There are many different parenting styles. They range from a relaxed approach, to stricter methods and even include therapeutic parenting styles as well. Parents want to select the parenting style that will help them raise their kids the best.
Gentle parenting is the name given to a style of parenting that is recently gaining popularity. Today we will look into all aspects of being gentle parents and its impact on kids and adults.
What is Gentle parenting?
Gentle Parenting is a positive and peaceful parenting approach that is different from the traditional mainstream authoritarian parenting style. In this style, parents focus on 4 important principles;
Attachment parenting is another term that we often use for gentle parenting. Technically there are a few differences in both parenting styles, but generally speaking we can use them interchangeably.
Gentle parenting is a style of parenting in which parents build a strong relationship with their children. The relation is based on showing willingness on choices and developing self discipline. Thus, there are less strict rules or demands by parents. It works on understanding from both sides.
Thus, Gentle Parenting helps to teach children how to use patience and positivity to do what’s best for them. Instead of doing something because of fear of punishment like might happen with an authoritarian parenting style.
Gentle Parenting can therefore seem like an appropriate middle ground between Authoritarian Parenting and Permissive Parenting. Ultimately, all parenting styles fall on the spectrum, and gentle parenting does not completely do away with discipline and boundaries, but rather enforces them in a gentle way.
Should you adopt a gentle parenting style?
Many parents are showing interest in gentle parenting. However, they are not sure whether it will be the best choice for them. This article will go over a few benefits and drawbacks of gentle parenting that might help you make the right choice.
Benefits of Gentle Parenting
Gentle parenting comes with various interesting benefits. Here we have a few you need to consider.
The environment of mutual giving
Gentle parents communicate with their kids on all platforms. They allow kids to make their own choice or follow the example you are setting to them. It builds a mutual relationship of understanding and empathy. Moreover, kids learn sharing and mutual giving which is important for their future. It allows children to become kind and compassionate in the future.
Teach children positivity
Parents often suffer when they have to teach their children positivity. However, gentle parenting can easily resolve this issue. The main focus of this parenting style is one development of positive behavior. On the other hand, at an early age, parents learn to differentiate between positivity and negativity. It allows them to control their negative thoughts and manage their tasks perfectly. Besides that, kids can control their emotions.
Understand nonverbal communication
The biggest benefit of gentle parenting is nonverbal communication between kids and parents. Thus, we all know that tantrums are a common problem that parents have to deal with. It leads to frustration and other problems. However, when parents and kids have string attachment it becomes easier for parents to understand the message their kids are trying to convey. Besides that, non-verbal communication develops a strong relation between kids and parents.
A gentle environment leads to higher intelligence
This parenting style allows parents to maintain a comfortable environment in the house. There are no punishments, fears, or strict rules that kids have to follow. It allows kids to focus on their dreams and display their creative abilities. Moreover, kids are more intelligent when they are given freedom of choice.
Drawbacks of Gentle parenting
There are a few drawbacks of gentle parenting that you need to know, which often stem from a poor implementation and consistent use of the parenting style.
No doubt gentle parenting is a good option, but a serious issue it can create if rules and boundaries are not consistently enforced is disciplinary problems. When parents will not lead by example to display and teach their kids the difference between good and bad behavior, nor escalate discipline when required, problems will arise.
Some parents may consider punishments as a ‘philosophically bad’ thing that can make kids more irresponsible (however this leans heavily towards permissive parenting rather than gentle parenting). When this is the case, Kids may not give the proper respect to adults, or to rules or boundaries. This lack of structure can have significant negative developmental effects.
Limited exploratory freedom – going out on the circle
When using a Gentle parenting style, kids may spent a lot of their time with their parents. There is a strong bond and attachment between parent and child. Often in this situation, children are not forced to separate from their parents and that can reduce their chances of exploration and developing strong relationships outside of the parental bond and family unit.
Whilst this parental bond is incredibly important in the healthy development of a child and building trust when they need to come in on the circle of security for reassurance and support, an over reliance on the parent will place the child at a disadvantage for exploration and going out on the circle.
As a result Kids may often not go on trips or with friends because they cannot leave their parents. They often look for ways to stay with the security of their parents and home. For example if presented with conflict during a sleepover at a friends they might panic and require to be picked up.
Kids may become dependent on their parents. They may not take their responsibilities seriously and will often defer to their ‘higher power’ instead of making decisions themselves – this may mean they might take much loner to reach independence as they transition from childhood to teenager and into a young adult. This can be serious issue because they could not be equipped best to be able able to face difficulties or resolve conflicts.
Gentle parenting vs Authoritarian parenting
Mostly, parents will try to follow the mainstream accepted ‘best practice’ of parenting which is conventionally though of as Authoritative parenting – Authoritative parenting sits somewhere between Authoritarian (strict) parenting and gentle parenting. Here we have a little comparison between both ends of the spectrum to help you find where your preferred style of parenting might sit
It is a tough and strict parenting style. There are rules and regulations that kids have to follow. The main aspects of mainstream parenting are;
- Parents will set routines, rules, and regulations.
- Kids have to be respectful of everyone.
- Children have no to little control. Parents have complete control over decisions.
- Bad behavior leads to punishment.
- Kids need to learn to self-soothe and self-settle. They have to go to sleep on time.
- Rewards are given on display of good behavior.
- When a child meets the demands of parents, they get praise.
- Kids have to display mature social behavior like adults.
- Forced separation between parent and child (day care, school, baby sitter)
- A lower level of physical touch between parent and child
It is a more empathetic and understanding approach. Kids and parents work together on rules and regulations. Some aspects of gentle parenting are.
- Observe and follow the natural rhythms of children.
- Parents respect kids due to which kids respect their parents.
- Children are given limited control over their lives and guided choices under the supervision of parents.
- No behavior is ‘inherently bad’. Kids are given opportunities to differentiate between good and bad and understand their emotions and why they acted the way they did.
- Parents provide support to children because they consider self-soothing comes with development.
- There is no strictly defined reward or punishment system because parents are flexible.
- Parents are mindful of immature brain development and do not have high expectations from kids, nor burden them with inappropriate levels of responsibility or decision making.
- There is no forced separation, but the child is encouraged to seek independence.
- The connection between parents and kids is given a high importance.
- A higher level of physical touch between parent and child.
Summary of Gentle Parenting
Selecting the right parenting style like gentle parenting can be tough for parents. However, as Parents you need decide to raise your kids the way you want. Always trust your instincts and do what you think is best for your kids – you got this!
Ultimately, the styles of parenting are all on a spectrum. It is about choosing which elements of different parenting styles are going to work for you, your family and your culture, rather than rigidly sticking to the dogma of one individual style.