During one of my meetings today with some of my colleagues, one of them had their baby cousin disturb her while she was presenting; immediately, she blurted out, “shut up!”
I immediately told her not to say to kids to shut up as it negatively impacts them. But unfortunately, this style of parenting she displayed is what we are used to. We are hardly in tune with what kids want or are going through.
Our response when a kid is crying or throwing tantrums is to go aggressive – shouting at the kid to instill fear in them.
I recently have come across the term “gentle parenting,” and after reading a bit about it, it seems to be something that has been tinkering in my head for a while without being able to put a name to it.
Gentle parenting considers the kid’s choice and willingness instead of the parent’s expectations and rules. Essentially, it is built on four foundations.
Understanding your child is a fundamental concept in gentle parenting. Their growth and development in relation to their age, the things they like and enjoy, and what they dislike.
A baby who cries because you did not give them a second round of sweets does not know any better. Failure to understand this will lead you to yell back, beat or punish such child when all you need to do is to acknowledge their cravings and explain why they cannot get a second sweet.
Empathy is super important in gentle parenting. Empathy is being aware of your kid’s needs and feelings and being able to put yourself in their shoes without judging them.
You need to be there for them constantly. Give them listening ears. Let them understand that what is important to them is important to you. If there is no empathy, there is hardly any parenting being done.
Respect they say is reciprocal, init? Well, kids are not too little to be respected. So treat them how you want to be treated, which I guess is with respect. Please don’t shout at them. Rather, take some time to negotiate with them or explain why their actions are wrong.
Yes, kids may be kids, but they are more reasonable than we give them credit.
Set boundaries for them. Not a lot of boundaries but enough. Let them know they don’t handle knives or any sharp objects. They don’t touch hot things. They don’t walk around barefooted.
But don’t just set boundaries; let them know why. Let them understand that the boundaries are in their best interest.
I am not a parent just yet, but I know that gentle parenting may be easy to talk about but is hella hard. It’s easier to shout, scream, beat, and punish than it is to treat kids like the humans they are.
But if you want to raise strong, independent kids, you must learn to be in touch with their needs and feelings.
It is important to note that gentle parenting does not mean zero discipline. However, discipline here is more of teaching than punishing.
I’d keep sharing my notes as I progress in my learning.
to be continued…