gentle parenting style for raising children

What is Gentle Parenting and is it Right for You?

What exactly is gentle parenting?

If you’ve seen the latest parenting trends on social media, you would have noticed that many parenting coaches and experts have been talking about ‘gentle parenting’ recently. Gentle parenting (also known as Authoritative Parenting) is a parenting style that can be summed up as setting relatively strict and straight demands of your children while setting a supportive and responsive environment to help them achieve these demands. This parenting style typically uses fair discipline and positive reinforcement when your children don’t meet your expectations or misbehave.

Some detailed examples of gentle parenting characteristics:

- Parents allow autonomy and encourage independence in their child

- Parents reason with children instead of demanding blind obedience

- Parents set clear limits on behavior and consistently enforce boundaries

- Parents earn, not demand, their children’s respect and attention

Benefits of gentle parenting

There are many parenting experts that will argue that gentle parenting is the most effective style. While it doesn’t guarantee success, there are definitely some short-term (and even long-term!) benefits that you may start to realize.

1)  Your child may become more self-confident about their ability to learn new things

2)  Your child may start to develop improved social skills

3)  Your child may tend to have a happier disposition and positive mindset

4)  Your child may start showing good emotional control and regulation

In the longer term, your child could achieve higher academic success, interact with peers better, and exhibit less violent tendencies. While all of these benefits really sound terrific as a parent, you must keep in mind that these are not guaranteed outcomes. There are many other characteristics(such as environment, peers, self-determination, etc.) that play into your child’s development that can influence your child beyond just your parenting style.

Concerns around gentle parenting

As your children grow older, they will go through various phases that will directly clash with this parenting style (the rebellious phase being one of them). The problem is that parents may throw in the towel on the gentle parenting style during these phases because it’ll seem like its not working anymore. This is where persistence and patience are the keys to success. Another concern to keep in mind is relying solely on this type of parenting style. Like I had mentioned before, gentle parenting is not the one-stop-shop to a very successful child. There are so many other characteristics that need to betaken into consideration. If you as a parent solely focus on this parenting style alone, it could cause more harm than good.

Is gentle parenting right for you?

Funny enough, this is actually the wrong question to ask. Since the one most directly impacted by this is your child, the right question to ask is: is gentle parenting right for your child?

While findings from parenting experts are not conclusive, it does seem that children who are typically known to act out more or be labeled as “difficult” tend to benefit a lot more than a child who would be labeled as “easygoing.” This could be in part of the child’s nature to want to seek more independence or prefers knowing what the expectations are and when they have or have not cross the line.

But at the end of the day, remember that each child is different! Go ahead and give gentle parenting a try for a few months and see if you think it has improved your child’s behavior and your relationship together. If so, keep tuning your style and chug right along! If not, consider doing more serious tweaks in your gentle parenting style or switch to a different type of parenting style altogether.


Margaret is an experienced parenting coach that has been working with parents and kids for 20+ years, specializing in child development and behavior management. Her focus is on children between the ages of 5 to 10 but has experience working with older children as well.