What is Gentle Parenting? Why Gentle is Easier

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Parenting children is hard, especially with their wild emotions and irrational demands. What if I told you that understanding basic child psychology could help your sanity at home? Below I will share what Gentle Parenting is, and why it is a game changer for all parents a like.

Gentle Parenting has really changed the way I see my kid’s behavior. When he “misbehaves” I now understand why, and its allowed me to keep my cool which consequently helps my little one regulate faster.

Are you ready to learn more?

Just to reiterate: Gentle Parenting is a method of caring for children that follows an understanding of child development. This way a parent will adjust their expectations to what they know their child can handle at the specific stages of their life. 

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    Resources for the Gentle Parent 


    When Luca, our toddler just turned one the meltdowns seemed never ending. I really struggled to balance meeting his needs. Everyday I seemed to be getting sucked into the vortex of his rollercoaster emotions

     3 books in particular helped construct my understanding of Luca’s behavior. Now when he has big emotions, I am able to better assist him while remaining gentle and collected, (not always though- I am still human!) If you haven’t read these books I HIGHLY recommend you get them now. I like listening to them in form of audiobooks. As a toddler Mama I’m always on the go. 

    Personally I love Audible (through Amazon). If you sign up for a 30 day free trial with my link, Audible will gift you TWO free audio books!

    ==>New to Audible: Get 2 FREE audible books to start being a Happier Mom!<==

    Learning is great way to start your journey to becoming a more Gentle Parent! If you choose to get your FREE trial through my affiliate link you’ll also be supporting this blog at no extra cost to you. Double win! 

    Here are the books I greatly recommend!

    1. No Bad Kids, By Janet Lansbury
    2. How to Talk so Little Kids will Listen, By Joanna Faber & Julie King 
    3. Tears and Tantrums: What to Do when Babies and Children Cry, By Aletha Solter

    Don’t be fooled by the boring cover of Tears and Tantrum. The ONLY reason I bought this book was because someone highly recommended it to me because looking at the cover one would imagine a very dry style of writing, however the book is simply wonderful, easy to understand and just as fun read overall.

    If anything the book “how to talk so little kids will listen” is a bit mouthier and harder to follow at times if you are not giving it your full attention.


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    Tell me more about Gentle Parenting….


    Gentle Parenting believes that a child is seen as a WHOLE person who’s experience of the world should be treated as equally important. A child regardless of age should be treated with the same respect as their adult peers. 

    Expectations will differ between adults and children but if you wouldn’t yell at your guest for not eating everything you served them, refrain from doing so with your child too.


    Why Gentle Parenting?


    Acknowledging that your child’s feelings are equally valid (yes I see it is really important for you to have both the red and the blue car in hand) will decrease the build up of frustration and deliver an inherently happier child. 

     When implementing Gentle Parenting techniques you will experience less power struggles and time with your kids will become more fun. 

    The book No Bad Kids by Janet Lansbury (get it for FREE with a 30 day Audible Trial) gives a ton of insight on how to reduce power struggles in your home. I mention it again because reading Janet’s book was a game changer for me and the first one I got my hands on once we entered toddler-ville.

    ==>Janet Lansbury is a disciple of Magda Gerber and the RIE philosophy. Janet has a wonderful podcast I listen to as well<==


    Why Aren’t More People Using Gentle Parenting Techniques?


    The largest hurdle to overcome towards realizing Gentle Parenting bliss is to change YOUR BEHAVIOR. What?! What do you mean ME?! What do I have to do with my child misbehaving? These are the questions many parents might ask is return, but a lot of power struggles come from parent’s unrealistic expectations for their children. Changing is never fun which is why many parents struggle practicing Gentle Parenting.

    But hear me out – Our kids are looking at us to learn how to behave. The way we respond and engage with them can have a HUGE impact long term. For example, if you are in the habit of acting short tempered, your toddler will very likely take on that same type of behavior. 


    How Can I Become a More Gentle Parent?


    First of, remind yourself that the relationship with your child is a two way street. Not a one-way. Often parents think they can continue behaving the same way and the child should magically change. Instead there is a lot of self awareness required by the side of the parent. They need to acknowledge that their responses might be affecting the relationship with their child.

    ==>I have a few great examples here on how to change your parenting during power struggles<==


    Is Gentle Parenting Submissive?


     The most common misconception about gentle parenting methods is that it encourages submissiveness on the side of the parent. You might have heard that Gentle Parents end up with wild and uncontrollable children. Get that worry out of your head right away. It is not true!

     If done CORRECTLY, Gentle Parenting still sets clear boundaries with children. The boundaries just look different and are structured to allow them to flourish on their terms instead of being established to exert control. 


    An Example of Conventional Parenting vs Gentle Parenting  


    Let’s say one evening your child keeps pulling out all their toys even though it’s the end of the day. Bedtime routine is about to start. You tell them to stop but they are not listening. 

    Conventional Parents might see this as misbehavior and yell at their child, maybe send them to a time-out.  

    A Gentle Parent sees that the toddler is tired. They understand the child doesn’t have enough fuel left in his tank to listen to instructions. Instead of yelling the parent physically stops the child in their steps and removes them from the situation. 

     A Gentle Parent might say: “we are not playing anymore tonight as it’s time to get ready for bed. I see you can’t stop taking the toys out so I will carry you away from the playroom”. 

    Your child could have a meltdown in both scenarios but in the conventional setting the child is left feeling misunderstood and isolated from the parent. They might also feel unsettled as they they realize that their parents get easily upset by them. 

    In the Gentle setting the child feels safe that the parent is able to handle their rollercoaster emotions. They might be upset they couldn’t continue playing but feel understood and less frustrated by the more calm approach. 


    Next Steps?


    If you want to become a more gentle parent I highly recommend you start by listening to No Bad Kids. You can get your free version here when signing up for a 30 day Audible Trial. Second, after reading this post on what s gentle parenting, go over to how to stop the cycle of yelling at home.

    What is you biggest parenting challenge?

    Comment below.

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