Gentle parenting is an umbrella term for a parenting approach that aims “to recognize and meet the needs of children in a gentler, more respectful way without using traditional, authoritarian-style discipline and punishments.” The gentle-parenting framework focuses on raising children “who feel seen and loved” and “teaching parents how to allow kids to have their big feelings while setting and holding strong boundaries.” Through this framework, parents are taught how to maintain boundaries with their children without the use of traditional discipline methods (e.g. time out, a “naughty chair,” spanking, “Go to your room!” etc.).
Maggie Nick, MSW, therapist and founder of Parenting with Perspectacles, contends that while gentle parenting is often misconstrued as letting your kids walk all over you, it is the biggest misconception. Many people think that because gentle parenting advises against harsh discipline, kids will become entitled or spoiled. However, Nick says, that is simply not the case.
“Meeting kids’ emotional needs helps them feel safe and secure, not entitled and spoiled,” she says. “And punishments are terrible teachers. It is completely possible, and not that hard, to hold kids accountable for their behaviour, teach them about the impact of their actions, while making them feel loved and supported.”