Why I Choose Gentle Parenting

“Too much love won’t spoil. Kindness doesn’t provoke poor behavior. Respect doesn’t invite disrespect. This backward thinking has caused us to feel trapped into being too harsh for too long. Generations of children are still searching and longing for unconditional love.”

Rebecca Eanes

What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle Parenting is considered to be the most beneficial approach to raising children. It focuses on these aspects; gentleness, empathy, nonviolence, thoughtfulness, listening, and embracing. You can easily remember these by the acrostic nature of this approach (G.E.N.T.L.E).

This approach doesn’t throw discipline out the window completely as you may think. Instead it focuses on teaching rather than punishing. Discipline in this aspect is highly recommended as it helps a child understand how to healthily express their emotions, or how to communicate effectively in the future while in an established safe space.

I have been on the opposite side of gentle parenting. I was, and still am, scared of approaching my parents in any way. During my childhood, I have been brushed off or told I wasn’t doing good enough based on their standards. If I talked in a certain way or didn’t want to do something, instant punishment. As a result, it led to some doubts towards my abilities and overall being. This is where the issue lies. It isn’t just my experience, it’s a huge representation of our population, and we have the power to change it for our children and those to follow.

There are many benefits to this evidence-based approach of parenting. These include…

  • Focuses on cognitive state of child to help establish boundaries that are suitable for the specific age category and in the end, benefits them.
  • May reduce the risk of anxiety
  • Children see parents model appropriate behavior and set expectations that children can effectively acheive and easily follow.
  • Children gain a better understanding of how they should act and speak

“When we show gentleness, especially during stressful times, we model frustration tolerance, and we model flexibility. Staying calm and being gentle and firm sets the tone for positive growth and development”

Allison Andrews

How to Become a Gentle Parent

It can be both simple and difficult to implement this approach of parenting for your children. To help you get started and gain insight of this technique, here are some helpful tips.

  • Don’t expect perfection
  • Always apologize
  • Pay attention to your triggers
  • Not all solutions will work

It’s important to be conscious of your mental health and well-being first to properly display behavior to your children. It’s a learning process that goes both ways. You learn from each other as you build a healthy connection. I believe that is the beauty behind this parenting approach. This is why I choose gentle parenting, and I hope to influence others to do the same.

Resources

https://sarahockwell-smith.com/2015/08/20/what-is-gentle-parenting-and-why-should-you-try-it/

1 thought on “Why I Choose Gentle Parenting

  1. @anissamalv – I really enjoyed your post about the G.E.N.T.L.E. parenting style. I have not heard of this specific style, but I have heard of similar concepts. I am not a parent so I cannot respond as a parent, but this sounds like a positive parenting style. I liked that one of the first things you mention is that “This approach doesn’t throw discipline out the window completely as you may think. Instead it focuses on teaching rather than punishing.” This is one of the misconceptions around parenting styles like G.E.N.T.L.E., people think that this means that you never discipline your child, which is not what these styles are saying. This and similar styles are saying that it’s important to understand why the child is behaving a particular way and that usually this behavior stems from something – such as hunger, being tired, or simply feeling grump – as we all do. When we are ready to judge a child because of a behavior, we should ask ourselves, do we ever act out in ways that are ‘inappropriate’?” Of course, the answer is yes, hopefully not as much as children because we should have learned along the way, but that should give us understanding and patience towards a child who is still learning.

    I like the advice in the first article that says to “pay attention to your triggers”; how sometimes you can handle a child’s behavior with no issue and that same behavior can cause you to get upset another time. We all need to be cognizant of our triggers and parenting is no different; sometimes it is not the child’s behavior at all, but our own issues we may be having that day.

    The article also said to acknowledge that you will make mistakes, and that it is OK, just don’t give up. I think parents need to hear that often. There is no “handbook” to tell you exactly how to raise a child and each child learns differently. I have watched six siblings and many friends raise children and I can see how difficult parenting can be – it is demanding, with a lot of work and responsibility, to raise this child to become a kind and responsible adult. Many parents question themselves and are worried about if they are “doing enough” and if they are “good enough” parents so it’s important for parents to give themselves permission to acknowledge and forgive themselves for their mistakes and to keep trying.

    The other thing I really liked about this article’s advice was to apologize. It is teaching the child that 1) we all make mistakes, 2) we can acknowledge our mistakes, and 3) we should apologize for our mistakes. It is not always easy to acknowledge and apologize for our mistakes but when we can do that, it also says a lot about our character that we can “own up” to those mistakes.

    When I was in my early 20s, I used to spend a lot of time with one of my friends and her daughter, she might not have had a “name” to her parenting style, but it was very similar to the G.E.N.T.L.E. style. When her daughter acted out, she would be so calm and explain to her why she couldn’t win every game she played, or why she couldn’t pick up the cat and dangle the poor thing by its head and front legs, etc. Of course, this was not a tell her once and she learned, she had to explain this to her daughter several times when she was young. But she never lost her cool (at least around me), she just gently explained to her in a way that her daughter could understand. I remember thinking at that time, that if I become a parent, I want to have a similar style of parenting. It was a very positive and loving environment. Her daughter is now a beautiful, kind, and positive young woman who is funny and bright and a delight to be around.

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