5 Ways To Use Gentle Parenting in Your Day-to-Day Family Life

Gentle parenting is a type of parenting that involves seeing children as your equals in humanity. It takes a humanistic approach to care for young children that rejects the idea of harsh discipline, spanking, or yelling. Gentle parenting shows us that our children’s boundaries are just as important as our own and that we should act as mentors and guides to help our children grow and become functional adults.

Here are five ways you can start to use gentle parenting with your own child/ren.

Have Conversations With Your Child About Emotions

For children to learn emotional skills and regulation, they need to understand emotions. Many parents do not have a sit-down discussion with their children about emotions and how to communicate them. Many children learn that some emotions warrant loving responses, and others warrant anger or frustration. For a young child, this can feel very invalidating.

It’s important to let your children know that there are no “bad” emotions. Some emotions may feel bad, but they’re all part of life, and they exist to teach us important lessons about our bodies, boundaries, and limitations. Have your child talk to you about a specific time when they felt angry, sad, loving, happy, or fearful. Give them your own examples.

Naming emotions and sharing examples of what they look and feel like can help your child name their own emotions in the midst of an upset in the future, which can help them grow interpersonal skills in the long run and see emotions as an important part of life. These lessons will also prevent your child from developing an avoidant attachment style.

Give Your Child Choices

Although children do not control everything in a family’s life, they should still be consulted and heard. The old idea that “children should be seen and not heard” is outdated, and it rejects a child’s humanity. Ask your child about their opinion when it comes to daily tasks, such as outings you’ll go on or what they want to eat.

You might find that when you give your child a choice, they’re more likely to pick healthy and good options for themselves. If you restrict your child often, they are more likely to rebel and tell you “no” when you try to control what they eat or do. You don’t have to let your children run your home, but make sure you see them as people with feelings, wants, and needs.

If you want to learn more parenting techniques regarding mental health, check out BetterHelp today.

Be a Good Example

Always be a good example to your children. You’ll want to show them what a healthy romantic relationship should look like as well if you’re married or dating. Children will assume that whatever they see from their parents is the norm in society, and they’ll use that information as they grow up.

For example, if you have an explosive relationship and yell with your partner often, your children may also grow up to enter relationships where they yell or are yelled at by partners. Instead of showing your children arguments, show them healthy communication, validation, respecting boundaries, and kindness.

Respect and Validate Your Child’s Experiences

You may not always understand your child’s feelings, and that’s okay. Children have a lot of big emotions because they’re still learning how to regulate them. However, telling your child that their emotions don’t make sense, that they’re being silly or stupid, or that they’re dramatic is extremely harmful.

Some children are more emotional than others, and this doesn’t make them attention-seeking or dramatic. It means they have a sensitive heart. Tell your children that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, or scared. Hug them when they need it. Help them learn ways to regulate their emotions and get out of the tough spots. They will thank you for it later.

Respect Your Child’s Physical Boundaries

Finally, always respect your child’s physical boundaries. Many adults will hug and kiss children without their permission, which shows them that they have no control over their bodies. Doing this to a child can put them at risk of being assaulted or hurt by someone in their life in the future.

Instead, show your child how to say “no” to physical touch from the beginning. Always ask them before hugging or kissing them. If they tell you “no,” say, “okay,” and move on. Consent is something that should be taught young.

Always teach your kids to respect the physical limits of other people as well. If their siblings or friends don’t want to be hugged or touched or bothered, make sure they know to give them space and respect this. Teaching your child about boundaries will strengthen their relationships for years to come.

Note:- The article is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

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