Gentle Parenting Basics
Gentle parenting is a parenting style which encourages partnership with your children rather than the traditional authoritarian power dynamic between parent and child.
It encourages a conversation between parent and kid. They encourage choices, not demands, and take a playful approach to raising kids. Bad behaviors are described as just that — behavior — and proponents of gentle parenting make sure the emphasis on “naughty or bad” behaviors are placed on the action, not the kid who performed it. Gentle parents also believe in letting emotions run their course. They don’t force affection on their children when they don’t explicitly state that they want it.
Maybe kids were acting out because whatever we were doing wasn’t working for them.
What if a gentler approach was what they needed?
Accept Your Child’s Emotions
Our children’s emotions can be as confusing as Lost, not being aware of where they’re going or even where they’ve been. Often we find ourselves bewildered at their sudden outburst of strong and not always positive emotions. They cry at things we can’t fathom, they seem to cling to us when we need our space, and they are loud and boisterous when we want them to be quiet. Yet one of the most important elements of gentle parenting is that we accept their emotions – especially their negative emotions – as valid. These emotions are as real to them as ours are to us. Just as people may not understand when we become sad or angry or frustrated over something that wouldn’t upset them, so our children are learning to cope with their own rollercoaster of emotions.
Always Respond to Your Child
Not losing your mind and getting angry and possibly hurting or yelling at your child is critical and if you need to walk away for a short period, that is absolutely always acceptable.
What isn’t part of gentle parenting is ignoring a child’s attempt to share emotions with you. Tantrums, “protest cries”, and distress at nighttime are all situations in which children need responsiveness. What will be different in gentle parenting from mainstream parenting is how we respond. Mainstream parenting tends to view how we respond to our children in a black-or-white manner, especially when it comes to negative emotions. Either one gives in completely or one ignores. There is no in-between.
Your Child is Unique
People love the generic and will make it seem like their “gentle” solutions will help anyone and everyone. Even though there is no method that will do that. Even gentle favourites like co-sleeping don’t work for all children or families and you will understand this and work with that. This love of the generic is why many wolves still adhere to first-wave behaviourism premises. You can get certain behaviours out of people by doing a specific thing, but the reasons why you get these changes will vary immensely and many of the underlying changes that take place will not be what parents are looking for.
Real gentle parenting advocates will acknowledge the individual circumstances and work with families one-on-one to see what will work for them. When they write books of advice, the advice tends to be much more general as specific how-to’s simply don’t work. There is no step-by-step bit of advice that will work for all children. Children vary on levels of sensitivity, prior experiences, emotion regulation, and emotionality. These things readily interact to make any notion of a set schedule or instructions that works for all impossible.
Spend time learning your child’s methods of communication, likes and dislikes, how your child responds to certain people and events. Then you have a basis for knowing how to work with your child to make changes that may be necessary.
We hope then you will find these 3 things helpfull in getting to know gentle parenting a bit.
All the best,