Welcome to the mini-series on Becoming the Gentle Parent.
If you missed last weeks blog post, it was on self reflection & learning how to get your mindset right in preparation to parenthood, you can catch up on that here.
This week, we're talking about the ins and outs of what it means to be a gentle parent, the approach on being the gentle parent and how to discipline as a gentle parent.
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Once I realized the benefits of the Gentle Parenting approach, it was a no brainer that my partner and I jump on this style of parenting. Once we established how to handle situations with our children and fully understood the approach of gentle parenting, we soon realized and saw for ourselves the communication difference we had with our children.
It was like night and day once we took the time to understand why our children were acting out in the sense they were. Crying, throwing tantrums, 'catching an attitude' all stems from an emotion. Us as parents are responsible for guiding and teaching our children how to cope with such strong emotions. Together, we found out the solution to help bring their emotional state back to a healthy balance. All while teaching them how to understand their own feelings to begin with.
Gentle Parenting is a parenting style that offers a strong and respectful relationship between parent and child. The parenting style focuses on offering choices rather than demands and rules. Offering guidance and understanding rather than harmful discipline and punishment.
How does a parent approach their children in ways that support the gentle parenting style? There are a few tips and bits of information that I find important to know before going into this way of parenting.
1. encourage their independency
This is a huge factor within the gentle parenting approach. Your child must have a sense of independency, we want to encourage them to have the confidence in making choices on their own. When they learn a sense of independency it builds their confidence and shows them that they are capable of communicating their emotions and needs. They are confident that they too, are people just like their parents.
2. offering choices rather than demands
Gentle parenting is definitely a slow paced parenting style. Rather than a child that you are trying to control and demand them to be or act a certain way, gentle parenting is offering choices and expecting the child to speak and voice for themselves. Instead of preparing lunch and demanding they eat what is served, offering a choice in what they would like to have for lunch leads to a more positive outcome in trying new foods and eating all on their plates. Even better if they PREPARE their lunch themselves.
3. explaining their role in the family
It's so important for our children to understand that they are active partners in the family. They are so smart and continue to soak up all of the knowledge we feed them. Our children are capable of preparing meals for themselves. Our children are capable of helping around the homestead, feeding the ducks and picking up dog poop. Every thing they do is a learning lesson that becomes an adult skill. Gentle parenting is all about taking the time to teach and guide our children into the healthy and powerful adults they will one day become.
4. creating the safe haven for our children
We are the main source of influence for our kids. They will look up to us because it is all they know, until they find friends and other influences that is. But it is our job to provide positive influences in the early years as this shapes what their attracted to in the future. Creating a safe haven for children is crucial. It's so important to express nothing but positivity and love, even in the most hard times. We don't allow our children to yell and scream at anyone, so why would we express our emotions that way? Act as a positive role model, always.
The thing about gentle parenting is there really is no 'discipline'. Consequences maybe, but no harsh belittling punishments. It's all about explaining the consequences. A tantrum in the middle of the store leads to us stopping everything and taking a trip to a bench to breathe and recoop or if emotions are very strong, we go to the car. No ifs, ands or buts about it. My children know this is the outcome of tantrums. I refuse to continue on in my trip in a high tension situation. It's a respect for myself and my children as well.
I hope this post inspires you to give this parenting style a try.
If you are already using this parenting style, what would you add onto this blog post?
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With so much love, always,