What can we do without the people who raised us? As children, we often question our parents’ actions, and once we’ve become parents ourselves, we see the reason behind some of their decisions. But this shouldn’t satisfy us, thinking that we can emulate how we were raised. Instead, we should always look at how we can improve and do better.
Defining Gentle Parenting
Parenting is more than just providing food and shelter to your children. It includes making sure that they’re eating diverse food to fill their nutritional requirements. Parenting also means providing a shelter that’s both comfortable and clean. But just as it’s important to have your air ducts cleaned regularly to maintain a good atmosphere for your children, or how critical it is to learn how to cook well to provide good food, it’s also important to learn how to show love and concern to your child.
And that’s where gentle parenting comes into play. It’s the emotional aspect of parenting. It’s being understanding, empathetic, and respecting your children. It assumes that parents will try to understand what their children think and feel, be emphatic towards their choices, and respect their decisions. Gentle parenting focuses on what children want and need versus what the parents impose on the children. It’s also often associated with the “no punishment” idea that’s often grossly misunderstood.
The Benefits of Raising Your Kids Gently
Because gentle parenting focuses on giving children decisions and autonomy, children are more likely to become independent and self-reliant. Gentle parenting hones their cognitive ability to create and establish guidelines for themselves, becoming more disciplined in the process. Many people often think that gentle parenting is a laissez-faire method, but in truth, it teaches the child that their decisions will affect them and that they’re accountable for their actions.
And when parents exercise gentleness, even in moments of great stress, children learn to see things as they are. They learn to avoid frustrations, manage their anger better, and be a tolerant and empathetic person overall. It’s a great way to promote positive emotional development.
How You Can Be Gentle
Being gentle can be learned, and learning how to be gentle towards your kids is an admirable decision to make. Here are a few practical tips you can start following.
Choices Instead of Commands
Don’t just give commands without telling your children why. Or better yet, ask them for their opinion. Ask them even the simplest of questions like, “do you want the blue cup or the red cup?” This teaches them to decide for themselves and be responsible for their decision.
Letting Children Feel Their Emotions
Often, we tell our children to stop being angry or frustrated. But we all know that’s not how emotion works. Let your children be sad or angry. Allow their emotions to run their course; provide them a safe space where they can express their emotions. However, it’s also important to teach your kids the importance of maintaining grace in public and make the process of expelling their emotions a private one.
Trust Your Children
Many parents often express distrust in unintentional ways, such as overriding their children’s decisions for themselves. It’s critical to avoid invalidating your children, and instead, consciously place your trust in them. When they know that their parents trust them, kids learn to value this connection and will be less likely to lie.
Punishments Don’t Teach Anything
Many of us were punished when we were kids. And truth be told, it taught most to “avoid getting caught” instead of learning that some things are inherently wrong. Instead of punishing a child, explain why what they did was wrong and follow it with the appropriate response.
Take, for example, a child that plays video games beyond their allotted time secretly. Teach them the value of self-control, and take away their games momentarily. Of course, returning it once they’ve understood the lesson. Punishments won’t teach your children anything unless you tell them what’s wrong.
Find the Root of the Behavior
How children act often has a root cause. If they’re often irritable or grumpy, instead of punishing them, find out the reason. Address the root cause and solve it. You’ll find that children are willing to cooperate if you’re addressing the cause of their behavior.
It’s About Parental Self-control
Parenting is difficult; there’s no denying that. Gentle parenting is challenging as it entails greater self-control on the parents’ end. But it’s a worthy struggle, as your children will grow up to be good people, with positive habits and good virtues.