We’ve all been here before. A place that always fills us with mom guilt two seconds later. An instance when we lose our cool and lash out in anger toward our children over any number of things. It could be a tantrum, repeating ourselves for the hundredth time or just being exhausted. Whatever it is that triggers us to be harsh toward our children we are inevitably left with the thought that we could’ve handled that situation better. This is where the idea of calm or gentle parenting comes into play.
What Is Calm Parenting?
According to Very Well Family calm or gentle parenting is “an evidence-based approach to raising happy, confident children. This parenting style is composed of four main elements: empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries.”
This form of parenting is the happy medium between “hands off parenting” and “overly strict parenting.” Children are encouraged to express themselves but in a respectful and socially acceptable way. And discipline is encouraged in this form of parenting but in an age appropriate way. A way in which our little ones will grasp it.
This can seem like a simple concept but if you’re anything like me you were raised by an “old school generation.” A generation of “because I said so,” “seen and not heard” and “strict discipline.” And as much as we’d hate to admit it, our parenting styles naturally tend to mimic that of our parents because those were our examples of parenting. So it can be difficult to unlearn certain things.
The Benefits of Practicing Calm Parenting
- Calm Parenting focuses heavily on a child’s cognitive level. So discipline and instruction is given in a way that a child can understand easily.
- Calm Parenting puts an emphasis on parents exhibiting positive traits for their children to model after them. This forces parents to stop and think about their actions/ reactions and how that might affect their child’s behavior.
- According to Very Well Family research shows that Calm Parenting has been shown to reduce anxiety in children.
- Discipline is geared toward teaching children and not punishing them. This means that children will better understand why what they did was wrong and how to better navigate a similar situation in the future. Because of this, parents are expected to remove their emotions from disciplinary measures so as not to react out of frustration.
Ways You Can Start Implementing Calm Parenting
Okay, so we’ve touched on what Calm Parenting is and we see how beneficial it can be for your family. But where do we start? The best thing to do is to start by taking into account your child’s cognitive abilities based on their age.
I have a one year old and a three year old so you can only imagine the chaos that ensues in my household. Neither one of them is at an age where they are able to regulate their emotions so tantrums and outbursts are the norm over here. Like many mamas there are times where I can get frustrated and want to act on that emotion but the best thing to do is stay calm and understand that this is a normal response for their age. Me reacting in anger is only teaching my children that anger is an appropriate reaction to frustrating situations and that’s obviously not right. Reacting calmly and comforting them also teaches them how to be empathetic to those who are having a hard time.
While it is important to react calmly toward our children we should also set clear boundaries for them as well. Be clear in your correction of them when they are misbehaving while keeping in mind that they are children and you will most likely have to repeat your correction multiple times before they develop an understanding.
Calm Parenting can be very challenging at times but if we as parents get better at practicing self-control and remain consistent, our children will truly benefit from this form of parenting.