Bethan O'Riordan

This weeks “Ask Bethan” explores Gentle Parenting

Q – “Hello Bethan, I see the phrase “gentle parenting” used when talking about managing challenging behaviour.  What does this mean and will it help me?”

A –  Gentle parenting is a way of parenting which aims to connect with the child’s emotional development and in turn communicate with the child in a supportive, helpful, realistic and calm way.  Most of all it’s a reminder to parents that whatever they need to communicate, however they need to be, it can be done by being gentle.

A gentle approach is  important as many parents are trying too hard to reset their parenting techniques and parent in a different way to how they were parented.  Parenting default mode is  ingrained into us, so to remember that we can be gentle is very empowering. 

My experience is that gentle parenting can often get misconstrued as allowing challenging behaviour, this is incorrect.  Gentle parenting is finding that sweet spot between formal (and often shaming) discipline to parenting that  has no boundaries at all.

Gentle parenting places emphasis on the relationship between the parent and child. It centres on how the parent uses skills and qualities such as; being calm, using empathy and helping to make a  child’s difficult behaviour safe for them.  This means holding firm but flexible boundaries and saying no and sticking to it.  The  biggest factor within this approach is that the parent can deal with challenging situations  in a gentle way. This approach has a profound impact versus  shouting.

It’s important to remember that it doesn’t matter what style of parenting you align with, it’s about finding a way of parenting that feels good for you and your family unit.  Children need a parent who can regulate their emotions first and then pass this skill on to them.

If you’d like to enhance your gentle parenting skills, get your free 5 Steps to Calmer Parenting here. And don’t forget to join my free parenting community on Facebook. And if you’d like to submit a question, contact me directly and keep your eye out in the weekly emails for the response.

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