Gentle parenting—the one term that has the ability to get parents riled up and on defense about why they support it or why they flat-out despise it. This parenting style has become more popular, and perhaps even more controversial, as time goes on. But the biggest argument it seems to pose is: Does it really work? This gentle parenting TikTok just might give you a different point of view.
Related: Gentle parenting is hard—especially when everything else feels hard, too
“I’m so sick of people sh**ing on gentle parenting by being like, ‘Makes children soft.’ Do you know what the softest thing in the world is?” She starts off saying. “A fully grown adult that cannot regulate their behavior in the face of something a literal child has done.”
Davis goes on to explain that gentle parenting is in fact just regulated parenting—and it’s actually more for the parent than it is for the child.
“It is, ‘I want to learn how to regulate my own emotions, how to manage my own nervous system activation before deciding what to do in response to my child.’”
Now, I’ve been giving this gentle parenting gig a try since becoming a mom, and let me make it clear that it is not easy. But the more I try to implement this approach into my parenting style, the more I realize that learning how to gentle parent my child is also teaching me how to be gentle with myself.
It’s teaching me how to take a step back, thoroughly assess and make the best decision on how to approach a situation. It’s teaching me how to not react from a place of frustration or anger, but from a place of learning and understanding why my child may be acting the way he is. It’s not relinquishing my authority or forfeiting discipline, but it is using respect and empathy to work with my child—all while building healthy boundaries and raising his self-awareness of his responses and reactions to situations. And all the while, it’s doing the exact same for me.
So the vote is in: I couldn’t agree more with Davis’ gentle parenting approach. It isn’t just for the child. It’s largely for the parent as well.
Related: Gentle parenting sets impossible standards—these gentle-ish philosophies work for me
Gentle parenting has helped me learn to not only be more patient with my child, but with myself as well. The more patience I have with myself, the more regulation I can display when it comes to my kid. And in turn, he begins to learn how to also display emotional regulation. It’s a “teach by being” kind of deal, in my opinion.
And from the comment section, it seems like a lot of parents are happy that someone finally took a stance on this gentle parenting approach—and agree that it is largely just emotional regulation for parents.
Petition to change the name from gentle parenting to regulated parenting because the word gentle REALLY confuses people.
In learning how to help my youngest regulate himself, I have learned how to regulate myself. And it’s all through gentle parenting.
It took me four years of parenting to realize this. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t do it and it was because I wasn’t self regulated.
Makes me think of how many people don’t understand that just because gentle parenting isn’t authoriTARIAN doesn’t mean it’s not authoriTATIVE.
THIS!! Those people can never fathom how difficult it is to parent myself at the same time as my toddler when we both want to melt down!
YESSS 👏 SAY IT LOUDER FOR THE PEOPLE IN THE BACK 😌 Let us be the generation to own up to our own faults and weak areas! 👏
Motherly Stories are first person, 500-1000 word stories, reflecting on the insights you’ve experienced in motherhood—and the wisdom you’ve gained along the way. They also help other women realize they’re not alone. Motherly Stories don’t judge. Instead, they inspire other mamas with stories of meaning, hope and a realization that “you’ve got this.” If you have a story, please submit it here: https://www.mother.ly/share-your-story/