How to Use Gentle Parenting

How to Use Gentle Parenting

Gentle parenting is a set of techniques that you can use to parent your children in a way that feels loving and compassionate, but also sets clear boundaries for behavior. It’s not about spoiling your kid or letting them do whatever they want, but about helping them learn to self-regulate so that they’re able to make good decisions on their own. The concept of gentle parenting began with Dr. Laura Markham, who created the “five keys” of gentle parenting: communication, self-regulation, physical connection, respect and responsibility. These five keys help children develop into healthy adults who function in a way that respects themselves and others around them.

Set limits with a sense of security.

It’s important to set limits with a sense of security. You want your children to feel safe and secure with you, so it’s best to set limits when they are calm and not in the middle of a tantrum. Setting limits when you are calm and not emotionally escalated will also help your child feel more secure in their world.

Be predictable and plan ahead.

Being predictable and planning ahead is a great way to reduce stress. When you are consistent with your parenting, your child will know what to expect from you and they will feel safe.

When it comes to planning ahead, this can mean anything from grocery shopping or packing lunches the night before so that when the sun rises the next morning there is a reduced opportunity for frustration and conflict to arise.

Connect with your child before imposing a limit or request.

Connecting with your child can help them understand the situation better, and it can also help you understand the situation better. This will make both of you feel more secure in what’s happening.

Use statements to let your child know that you understand how they feel and that their feelings are important, prior to setting a boundary or redirecting a behavior.

Communicate your feelings to your child appropriately

When you’re upset and want to express yourself, it’s easy for your child to feel like they’ve done something wrong. But this can actually lead them into a cycle of guilt and shame that keeps them from trusting or talking with you about their feelings. By using I-statements when expressing yourself, you create an open environment where both parent and child can feel safe discussing what happened without guilt or shame.

Give your child choices that honor personal responsibility.

Giving your child choices that honor personal responsibility is a great way to build confidence and self-esteem. This can be done by giving them choices that are appropriate for their age and development.

Giving children meaningful choices helps them feel empowered. Children benefit from this practice of making decisions for themselves.

Try to avoid power struggles at all costs.

Power struggles are an unhealthy way of resolving conflict. They can lead to anger, resentment and loss of trust in the parent-child relationship.

Instead of arguing with your child about who gets what toy or when bedtime will be, try setting limits by saying something like: “I understand that you are upset and I know you want to stay up and watch another TV show, however, bedtime is at 8pm.” If your child continues to argue against your limit setting, remember not to get caught up in the back and forth; keep repeating the boundary calmly.

Being gentle means showing love, not anger, when setting boundaries and giving directions for how to behave

It’s important to remember that you are responsible for your own feelings and actions. You can’t control your child’s behavior, but you can control how you respond to it. A gentle parent does not use anger as a tool of discipline; instead they use love and empathy so that their child learns from their mistakes rather than feeling punished by them.

Gentle parenting is a wonderful tool for parents to use when they want to raise kind, responsible children. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to be perfect in order for this technique to work; all you need is an open mind and willingness to try something new.

Mindhues therapist can help you and your child discover how to create a calm and supportive relationship, along with many other strategies to increase self regulation and emotional awareness for both parent and child. Contact us today to get started.