One of the easiest things to do before you have children is decide how you raise your children. Almost everybody who isn’t a parent tends to be a perfect parent when they don’t have a real life child to deal with.
When you throw in a lifetime of being raised in a way that’s not aligned with a gentle outlook, it can be very difficult to unlearn some of the things you may have learned from your parents.
When it comes to you having your own children, you might decide to go a different way to how you are raised – and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you were ever raised in an environment where you were taught to obey and to do as you were told no matter what and don’t question it, the chances are you are going to struggle to unlearn that influence.
Learn New Behaviors
The thing that you need to know about gentle parenting is that there is always time for you to learn new behaviors. If you are raised with an iron fist in a strict household with parents who were rulers rather than equals, then you may not like most of the ideas that come with gentle parenting.
It may seem foreign to you to give a child a choice in what they would like to do and how they would like to do it. This isn’t your fault and you shouldn’t feel guilty for that. You need to be able to make a conscious choice instead. You have to consciously choose every single day to be different for your children compared to how your parents dealt with you.
Instead of putting your children in a childminder situation you may choose to put them in a Montessori for young children. Instead of using disciplinary measures that involve hitting children, you may go a different route.
Change your Parenting Style
If you are already a parent and you’re just deciding that your current parenting style just isn’t working for you, you can change. You don’t have to come from an authoritarian parenting style. In this article, we are going to talk about how you can be a more gentle parent. You may be ready to jump in and get going, but this is a big journey for you. You need to be prepared.
Consider your own challenges.
Currently you are thinking about turning to a gentle parenting routine because you believe it can solve a problem for you and your family and the chances are that it will. However, you have to be honest with yourself. You have to consider your own outlook.
Do you expect your children to obey? Do you expect perfection and great behavior wherever you go no matter what? Do you put your child immediately into the picture or do you just think of your own?
These may be tough questions but these are all questions you have to ask yourself before you decide to check the current children.
Consider additional needs. Do any of your children have additional needs that you need to take into consideration? Neurotypical children are able to understand the yes, the no and why. A neurodivergent child is not. This should be taken into consideration before you start becoming a gentle parent because this is going to determine how you parent.
Consider your support. The last thing that you need to consider before you go ahead on the gentle parenting route is whether you have support or not. As parents we tend to look around and see that no one is with us and we still forge ahead. Because we do everything that we do that could be best for our children.
However, if you are with a partner who doesn’t agree with your parenting ideas, you need to have a serious conversation and even seek counseling. Not every parenting duo will see eye to eye, but you need to be able to present them with evidence of what you’re saying works and why it works. Your support system is really going to matter here, and once you have that around you can make a very big difference.
Give yourself some Grace
Once you have looked at these three points, give yourself some grace. Gentle parenting is not easy – it is not easy for us to be gentle in every interaction with our children. Children are naturally selfish and they take more from us than they give, but that’s just the nature of adults versus children.
When it comes to gentle parenting you need to look at the family as a unit and not as opposition. You need to be on each other’s side at all times, and you need to consider your children as equal human beings to you. They need to be able to make their own decisions within reason, based on the choices that you give them.
You also need to consider the consequences of actions doesn’t have to be harsh punishment – it should be a natural consequence where possible. Let’s take a look at how you could be a gentle parent.
Play out your expectations. If you want to go down the gentle parenting route, then you need to let your children know that you are trying something new. The explanation that you give can be very simple no matter what their age is.
If you know that you yell too much as a parent and you want to stop, tell them that they don’t deserve to be yelled at when they misbehave and that you will handle their behavior in a calmer manner from now on.
Ask for patience, because this is going to be as new to you as it is to them and give them permission to ask you to stop shouting if you raise your voice. You may want to fight against this because your children will be telling you what to do, but you’ve asked them to do this.
Learn to apologize. You’re going to mess up a lot in this journey, and when you do you need to say sorry. When your children make a mistake or they do something wrong, you teach them to apologize for their actions and feel remorse for it. You’re going to lose your temper from time to time because you are human, and your children will make you think that gentle parenting is a crock.
When that happens you need to take a breath and step back and look at the bigger picture. You knew that you would mess up so when it happens put on the big girl pants and apologize to your child. It takes time to learn to do this, so again give yourself that grace.
Be in the moment. When things are going right and when things are going wrong, you need to do what you can to be in the moment with your child. Don’t try to run away from the effort that you’re putting in.
Even when things feel like they’re going wrong, hold your child close and remind them that things are going very well. That you are both doing everything you can to work together. When they are having their meltdowns, sit with them and breeze with them and let them feel your come spread into them. It will make a big difference to all of you.
Take your time. In those first few hours of becoming a gentle parent, you’re going to feel like you want to pull your hair out and give up because nobody seems to be listening, it’s not true. The children are definitely paying attention to everything that you’re doing, so make sure that you are taking time with yourself and breathing before you answer any queries or you respond to any negative behavior.
Also look at the way that you respond to any negativity and start working on yourself
Every day is a new day. No matter what happened the day before, even if you yell when you said you wouldn’t, even if your children were pulling on your patience even when you hoped that they wouldn’t, wipe the slate clean and don’t carry any negativity over into the new day. Look at how you have been dealing with each other and make a point of starting the morning with positivity every single day.
Learn how to say no. Just because you are gently parenting your children doesn’t mean you never say no to that. Being gentle is not being permissive, so you don’t need to allow negative behavior or say yes to every single thing that they’re asking you for dental parenting miss treating your children like humans and you’re not going to be able to give them everything they ask for every moment of the day.
Firm but gentle. Your children still need to have boundaries even if they are generally put in place. They also need routines to be emotionally and physically healthy. Permissiveness is not gentle parenting and gentle parenting is not permissive. It takes however long it takes, and as long as you’re putting those boundaries and in forcing them gently, you’re doing well.
Your children are going to have feelings about that and push back, but that’s what children do. Tell them to have their feelings, but the rules are not going to change.
Remember, discipline doesn’t have to be physical. Were you smacked as a child? If you’ve ever been disciplined with punishment, you’ll know how degrading and shameful it can feel. Discipline isn’t synonymous with punishment, however. Punishment doesn’t teach children how to make amends, it just teaches them to be scared to make mistakes.
Children need to make mistakes and they need to feel safe enough to do so, but you just need to ensure that each situation you are put in with your child is one that you could all learn from. You don’t have to smack a child, nor do you have to punish them with isolation.
Talk through the problem, talk through the behavior, and come up with a solution that works as a natural consequence. Hitting your child because they teach another child doesn’t teach them anything – remember that when the older generation tells you otherwise.