Gentle parenting remains a popular parenting choice among millennial parents. However, recent articles suggest that it may not be effective for all children, particularly those exhibiting aggression. So, should parents abandon gentle parenting altogether?
An article in Psychology Today explains the reasons why some people claim that gentle parenting “doesn’t work” and offers valuable insights for parents.
Why gentle parenting is “not working”
Parents misunderstand their child’s needs
Gentle parenting advocates stress the importance of understanding and meeting children’s needs to address challenging behaviors. However, when parents overlook or misinterpret their needs, they then struggle to effectively manage their child’s behavior.
Parents prefer obedience to autonomy
Parents often find their lives more convenient and their kids easier to handle when they have instilled obedience to a tee. However, gentle parenting prioritizes autonomy and collaboration over obedience, based on the fact that while obedience might offer short-term convenience, it can hinder the development of a child’s independent judgment and moral reasoning. This can then lead to long-term challenges in parenting.
The effectiveness of parenting approaches can also be influenced by cultural values. So while obedience may be valued in some cultures, it may not align with parents who prioritize their children’s independence, happiness, and moral development.
Studies on parenting and values
It should also be noted that published research and studies on parenting might offer insights, but these studies are also somewhat influenced by the culture and values of the study’s authors and participants. As such, parents should also consider their own individual value when considering parenting practices.
What parents should do instead
In light of these considerations, here are a few important things that parents should always consider when it comes to their parenting practices
Understand your child’s needs
Parents should strive to understand and address the underlying needs driving their child’s behavior. When parents meet their child’s needs, parents can then foster cooperation and mutual understanding.
Parents should encourage autonomy and decision-making in their children to foster independence and critical thinking skills. Instead of demanding obedience, parents should empower their kids to make informed choices and learn from their experiences.
Prioritizing connection and empathy strengthens the parent-child relationship and reduces the likelihood of disruptive behaviors. When parents foster a supportive and nurturing environment, they effectively address behavioral challenges while maintaining a strong bond with their kids.
Engaging children in collaborative problem-solving teaches valuable skills in conflict resolution and negotiation. Involving kids in the decision-making process allows parents to demonstrate respect for their perspectives and encourage mutual cooperation.
Ultimately, parents should remember that there’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to parenting. Successfully raising children entails striking a balance between meeting your child’s needs and nurturing their development into independent, empathetic individuals.