Gentle Parenting – Am I Crazy for Giving in to Them?
When I became a mother I quickly learned that there needs to be a fairness in all that we do. The idea of leaving my baby to cry themselves to sleep broke my heart and it was never something I could do. That was when I realised I was destined to go down the gentle parenting route.
Yes, I am the parent. And yes, what I say goes. But sometimes it isn’t that easy. Gentle parenting works for us.
There are so many different variants of gentle parenting, and although I am a bit of a shouty mom, that’s as ‘strict’ as I get. If Keira wants to wear the pink trousers instead of the blue ones, I’ll let her. If she wants a spoon instead of a fork, she can have the spoon. If she wants to sit on the sofa to eat her dinner instead of the table, that’s okay with me.
And as for Joshua. Well, if he wants a cuddle during the night to help him go back to sleep, I’ve got my arms open. If he wants his dummy during the day (when he doesn’t really need it), he can have it. If he wants to run through the mud whilst in his best clothes, that’s fine too.
Why? Because they are their own person. I’m not here to force them to do something they don’t want to do. I’m not here to tell them they can’t wear or do something they want to. I’m here to support them, to guide them. I’m here to encourage them to be who they want to be, not who I want them to be.
Of course, in a perfect world they would just do whatever I’ve told them to do or wear what I’ve got ready for them. But that isn’t how children work. I don’t allow someone to tell me what to wear so why should I force that upon my children?
So if Keira wants to wear a her Paw Patrol dress-up costume around the shops, she can. If Joshua throws a tantrum while in his pushchair because he wants to get out and walk, of course I’ll let him (given that it’s safe enough to do so).
Yes, I shout. Yes, I get angry and yes, I discipline my children, but there’s no naughty step. No one gets sent to their bedroom. Toys don’t get taken away (well only if they’re both arguing over the same toy and won’t share). They’re allowed to have a tantrum and to scream and cry. That helps to release some of their frustration. I know when I’m upset or angry a good cry helps me feel better. I’m there to help them through it, a shoulder for them to cry on. Someone to give them a cuddle when they’re upset that they can’t do or have whatever it is. That, to me, is gentle parenting.
Parenting is something we all do differently, and of course we do what is best for our family. There is no right or wrong as long as everyone is loved, healthy and safe. Gentle parenting is my way of allowing them to have their own free will.
So the next time you see my children having a tantrum because they don’t want to do something and I “give in”, know that I’m not simply giving in. I am allowing them to be their own person and to have their own mind.