Gentle parenting has been getting a lot of attention on social media lately. The growing parenting trend refers to a style of parenting that relies on empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries when dealing with kids. The goal of gentle parenting is to raise confident, happy, well-adjusted children.
But it seems that the more popular gentle parenting is getting, it has become equally as controversial. Many parents believe that the practice means letting your children walk all over you or that kids will grow up “soft.”
However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Here’s a guide on what gentle parenting is, how it works, and how it differs from aspects of traditional parenting styles.
Gentle parenting aims to teach kids how to express their feelings in a healthy manner. In contrast, traditional parenting styles often include a punishment and reward system that doesn’t really teach children about the root of their behaviors or why their actions are wrong or right.
They only know what consequences they receive and how they’re treated at the end of the day. As a result, they wind up behaving in a way that caters to either earning rewards or avoiding things out of fear.
Instead of focusing on negative punishment to correct behavior, like time outs or spanking, gentle parenting is about improving a child’s ability to understand and self-regulate their emotions while showing them they still deserve love even in the face of their wrongdoings.
So when your child erupts into a tantrum, there’s no harsh yelling or bribes of candy involved. When practicing gentle parenting, the way to deal with a meltdown is to stay calm and firm.
Ask your child why they’re upset, express how their behavior makes you feel, and explain what will happen if the behavior does not stop.
It’s important to set expectations with your child beforehand about how you will handle conflicts, so they know what’s coming.
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