What is gentle parenting? It is a philosophy founded on respect and empathy for children, an approach that’s evidence-based for raising happy, confident children.
The goal of gentle parenting is to create a safe and caring environment for a child’s emotional development, it encourages setting limits while discouraging bad behavior. Gentle parenting works hand in hand with positive parenting, they both promote parent-child respect and offer gentle but effective discipline strategies.
The four components of this parenting style are empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries.
How to practice gentle parenting:
1. Be Respectful of your Children
As adults, we think we deserve respect from our children, but it rarely crosses our minds that they also deserve respect. We must distinguish between being respectful and actually guiding our children.
How you communicate at home will have a lot to do with it. When you talk to your children with respect and kindness, you teach them that conflict can be resolved even when you do it respectfully. This is a skill they can carry into adulthood.
2. Show them Empathy
Your ability to empathize with your children’s behavior comes from placing yourself in their shoes, even when you know that whatever they are fussing over is something silly. Feel their sadness, tell them you understand, and tell them it’s okay to be sad.
What you should do is explain to them why they can’t have that particular toy or whatever it is they’re upset about, rather than punish them.
In times of frustration, this approach will help shift the mood of the child from angry to feeling heard and loved and it will help avoid power struggles. Through this method the child learns that even in the heat of the moment, love and respect can and should still be maintained.
It would also be helpful if you tried to imagine how you would like to be treated if you are really upset about something and how you would like to be talked to.
3. Let them Make their Own Decisions and Mistakes
To accomplish this, you will need to find the right balance between being an overprotective parent and a parent who will let their child do certain things without your interference.
In most cases, mistakes can serve as a good teacher, as we can learn from doing the same thing again to avoid the outcome that upset us or was less than ideal.
For instance, if you have more than one child, you can let your children disagree without you stepping in, as long as they are being safe. You can listen, but still, let them figure out a solution to the argument.
Children will really learn to make decisions this way because they will know when to back down and when to move forward.
4. Reset Expectations of What is Normal
Here you relax expectations, you aren’t following trends or a rigid routine. You are making sure the child is gaining knowledge and skills while on a routine, and you don’t worry that your child’s behavior will be out of control because you skipped a few steps.
You should have an idea of what to expect based on the child’s age, what won’t alter your routine much, and what you can just let go of.
Even if a two-year-old does not want to sleep in their own bed sometimes, or your child refuses to eat his vegetables sometimes, understanding that these things happen sometimes does not mean that your child will never want to eat vegetables or sleep in his own room.
As a result, the pressure of wanting everything to be perfect will be relieved. Perfection is not realistic.
5. Give them your Attention
Give your children as much attention as possible. More often than not, attention-seeking behaviors are viewed as negative behaviors.
Whenever your children feel that they are not getting the attention they deserve from you, they will do anything to get it. Sometimes they turn to destructive behavior in order to get your attention.
Keep 1 on 1 time with them, engage with them, do activities with them, and if they ask for attention while you’re busy, tell them you’ve got something to do and you’ll be with them when you’re done.
6. Take Care of Yourself
One of the most important things to remember is that we act accordingly to how we feel! It is sometimes challenging and stressful to be a parent.
It is common for parents to be very stressed out about things going on in their daily lives, whether it is work-related worries, bills, or the things you have to accomplish, or whether you are comparing yourself to others and thinking they are doing better than you.
Take a few moments to refocus, practice mindfulness and taking deep breaths. Make some time for yourself. As a mom, you have a lot going on, so take some time out for yourself to do something that doesn’t take much time, but keeps you feeling rejuvenated.
Every parent needs a break from everything and to just be themselves. If you are stressed out, the way that you interact with your children will differ from when you are in a better mood or relaxed. This also includes getting more sleep.
What is Positive Discipline?
The goal of positive parenting is to raise children who want to behave. According to Dr. Laura Markham, positive parenting is effective for toddlers and teens.
Parenting means unconditionally loving your child and helping them succeed. A parent’s love can not only benefit their child’s well-being, but can also increase the development of their brain and memory.
The basic concept of positive discipline or gentle discipline is to focus on good behavior, amplifying and rewarding good behavior, not giving much attention to bad or undesirable behavior. When parenting positively, punishment is not used, but rather positive discipline is encouraged or practiced. Positive discipline put emphasis on positive child development.
Meaning of Positive Discipline
In positive discipline, you respect your child’s feelings while still highlighting the good aspects of their behavior.
Positive discipline emphasizes good behavior by giving praise and truly celebrating it while bad or undesirable behavior is ignored or unnoticed.
Why Positive Discipline is Important
Positive discipline keeps children away from danger, teaches them self-control, and encourages them to make the right choices. Additionally, it helps build positive relationships between children and caregivers, leading to better self-esteem and confidence. It helps children have a healthy mental health as they learn to navigate life.
Positive Discipline Techniques
1. Focus on Treating the Cause, not Just the Symptoms
Take the time to figure out what is causing your child’s change in behavior when you notice their behavior is off. You will not only be helping your child if you identify the root cause of the behavior and find a way to resolve it, but you will also be helping yourself since you won’t have to worry about your child’s behavior.
2. Pay Attention to Them
We want to make sure that we focus on lots of positive rewards for your children when they do something good or behave well so that they feel motivated to do more of that while ignoring minor problems.
However, you will still have to intervene if and when the behavior gets out of hand or if certain behaviors need your attention.
3. Eliminate the Shame Associated with making Mistakes.
Making mistakes is a normal part of life, by explaining to your children that everybody makes mistakes.
In front of them, if you make a mistake, call it out and maybe even make fun of yourself to add some humor. This teaches kids that everyone makes mistakes.
4. Foster Positive Communication.
If you use and encourage positive language in the home, you will find that not only yourself, but your children will also learn to use positive language with one another.
You will also be able to recognize and control negative language more easily. Changing your language will make a difference in your child’s behavior.
RELATED: How to Talk to Your Teenage Daughter
5. Stick to your Word
Stick to your decisions, but don’t forget to be sensitive to your child’s feelings at the same time as being assertive and firm.
6. Delayed Gratification
Rewarding your children for good behavior is a great way for them to display good behavior more often. The rewards do not need to be grand, you can reward them with stickers or other means that you deem appropriate to show your approval.
Children love making their parents happy and receiving approval from them. You can show huge appreciation for good behavior by rewarding it with a simple reward.
All moms should practice the important habit of giving themselves a break from parenting.
Positive parenting offers many advantages, but it can also be difficult, time-consuming, and energy-consuming because training the brain to always be reasonable, gentle, and caring takes a lot of effort.
All of the above can leave you exhausted and depleted, and if you do not take breaks, you will find yourself burned out and it will show in the way you parent.
It’s important to remember that you are a better parent and a better person if you take care of yourself first. Prioritize your wellbeing.
The parenting style that works best for each parent is different. Regardless of what style you use, the most important thing is that children should not be harmed in any way, but should remain happy, respected, heard, loved, and cared for.
Occasionally, children misbehave due to the fact that they are not perfect. It is our responsibility to teach our children how to live in the community. It’s our job as parents to guide their behavior.