Why Gentle Parenting Ranks as the Most Successful Approach to Parenting

gentle parenting

# **Why Gentle Parenting Is The Most Effective Parenting Style**

## Summary

Gentle parenting is a parenting style that emphasizes respect, understanding, empathy, and boundaries. It is often misunderstood, but it does not mean that parents do not discipline their children. Instead, it focuses on treating children with respect and helping them understand when they have done something wrong. This article will explore why gentle parenting is the most effective parenting style and how it can positively impact children’s development.

## Introduction

Gentle parenting is a parenting style built on respect, understanding, empathy, and boundaries. The term gentle parenting can sometimes lead to misconceptions. Gentle parenting does not mean you do not discipline your child, but you simply treat them with respect and make them understand when they have done something wrong.

## The Importance of Acknowledging Children’s Emotions

Children also have emotions, but they don’t know how to deal with them yet. Adults often have a hard time controlling their anger, so how can we expect children to navigate their realm of new emotions without sometimes acting out. The feelings of a young child are often dismissed because they are considered not to have any real problems in life while we, as adults who are busy providing for our family, are the only ones assumed to be occupied with problems. However, children’s discomfort or irritation with their own issues are perfectly real and big in proportion to the things they have had to deal with in their lives.

## Providing Explanations and Empathy

Of course, adults do not cry if they are not able to get an item they want in a store. Adults know what they can and cannot afford. The child does not understand money or how much money their parent has. If a child can’t get the thing they want in the store, they cannot understand why not, which leads to the frustration they do not have much experience with. People build up resilience to negative emotions, which is why adults are better equipped to deal with their own frustrations. Children have not had the chance to build up any resilience.

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Shutting down or ignoring the emotions of your kids can lead to lifelong effects. Parents often get frustrated or embarrassed by their children, yell at them to be quiet. This does not help the situation because it generally only escalates tensions. It is a sign of disrespect that may affect their self-esteem in the long run.

Children also need to be understood. Parents should take into account that their child is uneducated about life and the rest of the things the parent is educated about. Most children simply need to have situations explained to them and this will alleviate some of their frustration. With the child in the store who starts crying, do not tell them to suck it up. Explain to them that you do not have enough money and that you need to spend your money on essentials and to save some for emergencies. I remember my mother explaining this to me, and I was much calmer about not being able to get the things I wanted. However, some kids will still be understandably upset. This is where you need to pull out the empathy and tell them you get upset when you cannot have things either and that it is okay. Let them get out their feelings about the issue and then move on.

## The Importance of Setting Boundaries

An important thing that gentle parenting does is set boundaries. You should not let your child have the thing they want even if they do not stop throwing a fit. If you do that, it may create disrespect and the child may think they can get want they want if they get upset enough. The child needs boundaries to learn to think about the reasons explained to them of why they cannot have something. Keeping boundaries lets them learn that they need to use their words and communicate.

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## Effects of Different Parenting Styles on Children

There are four main parenting styles that are commonly used: authoritarian parenting, authoritative parenting, permissive parenting, and neglectful parenting. Authoritarian parents are strict parents who treat their children as if their opinions do not matter. These parents want their words to be taken at face value without explaining their reasoning to their children. These parents may snap their fingers at their children, tell them to stop crying or “be quiet.” These behaviors make children feel as though their parents do not care about their feelings.

The authoritative style is the one that research shows to be the most beneficial to child development. Children who were raised by this style were more happy, capable, and confident. This style sets rules and boundaries but does not require that children follow them blindly. They are permitted to posit disputes. This style is the one most like gentle parenting. People may imagine that gentle parenting is permissive parenting. This is not the case. Permissive parenting allows children to do as they please with no intervention on the part of the parent. Permissive parenting, however, is involved in the child’s life. Permissive parents ask their children how they are feeling and what they would like to do.

Neglectful parenting, on the other hand, does not allow for discipline or interest in the child’s upbringing. Neglectful parents leave their children to fend for themselves. Even if the parent is physically present, they are emotionally and instructionally unavailable. This typically leads to the poorest self-confidence and academic performance of children.

There is not much research yet on the long-term effects of gentle parenting on children. Gentle parenting sets rules and allows for disputes much like authoritative parenting. The difference in these styles is simply that gentle parenting places more emphasis on your children being a partner to you. Parents often make mistakes; children should be given the room to tell their parents when they are doing something wrong. This makes your children feel as those their opinion is valuable. It makes for confident children who grow to learn to articulate their feelings.

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## How to Discipline Your Child While Gentle Parenting

Gentle parenting does have methods of discipline. However, the standard understanding of discipline as punishment is not what is used. The word discipline, as used by gentle parenting practices, means: to teach. A disciple is a student. Therefore, when you discipline your child, you are teaching them. This does not have to involve harsh tactics. Gentle discipline does not only punish specific behavior but teaches children life lessons. By teaching children why something they have done is “wrong,” they will understand why they should not do it again. This is more effective than snapping at a child for a mistake they have made.

Here are some ways to utilize gentle parenting discipline:

1. Give rules and consequences ahead of time: If you tell your child that they must walk in the parking lot because they are more likely to be hit by a car when running, this gives them an understandable reason for walking. You can then tell them that if they decide to run, they will not be allowed to get candy in the store. Therefore, there is a negative consequence and a choice that they are allowed to make.

2. Use praise and positive attention to reinforce good behavior: Acknowledging when your child has done a good job is a good way to get them to continue the behavior. If your child, for instance, washes their own dish, tell them how helpful that was to you so that you have more free time. This gives the child positive attention and knowledge of a good reason to repeat the behavior.

3. Explain logical consequences: If your child makes a mess when playing and does not clean it up when they are asked to, explain to them that they will not be allowed to…

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