Basic Practices, Advantages, Disadvantages, More

With so many different parenting options, how do you choose which method brings out the best in you and your child?

There is no single answer to this question, and chances are good that you will be incorporating (knowingly or not) several different styles of parenting as you learn what works for your family. But it can be nice to know what some of the different philosophies are.

Enter gentle parenting. Soft parenting is built on the following foundations:

  • understand your child
  • sympathize with them
  • show them respect
  • set limits

It’s about recognizing your child as an individual and meeting their needs.

You can thank Sarah Ockwell-Smith, UK childcare expert and author of “The Gentle Parenting Book” for putting a name to this parenting style. The belief is that gentle parenting helps you build a relationship with your child based on their will and choices, rather than your expectations and rules.

You might want to think of it this way: the tools of old school bossy parenting are parental control and punishment. The child is expected to behave in a way that is acceptable to the society in which he lives. If he does not behave, he is pressured to adjust his behavior or be punished.

The tools of gentle parenting are connection, communication, and consistency. Ask any parent who follows this style and they’ll tell you to add a healthy dose of patience to these three C’s to get things going.

Let’s take a brief look at the basic practices that make up gentle parenting. You will notice that the three Cs (connection, communication, consistency) run through these practices. This is because the more connected you are with your child, the more likely they are to want to behave in a way that you like.

Good communication and a gentle consistency with boundaries help make this vital connection.


Be aware of your child’s feelings and needs. There is a reason why your child behaves a certain way. Be there with them.

Try to figure out what they want and if they are old enough ask them. Show them that what’s important to them is important to you too. If your child is crying because he doesn’t want to stay with Grandma while you run to the dentist, try to find out why he is balking. Are they afraid you won’t come back?

The respect

Children are little humans with their own feelings and preferences. And yet, often, in the rush of life, we seem to forget it. Respect means treating your child the way you would like to be treated.

Talk to them the way you would like someone to talk to you. Instead of telling your child to “shut up” when they interrupt your conversation with a friend at the grocery store, explain that in a few moments you will be free to listen.


Research shows that the brain develops rapidly in the first 18 months of life. Since children’s brains are still developing, they don’t have the same control over their behavior that we expect from adults.

Gentle parenting encourages parents to check that their expectations are appropriate for their age. A child does not have a temper tantrum because he likes noise; they just don’t have a better way to ask you what they want.

If your child collapses in the candy aisle at the grocery store because you don’t buy enough, explain to him that candy is definitely a wonderfully delicious treat – and that’s why you buy limited quantities. for special occasions.


Don’t be afraid to set limits for your child, but remember that the fewer rules you have, the easier it will be to be consistent.

Think of boundaries as rules that teach your child a better way to do things. For example: we fall asleep early instead of watching movie after movie, so we can wake up in time to get ready for school without rushing.

Boundaries make your child feel safe. They know what to expect and what is expected of them.

Reward and punishment

Rewards and punishments are not the focus of the gentle parenting method. This is because of the belief that a reward and punishment system teaches a child to behave in a specific way. in order to get a price or avoid unpleasant consequences.

Soft parenting aims to motivate the child inside and not to pick on the carrot at the end of the stick.

Taking a look at other parenting options can help you decide which path to take.

Parental attachment

Parental attachment focuses on a parent’s connection and responsiveness to their child. This parenting style teaches that you can have a positive impact on your child’s emotional health and future relationships by being sensitive to their needs and keeping them physically close.

Skin-to-skin contact is encouraged, and parents view a child’s cry as a cry for help rather than an attempt to manipulate it. (This is why tied parents can choose to use a baby carrier instead of a stroller, for example.)

Attachment parenting and soft parenting are compatible with each other, although they may emphasize different things.

Positive parenting

Positive parenting is a warm, firm style that also emphasizes connecting with your child. A positive parent listens to their child and tries to be aware of their emotions.

A child learns to name his emotions and to look for solutions to his challenges. If you hear a parent say, “I see you’re sad to have to come home, but recess is over now,” know that positive parenting can be their style.

Tiger parenting

So-called “tiger parenting” is seen as an assertive style that places a lot of demands on the child. Tiger parenting can help kids become hardworking, motivated, and conscientious. However, it can come with stress which could lead to emotional issues.

A parent following this style can enroll their child in many extracurricular and academic activities aimed at further development.

Permissive parenting

This is the opposite of authoritarian parenting. Permissive parents see themselves as the friend of the child. Their relaxed and indulgent approach has few rules and little discipline. Permissive parents can’t stop their child from eating ice cream for breakfast.

Soft parenting is a newly named approach, so research substantiated evidence is scarce. However, research shows that the positive bond between parent and child leads to children who can grow into happy, independent and resilient adults.

Interacting with your child gently creates millions of neural connections in their brain. The repetition of these positive interactions establishes the neural pathways that form the basis of future relationships, learning, and logic. Think of it as a long term emotional inoculation.

Research also suggests that imitation is an important learning mechanism, especially for babies and toddlers. Your efforts to model empathy, respect, and understanding lay the foundation for your child’s positive future social skills.

Sweet parenting is not for the faint of heart. This style of parenting involves a lot of self-discipline. You will need to be proactive rather than reactive. You will need to make thoughtful decisions and be a model of empathy, respect, understanding and communication. Remember the generous doses of patience we talked about?

But unlike the self-discipline you will need to employ to stay consistent, some critics argue that a child is not disciplined enough when parents use this method. Soft parenting is all about your child having the inner motivation to do the right thing at times when the wrong choices could have dire consequences, some argue.

Being a gentle parent might not be easy, and sometimes you will feel like a parent yourself. The effort you put into honing your new skills, however, is compensated when you see your child reflect your empathetic and respectful behavior.

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About Daniel Lange

Daniel Lange

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