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When it comes to parenting everyone wants to give you some advice. Even those people that have never been parents.
I’m a researcher though. I need to see the facts and the evidence presented in front of me before I draw my own conclusions. My decisions around parenting were made in the same way.
This is how I found gentle parenting. Or more accurately, it is how I found a name for the way that I want to parent. This is a guide about how you can gently parent your children too.
Create a connection
We all hope that we are making a connection with our children. Sometimes that feels like it comes easy, but in those moments when it is hardest is when we need to make the most effort.
If your child is in a rage, then try to make a connection somehow. This can be by acknowledging their feelings or getting down to their level. Whatever is appropriate for the age of your child.
Share your emotions too. If you are feeling sad, angry or frustrated at the situations, then share that too. They will appreciate you articulating your emotions and give them a greater vocabulary to express theirs.
Use natural consequences
Natural consequences are the direct actions that follow a situation. For example, if they draw on their favourite teddy bear, then the natural consequence will be that they will have to go without Ted, whilst he’s in the washing machine.
Part of the parcel of using natural consequences is explaining them to your children. Create a conversation around the incident and discuss why that consequence is happening.
The benefit of using natural consequences is that they make sense in the world. It is how our actions are regulated as an adult. If I spend all my money on sweets as a grown-up, then I’m not going to have it to pay for my Netflix subscription. I’ll learn from that. Probably.
Aim to teach
At its basic level, gentle parenting centres around teaching. It is our role as parents to help our children navigate through this strange world and to give them the tools to manage that.
Therefore, we need to teach our children. When they act in a way that harms others, we want to teach them not do it again, not punish them for now.
We want to teach them to better understand their emotions and provide strategies to release them and channel them too.
What we absolutely do not want to do is join our children in their rage. Even if the urge is strong, you need to act calm.
It is almost impossible to teach and make a connection when you are in the wrong frame of mind. So, take a few deep breaths and some time out if you need to before you confront the situation.
Children are small humans
Even though they can do things sometimes that feels so alien to us as adults, they are still humans. They deserve the same respect that we give to adults.
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.