There are several gentle parenting misconceptions, the main one being that it is too soft or permissive and lacks structure or discipline. However, this is untrue. Gentle parenting emphasizes kindness and respect between parents and children, while still providing structure and boundaries when needed. Additionally, it encourages kindness, emotional awareness, autonomy, independence and self-regulation in children.
This article will explore the misconceptions around gentle parenting and why gentle parenting is an effective approach. Read on to learn more about this misunderstood parenting style.
Definition of Gentle Parenting
In order to understand what gentle parenting is and why it works, you MUST know what it is to begin with. Gentle parenting, by definition, is a parenting style that emphasizes emotional and mental awareness of the child, as well as, respect for both parents and the child, not just the parent. Gentle parenting does not rely on conventional forms of discipline such as strict punishment and physical discipline/whooping, to teach children important life lessons. Instead, gentle parenting focuses on connecting with children in order to understand why they misbehave and then correcting them so they’ll actually understand what they did wrong, and why it’s important not to repeat the misbehavior. To learn more in-depth about what gentle parenting is and how to incorporate it into your parenting style, be sure to refer to Gentle Parenting: What Is It and Why It Works.
Gentle Parenting Misconceptions
Now that we given a very brief and broad definition of what gentle parenting is, let’s introduce and explore some of the misconceptions around this effective parenting style.
Gentle parenting lacks discipline or structure.
The first, and most common gentle parenting misconception is that gentle parenting lacks discipline or structure. Many parents and individual believe that gentle parenting is loosely structured and child-led, meaning the child is free to make decisions and misbehave with no consequences. As a result, parents fear the child will lack manners and good behavior. Others fear their child may run over them.
This is one of the most misconceived assumption about gentle parenting thus far. As parents, it’s our job to TEACH and discipline our children when they misbehave so they will learn and internalize the lesson. Some parenting style focus more on the discipline side of things and not much on the teaching side of things. Therefore, they find themselves disciplining their children for the same misbehavior often.
Gentle parenting highly emphasizes both. Discipline is still a part of gentle parenting, however, it looks different than conventional methods. Instead of physical discipline or punishments, gentle parenting encourages parents to talk calmly, but firmly with their children and help them understand why their actions were wrong in order to show respect and model the proper way to respond to undesired behavior. This is a great way to make every mistake a learning lesson rather than a punishment, which can leave young children feeling confused and scared.
When it comes to discipline, gentle parenting emphasizes respect and understanding between parent and child while still providing structure and boundaries. It also encourages independence, autonomy, self-regulation, and kindness in children. While discouraging self-doubt, aggression, and outbursts. Gentle parenting does not lack structure, but rather provides a more nurturing form of discipline that encourages children to learn from their mistakes.
Gentle parenting is too soft and permissive.
Another gentle parenting misconception is that gentle parenting is too soft. Although gentle parenting is more nurturing and encouraging, it does not mean there are no consequences or firm measures and structure in place. Gentle parenting still involves expectations, limits, and boundaries, but it also encourages positive reinforcement and self-regulation. Gentle parenting does not mean permissive parenting. Instead, gentle parenting focuses on teaching children how to regulate their emotions, respond positively to situations, and use their problem-solving skills in order to learn from mistakes. It’s all about the balance between being firm when needed while also demonstrating empathy, love, and understanding.
There are many situations in life where our children will experience difficult or challenging situations and emotions. Life isn’t always easy and people aren’t always nice. As parents, it’s important to understand that gentle parenting is not a way of being permissive, but rather a way to help children cope with their emotions and respond to undesired and difficult real life scenarios and social encounters, in a healthy and productive manner. Gentle parenting encourages children to take responsibility for their actions and be accountable for the consequences, while teaching them how to handle difficult situations in the future.
Gentle parenting is only applicable to young children.
The third gentle parenting misconception is that gentle parenting is only applicable to young children. While gentle parenting works best with young kids due to their lack of developed executive functions and problem-solving skills, it can still be applied as our children develop and grow. The principles of gentle parenting are designed for any age or stage of life, making it a great lifelong approach that encourages understanding, respect, communication, and problem-solving.
Gentle parenting is an approach that focuses on teaching children how to be responsible, independent, kind, and understanding. It encourages positive reinforcement rather than punishment; understanding instead of aggression; and respect instead of fear. By creating a balance between discipline and nurturing love, gentle parenting helps children learn right from wrong. It also emphasizes the importance of problem-solving skills and taking responsibility for their actions. This approach is something that can be used with any age or stage of life, making it a great lifelong practice for parents and children alike.
Gentle parenting creates highly-dependent, soft, or fragile children.
The last misconception that we’re going to cover is that gentle parenting creates highly- dependent, soft, or fragile children. Of course, this is not true. Gentle parenting teaches children how to be independent, resilient, and responsible individuals who understand the importance of respect, boundaries, understanding, and communication. It encourages self confidence, allowing them to trust their own abilities and problem-solve on their own when needed. This means children will learn to judge situations and behave appropriately, even when their parents aren’t around.
Children who are raised with fear and physical aggression, may have trouble self regulating and have self doubt, because they may believe they’re not good enough or perfect enough. They may also depend on their parents to tell them what’s right from wrong, if they were only punished when mistakes were made, but not properly taught to understand the situation itself.
It isn’t punishment and physical discipline that creates independent and strong willed children, it’s parenting them with understanding, respect, and trust that does. Gentle parenting helps children learn important social skills such as communication, problem solving and self-regulation. It emphasizes the importance of teaching children how to handle their emotions in a healthy way and how to be accountable for their actions without fear or aggression.
So despite many misconceptions, gentle parenting is an effective style of parenting that encourages kindness, respect, autonomy and self-regulation in children while still providing structure and boundaries when needed. Despite some misconceptions around gentle parenting being too soft or permissive and lacking structure or discipline, this article has debunked these myths and provided examples of how it can be more effective. Adopting a gentle parenting style can bring many benefits to both parents and children, making it an ideal approach for both parties.
By understanding the true nature of gentle parenting, parents are better equipped to make informed decisions about their own parenting style and create positive and meaningful relationships with their children. Overall, gentle parenting is a great way to raise kids that are self-confident, independent and compassionate individuals. If done properly, it can be an extremely effective parenting style that will help your child grow and develop into well rounded, strong individuals.