Gentle Parenting Offers Empathy

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

Think back for a moment about how you were raised. Did you parents threaten punishments (perhaps including physical violence)? Did they offer you rewards for doing your chores? There’s a new, more emphatic way, to parent called gentle parenting. It offers parents and children a way of partnering together to connect and solve problems. 

What is gentle parenting? The Conversation reported that gentle parenting throws out the old ways of disciplining children. Gentle parenting encourages a child to internalize good behavior for its own sake. 

Here are a few examples from The Conversation about what gentle parenting looks like:

  • Start from a place of connection and believe that all behavior stems from how connected the child is with their caregivers.
  • Give choices, not commands. Example: “Would you like to brush your teeth before or after you put on your pajamas?”
  • Allow feelings to run their course. Parents should actively listen to crying. Children have emotions and should be allowed to experience them in a safe way. When parents tell crying children to be quiet, the child may feel ignored.
  • Negotiate limits where possible. For example, the parent can alert their children that they have five minutes left before the family leaves a playground. Parents should actively prevent their children from doing something harmful, such has running into the street or hitting their siblings.
  • Gentle parenting does not do forced affection. There may be a time when a child is at a family party with adults they don’t know well. If an uncle or aunt asked for a hug, the child should be allowed to say yes or no. 
  • Parents should take a time-out when needed. This is important so the parent can regain their composure. 

Essence reported reported that Millennial parents, gentle parenting is viewed as a necessary change. In short, the Millennial generation is moving away from spanking and towards better communication between child and parent.

According to Essence, gentle parenting is giving your child the space to be heard. It is never too late to become more compassionate towards your kids. It is recommended that parents practice eight weeks of consistently using gentle parenting techniques. Experts say this is a good time frame to see if gentle parenting leads to lasting results.

Related Articles on Families.com:

How to Raise a Moral Child

Ways to Practice Gender Neutral Parenting

The Elephant Parent Nurtures Their Child