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Three Challenges To Gentle Parenting
Episode 599th March 2023 • Become A Calm Mama • Darlynn Childress
00:00:00 00:31:09

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Did you know that gentle parenting is one of the most popular hashtags on TikTok? It’s a philosophy that many parents are attracted to, and I’m excited to talk more about it today - what it is, my experience with it and the common challenges to gentle parenting that you might have experienced.

What is gentle parenting?

Gentle parenting is an approach to parenting where you validate your child's emotion while also setting appropriate boundaries for their behavior. The foundation is that feelings drive behavior.

I like to think of it as - Your feelings make sense. And you have to express those feelings in ways that work for everybody. 

You may have heard me talk about this as connection (validating the emotion) and limits (the appropriate ways to express the emotion).

And when your children don't stay within those boundaries, then we want to help them learn through correction. This is a form of discipline that uses shame-free and pain-free consequences, where the focus is on your child fixing the problem that their behavior caused.

When we fix that mistake, it actually feels good, and we learn from it. 

Benefits of gentle parenting

I also like to call this connected parenting because the way we approach our child is based on our connection with them, and we help them to build a better connection with themselves.

Practicing gentle parenting helps us feel more connected to our kids and helps them feel more connected to us. 

They learn to regulate their own emotions and have self compassion. They have a healthier self-esteem.

And when you teach your kids appropriate boundaries, they develop communication and social skills which help them build better connections to others. 

The ultimate result we’re after is for your child to grow into an emotionally healthy adult. One who will be responsible for their emotions and know what to do with their feelings; who can overcome challenging circumstances and speak kindly to themselves and others; who has healthy, collaborative relationships.

3 common challenges in gentle parenting

Unfortunately, parenting this way is not easy, especially in the beginning.

You might quickly go from being calm to absolutely losing your shit and screaming at your kid.

Or you might go the other direction and figure they’re not going to listen to you anyway, so the consequences go out the window.

Maybe you’ve tried all the sticker charts and broad strategies, but they just haven’t worked.

Here are the 3 hurdles most parents encounter when they first try to do gentle parenting:

#1 Staying calm in the midst of misbehavior. 

It’s really hard to regulate your own emotions while your child is screaming, hitting, out-right refusing to listen, and totally melting down. 

It’s easy to be compassionate if you see that your child is sad and crying. It’s much harder when their feelings come out as aggression.

Your stress response kicks in, and you can’t even think clearly enough to use the parenting tools you know. To show up as a compassionate, connected parent, you have to deal with your own emotions first.

This is why the first step in the Calm Mama Process is to PAUSE. You take a break to calm your own nervous system and process the negative emotion that you are feeling before you go back to your child.

#2 Knowing how to help kids express their feelings in appropriate ways. 

Most parents don’t know what to do after they ask their child “Are you feeling mad?” and the kid screams “YES!”. 

Teaching kids how to manage their big feelings is hard to do when you don’t know what to teach them. 

Sometimes, it might feel like you’re indulging in the feelings without actually teaching your kids any skills. Or you might jump in to rescue them because their feelings make you really uncomfortable. 

In The Emotionally Healthy Kids course, I give you about 100 different ideas for what your child can do with their big feelings. This way, you can actively teach them what to do instead and how to regulate their own emotions.

#3 Setting firm boundaries without yelling or repeating. 

When you don’t use fear or manipulation to get kids to listen, it can be really confusing to know what to say instead. 

Getting kids to listen in the gentle parenting approach requires that you set limits in a way that makes the consequences logical. These types of limits make your kid actually think about what they’re doing. 

Then, you follow through in a shame-free, punishment-free environment. When the consequence is a more natural result of the behavior, it isn’t about making your child feel like they’re bad. 

These three challenges are the same hurdles I struggled with when I started to practice gentle parenting 15 years ago. And they’re the ones I see my clients struggle with in the beginning, too.

And to overcome them, you just need a new set of skills. You can learn how to be the gentle parent that you want to be.

You’ll Learn:

  • What gentle parenting is
  • Why I choose to teach the approach and use it with my own kids
  • 3 common hurdles you might encounter and how to overcome them

Free Resources:

Get your copy of the Stop Yelling Cheat Sheet!

In this free guide you’ll discover:

✨ A simple tool to stop yelling once you’ve started (This one thing will get you calm.)

✨ 40 things to do instead of yelling. (You only need to pick one!)

✨ Exactly why you yell. (And how to stop yourself from starting.)

✨A script to say to your kids when you yell. (So they don't follow you around!)

Download the Stop Yelling Cheat Sheet here

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