Gentle Parenting Leads to Confident Adults

Telare Law

In recent years, we’ve seen a sort of revolution in people’s approach to parenting that looks very different from the no-nonsense style of raising children that many of our own parents brought us up with in the 80’s and 90’s. What we are referring to is what is commonly known as “gentle parenting”. 

Gentle parenting is a parenting style that promotes an empathetic relationship with your children based on willingness and choices, rather than demands and rules made by a parent. The parenting style is meant to instill a desire to do good or right in the child via positive reinforcement and patience, as opposed to fear and punishment.

Sarah Ockwell-Smith is a parenting expert and advocate of gentle parenting. She’s the author of The Gentle Parenting Book, who writes: ‘Gentle parenting isn’t really about using specific methods. It’s about an ethos and completely changing the way you think. It’s more a way of being than a way of doing. Approach any and all parenting situations with empathy for the child and try to understand the reasonings behind their behavior, working together to change it positively and accepting what cannot be changed.’ This parenting technique inevitably creates more calm adults as they attempt to calm their riled-up children. 

This can’t come easy to people who were raised quite differently, as it is instinct to do what you know, but with an intentional sense of self awareness and insight into where children’s actions and feelings really stem from, a parent can evolve past their own childhood experience and pave the way for a new way of doing things.

There are four crucial components of accomplishing this: empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. And let’s face it, the whole world could use more of it. In regards to being empathic with one’s approach to parenting, you have to first grasp that a lack of understanding is often what makes a difficult situation that much harder to navigate. So, by first slowing down our instinct to react and taking the time to ask a couple of questions to understand what it is that caused a child’s misbehavior, things can move along so much quicker and can prevent a repeat of the ordeal in the future. 

For their genuine effort, parents often experience more respect from their child. In most parent child relationships, respect is expected from children without any effort from the parents, simply based on the fact that they are the adult. However, gentle parenting requires respect to be earned through parents showing the same to their child’s feelings and personalities. 

Empathy and respect being practiced in tense situations can lead to children understanding their parents’ motivation for setting boundaries, as well as parents knowing that children are not fully developed, and therefore do not have the same control over their actions. With this in mind, parents can learn to change their expectations of what is ‘normal’ or bad behavior. This is especially important when a child is having a hard time behaving. Surely everyone remembers the banter of asking their parents “why” when they were told to do something a certain way and only getting “because I said so” in response. 

Gentle parenting may be viewed by some as a very relaxed approach. However, it actually takes quite a bit of work, as well as time to accomplish the desired outcome. It’s a little bit like reparenting your own self. For instance, when you’re frustrated with how your child is acting, before you react, stop and ask yourself if how you’re responding is really what you want to teach your chld. 

If they have done something inappropriate, do you really want to yell at them to get it right or punish them, inevitably teaching them that yelling is how to resolve situations, or do you want to teach them how to stay calm and seek solutions? If we were all to adopt this technique in our own families and relationships, we’d end up being surrounded by kinder, more respectful people, who are confident in their abilities to set and respect boundaries.

Gentle parenting can result in confident and low tempered adults. These calm adults are slow to anger and can handle stressful situations, like car accidents or death of a loved one, with a better attitude and understanding perspective. However, if you find yourself in stressful situations and being calm and understanding is hard to maintain, a personal injury lawyer like our friends at Brandy Austin Law Firm, PLLC can assist you during these stressful times.