. They attempt to control children’s behavior by explaining rules, discussing, and reasoning. They listen to a child’s viewpoint but don’t always accept it.
Some homes adopt a more permissive parenting style within their lens of gentle parenting.
In this style, parents are warm, but lax. They fail to set firm limits, to monitor children’s activities closely or to require appropriately mature behavior of their children.
The Heart of Gentle Parenting
This connection begins with acknowledging where both you and your child are coming from.
Listening to your child’s needs within a behavior and responding to them requires that you learn to hear your own needs within your reaction to their behavior and respond to those needs, too!
This takes practice and time, for both of you.
Gentle parenting is rooted in modeling behaviors.
Boundaries are healthy behaviors and communication. Set those boundaries!
Just remember, children are exploring as they are rapidly developing. It’s going to take time and repetition for a behavior to become their own.
You might be practicing skills that weren’t displayed for you either. Model reconciliation in apologizing and trying again.
Discipline is about redirecting and teaching here rather than inflicting punishment. This isn’t a space for shame. Hold this space for yourself, and let down your shame.
Children are recognized as individuals within the lens of gentle parenting.
While boundaries serve as healthy instructors in the development of independence, control hinders this development.
We can give children space to develop healthy independence by giving them age appropriate choices as they grow.
The trust that develops in practicing connection serves us particularly well here as our children naturally grow in independence throughout their childhoods.
Healthy relationship is at the heart of hearts in gentle parenting. Healthy relationship with self, healthy relationships within our home, and the skills to develop healthy relationships long after they’ve left our nest.
Again, this is modeled, through the tone and the words we choose, as well as the space and the time we utilize to take care of one another and no less, ourselves.
Rather, we’re here to explore together the various ways that we are exposed to gentle parenting in the world today, and how its heart can serve us, so that we can make informed choices that serve our family.
Some of my favorite voices on gentle parenting within the Instagram community:
Let’s continue the conversation!