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Gentle parenting is becoming increasingly popular as the parenting style of choice. It combines empathy, understanding, boundaries, and respect and is said to help children grow to become mindful, more confident, and happier.
With so many parenting styles out in the world, you may be wondering why more people are opting for gentle parenting. While studies on this parenting philosophy are currently not extensive, it is touted to be pretty beneficial.
From improving emotional wellbeing in children to enhancing mental and physical development, there are many possible benefits of gentle parenting.
In this article, we look into some of the benefits of gentle parenting. We also go over some of the downsides and much more.
Benefits of Gentle Parenting
Gentle Parenting Can Make Happy Parents
While the goal of any parenting style is to raise the children appropriately, gentle parenting may also help parents become happier.
In two studies involving 322 parents, it was inferred that parents who offered more attention and care to their children were happier. The results showed that attentive and caring parents had more positive feelings and a sense of purpose.
Parents who practice gentle parenting correctly are empathetic and understanding. So, they pay more attention to their children, and they are more aware of how their children feel.
Of course, when parents understand how their children actually feel, they can offer proper care.
Children Raised Through Gentle Parenting Are Typically More Intelligent
Gentle parenting promotes positive, productive interaction between parents and children. These interactions, in turn, can advance the laying down of neural pathways that help with logic, which is essential to some forms of intelligence.
Besides promoting the growth of neural pathways, gentle parenting reduces a child’s risk for anxiety. It can help children learn to remain calm in stressful times.
While anxiety and stress have little or no effect on intelligence, they can hamper one’s ability to make intelligent decisions.
Gentle Parenting Can Help Children Become Independent
A study shows that positive bonding between children and parents can promote independence in children.
Positive bonding between parents and children comes with an increased likelihood of the kids imitating the parents. A large chunk of adulthood and parenthood requires independence, so if you are parenting and adulting the right way, your child will learn independence from you.
Besides the above, part of gentle parenting is involving the kids in the family decision-making process. The more decisions the children help the family arrive at, the more independent they will be.
Children Grow With Better Self-Esteem
Boundaries and respect are two of the four bases of gentle parenting. Gentle parenting requires parents to respect their children and respect their children’s reasonable choices.
By respecting their children, their children’s choices, and their children’s boundaries, parents can help kids build a positive image about themselves. Such kids will never feel like they do not matter, and they will feel worthy and accepted.
These feelings, in turn, will raise their self-esteem positively.
Children Grow to Be Sociable
By imitating your gentle parenting efforts, children can learn the basis of empathy, respect, boundaries, and understanding. What they learn from imitating you is one of the primary factors that determine their social skills.
Since empathy, boundaries, understanding, and respect are positive traits, you can expect such kids to be amiable.
Besides imitation, gentle parenting promotes positive interactions between parents and children. These interactions, in turn, can build neural connections that lay the foundation for future relationships.
Children Nurtured Through Gentle Parenting Are More Likely to Do Well in School
A study showed that adolescents from authoritative families (not authoritarian) had the highest mean grades amongst 7836 high school students.
Authoritative parenting and gentle parenting are strongly connected. In fact, some experts believe they are the same. Going by the similarities between both parenting styles, you can suppose that children raised through gentle parenting will have high grades too.
Besides, the positive interactions between parents and children are said to build neural connections that foster logic and learning. It goes without saying, but those two dynamics are vital for excellent academic performances.
Children Raised Through Gentle Parenting May Be Less Likely to Become Obese
According to this study, children raised through authoritarian parenting were more likely to be obese than those raised through authoritative parenting.
Since authoritative parenting and gentle parenting are pretty similar, one can infer that results would be similar.
Gentle Parenting May Reduce the Chances of Maladaptive Schemas in Children as They Grow
In this study of 357 undergraduates, the researchers concluded that authoritarian parenting is more likely to trigger maladaptive schemas than authoritative parenting.
Authoritative parenting involves a lot of warmth, respect, and understanding, like gentle parenting. So, one can expect a similar reduction in the risks of maladaptive schemas for both parenting styles.
Since the fundamentals of gentle parenting promote warmth and an overall positive experience for children, they are likely to grow with a positive image of themselves. Kids who think of themselves positively are less likely to become self-defeating.
Gentle Parenting Can Help Keep Children From Engaging in Risky Behaviors
Gentle parenting enhances positive interactions between parents and children. Kids readily discuss what they feel with their parents because they know they will most likely get an empathetic response.
Children that engage in regular positive interactions with their parents are more likely to seek parental counsel before taking new risks. They may seek advice directly or indirectly.
Gentle Parenting May Prevent Aggression in Children
This goes without saying, but if gentle parenting can help children become sociable, it will definitely minimize the chances of aggression.
Parents who practice gentle parenting are rarely aggressive around their kids. They are typically empathetic and respectful with their kids.
Since these kids imitate their parents, they are unlikely to be aggressive and more likely to be respectful and empathetic.
This study suggested that authoritative parenting is a protective factor against aggression. You can say something similar for gentle parenting since the styles are so similar.
Other Benefits of Gentle Parenting
Besides all we have discussed above, the following are some other benefits of gentle parenting:
- By practicing gentle parenting with your kids, you reduce the chances of them keeping secrets from you.
- Gentle parenting can help enhance brain development in children.
Downsides of Gentle Parenting
family resting at home kids writing something using colored pen
Gentle Parenting Requires a Lot of Conscious Effort
A lot of effort will go into ensuring your gentle parenting techniques are effective. You must be conscious of what you do; you must be proactive and not oversensitive.
Gentle parenting needs you to make mindful and conscious decisions as the parent. You must also be a model of empathy, communication, respect, and understanding.
If one is not patient and motivated, gentle parenting can be tough to pull off.
Gentle Parenting Requires Consistency
You cannot choose to practice gentle parenting today and do something else tomorrow or your gentle parenting efforts would be ineffective.
For gentle parenting to be effective, you must enforce consistent boundaries and maintain a warm environment.
This Parenting Style Can Be Time-Consuming
Since gentle parenting involves a lot of communication and understanding, it may consume more time than some other parenting styles.
Gentle Parenting Will Be Ineffective if You Do Not Spend Enough Time With Your Children
Going by the previous point, you can already tell that you need to spend a lot of time with the children for this parenting style to work.
If you only see your kids for 2 hours per day, gentle parenting cannot work for you.
Discipline May Be Inconsistent
Discipline in gentle parenting partly relies on the children’s willingness to do the right thing.
Sometimes, children may be motivated to do what’s right. Other times, they may not. But by setting consistent boundaries, you may be able to keep this from prevailing.