Gentle parenting is a parenting style that emphasizes nurturing, respectful communication, and connection with children. It is based on the idea that children are naturally curious and competent, and that they need to feel safe and loved in order to thrive.
Gentle parenting originated in the 1970s with pediatrician William Sears, who developed the concept of attachment parenting. Attachment parenting emphasizes the importance of close physical and emotional connections between parents and children, and encourages parents to be responsive to their children's needs.
Gentle parenting can be applied to all stages of a child's development, and focuses on building trust, respect, and understanding between parents and children. It is based on the belief that children are not miniature adults, and that they need to be treated with care and compassion as they learn and grow.
Gentle parenting can involve a range of practices, including breastfeeding, co-sleeping, responsive feeding, and positive discipline techniques such as redirection and natural consequences. It is not about permissiveness or indulging children, but about finding balance and supporting children as they learn and grow.
Overall, gentle parenting is about creating a nurturing, supportive environment for children and helping them develop into confident, compassionate, and capable adults.
An example of how a gentle parent might handle a child who has just made a mess might be to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Rather than becoming angry or punishing the child, the gentle parent might say something like, "I can see that you were having fun and didn't mean to make such a big mess. Let's work together to clean it up and find a better way to have fun next time." This approach helps the child feel heard and understood, and teaches them problem-solving skills rather than fear or shame.
If you’re curious to see demonstrated methods of gentle parenting, there are some great pages on social media doing exactly that! One of our favourites is @lauralove5514 on TikTok - she shows exactly how she speaks to her children in different situations as someone practicing gentle parenting.
Obviously, gentle parenting is an in-depth topic that we could go on and on about, but for today, we hope you found this introduction to be a helpful starting point!