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The Gentle Parenting Book: How to raise calmer, happier children from birth to seven

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verifyErrors }}{{ message }}{{ /verifyErrors }}{{ There's nothing that excites me more than evidence-based practice, and this book is full of it. Naumberg understands that at some point, it's going to hit the fan. She gives you concrete, honest advice for dealing with yourself while you deal with your kids. Gentle parenting is a form of positive parenting that emphasizes understanding a child’s behavior through empathy and respect, giving choices versus commands, and responding in a way that considers a child’s intellectual and developmental levels," explains Dan Peters, PhD, a psychologist and host of the Parent Footprint podcast. Real-world examples of gentle parenting will look different at different phases of your child's development. Peters gives some examples: Gentle parenting is a fairly new approach to parenting. It's also hard to objectively quantify how many people are doing it and how they are applying the philosophy. That means that there isn't a lot of clinical research diving into how gentle parenting affects children as they grow into adults.

If your toddler spills their milk, the gentle parenting response won't be to scold their carelessness or respond with words of frustration. Instead, your child could be required to help clean up their mess, with your assistance. That helps your child understand natural consequences, and also that they bear responsibility for their actions. The goals of gentle parenting are to raise children who understand and can regulate their emotions, respect and have empathy for themselves and others, and have healthy and collaborative relationships," says Peters. Where did gentle parenting come from? Research indicates that authoritative parenting leads to children with healthy self-esteem who can self-regulate their emotions. It also means they understand disciplinary methods as a way of support instead of as a punishment. Should you try gentle parenting? There's the potential for parents to be too permissive and not set appropriate boundaries and expectations for behavior. Additional potential problems include indulging a child’s emotions and behavior without guiding and teaching," says Peters. Is there any research to support gentle parenting? Be honest with yourself for a minute — are you a yeller? I know I've struggled with that. At my kids, at other cars on the highway, at Jeopardy contestants who should clearly know the answer given their occupation. I yell.

More and more parents looking for a strategy that combines healthy boundaries, natural consequences, and respect for others are turning to a philosophy called "gentle parenting." As the name suggests, gentle parenting is meant to give children lots of compassionate cushion as parents lead through empathy. Gentle parenting is supposed to be a strategy that you can use throughout your time as a parent. Starting when your children are young is the easiest way to set boundaries and establish the expectation of natural consequences. We are an achievement-obsessed culture. We expect so much from our children that we sometimes miss the point of childhood. This book takes that idea head-on and teaches parents about the power of play. The way gentle parenting looks on a practical level will vary from family to family. But the central tenets of empathy, respect, understanding, and healthy boundaries should inform the way that all "gentle" parents make decisions. It could even be a moment that happens in your therapist's office, when it dawns on you that you'll do anything to raise your children in a safer, calmer, happier home than the one you grew up in.

In other words, this strategy works only if it is establishing healthy, predictable family rhythms that both you and your child feel comfortable with. Adults who have empathy and care for other people are a gift to the whole world. Gentle parenting is a way you can start to instill those value in your children. It also fosters independence, self-confidence, and many other virtues. What exactly is gentle parenting? It's a parenting style that emphasizes compassion over confrontation, setting clear boundaries for your children, and understanding their developmental needs. It's parenting without shaming or blaming. It's not perfect — nothing in parenting is perfect. And you won't get it right 100% of the time, so you need to give yourself grace for that. Parenting is hard. At some point, you're probably going to absolutely lose it in front of (or even directed at) your children. That all sounds wonderful, in theory. But does gentle parenting actually work? We asked a parenting expert for the pros and cons of this approach. What is gentle parenting?Admittedly this book is more aspirational than most, but that’s kind of what’s so brilliant about it. Yes, it’s a gentle parenting book, but the author’s subtle humor helps you navigate the highs and lows of parenting with purpose in a way that just makes sense. The principles behind gentle parenting have a lot in common with what's known as "authoritative" and "positive" parenting, says Peters. "Positive communication, collaborative relationships, empathy, and respect result in adults who feel confident, communicate effectively, have emotional awareness, and have positive social skills and relationships," he says.

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