There is no rulebook on how to parent, just as there is no one style of parenting that you have to stick by. Different parenting techniques work for different people, so as long as you love, respect and protect your child, then you’re already taking steps in the right direction.
One style of parenting that has risen in popularity in recent years and has gained especial prominence on social media is gentle parenting. However, this style of parenting gets a bad reputation, with many people disregarding it due to a lack of understanding.
Read on as we look at some of the misconceptions of gentle parenting, highlighting what its techniques actually aim to achieve.
Gentle parenting is a parenting technique that focuses on four main elements – empathy, respect, understanding and boundaries. The overall aim of gentle parenting is to raise happy, confident children who show compassionate and positive behavioural traits.
Evidence shows that gentle parenting rarely has a negative impact on children’s health and helps them to socially develop whilst establishing appropriate guidelines for them to follow. It encourages age-appropriate discipline, and requires plenty of patience and effort to foster understanding in your children, rather than establishing authority.
Unfortunately, many people view gentle parenting in a negative light. However, this is largely due to a lack of understanding of what gentle parenting actually entails and the positive effects it can have on children’s development.
When many people hear the phrase ‘gentle parenting’, their thoughts on what this is are often confused with permissive parenting – which couldn’t be further from the truth.
Whilst gentle parenting encourages children to make their own decisions, establish boundaries and express their emotions, it does not mean letting them do what they want with no conflict or discipline. Instead, conflicts are simply handled in a non-aggressive manner and boundaries are established through communication and positive reinforcement.
Another common misconception about gentle parenting is that it’s lazy. In reality, the opposite is true. Gentle parenting requires incredible patience and effort on your behalf. It requires you to constantly manage and regulate your own emotions, so that you don’t allow your child’s behaviour to escalate your temper and cause you to take out your frustrations on them – something which can negatively affect their confidence and security.
Of course, it’s natural for this to happen – even when trying to be a gentle parent! The important thing, however, is to apologise to your child, as this teaches them that such behaviour shouldn’t be praised.
Whilst gentle parenting doesn’t involve discipline in the form of shouting or threats, it still establishes boundaries, just in an empathetic matter. Communication and understanding are key when disciplining children in gentle parenting.
Show your children you understand their frustrations, explain why they should/shouldn’t do something, offer them the opportunity to make a choice about their next actions, then take active control of the situation if they still refuse to cooperate.
Here at Little Acorns Day Nursery, we believe that children gain respect through interaction with caring adults who show them respect and value their individual personalities. Our childcare professionals will always praise caring and polite behaviour, creating an environment where children learn to respect themselves, other people and their surroundings.
If you’re trying your hand at gentle parenting, or are considering giving it a go and think this sounds like the kind of environment you’d like your child to learn in, then get in touch with us today to learn more about our childcare services.