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3 Tips to Gentle Parenting – An Alternative to Spanking

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Sometimes as parents we can get to the end of our rope and be tempted to follow “might is right” parenting which ends in spanking and yelling at our children. Studies have shown that spanking, even “mild” spanking, can cause long-term mental health issues for children.

Some advocate time-outs as an alternative to spanking in order to set boundaries, but there is another school of parenting called gentle parenting. Gentle parenting takes time, patience, communication, self-knowledge, a willingness to go on the parenting journey, did we mention patience? :) The result is a loving, respectful relationship where even your discipline teaches your child about love, respect, trust and understanding.

3 Tips To Move Towards Gentle Parenting

  1. Step back – When you are aggravated by your child’s behavior. Take 5 seconds to stop, step back and take inventory of why your child’s behavior is irritating you. This isn’t easy especially if your child is throwing a tantrum in the middle of a store! The rewards of mentally stepping back, however, are tremendous.
  2. Listen – What is your child really saying? Is she overtired? Does he feel misunderstood? Is she afraid? What is behind the anger or tears?
  3. Be positive – Turn a negative situation into a positive. Try to redirect towards something positive, refrain your “no” into a yes or see where you can proactively set limits before the crisis boils over.

Gentle parenting isn’t a “free for all” where children do as they please. It is about choosing to give children a safe, loving, respectful and trustful upbringing. It may not be the easiest way to parent, but it is a way of parenting that focuses on a more peaceful interaction between child and parent reaping long-term results of trust and love for parent and child.

Have you heard of gentle parenting? What do you think about it?

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15 Responses to “3 Tips to Gentle Parenting – An Alternative to Spanking”

  1. Miranda Welle July 19, 2012 at 8:50 am #

    LOVE these ideas/tips! If we would just take a few seconds to breathe! we would see that the situation doesn’t warrant “hitting/spanking”! We need to discipline our children but it’s best to find POSITIVE ways!

  2. Michelle July 19, 2012 at 8:53 am #

    We agree Miranda. And through that process we grow as parents as well. Thanks for being a fan!

  3. Felicia R July 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm #

    I love this post! We are anti-spanking and have been successful so far. Granted our daughter is only 19 months and we haven’t even gotten to the “terrible twos” and beyond yet, it’s working for us. I was in Target the other day and heard a woman tell her daughter (who was around the same age as my daughter) to “sit the h*ll down” or she was going to “beat her a$$.” It made me so sad to hear her say that and I can’t imagine what goes on in that home if she’ll say that in a store in front of strangers.

  4. Christy Newell July 24, 2012 at 5:30 pm #

    Thanks for sharing. My husband and I just watched a video about taking punishments out of parenting. So we are now listening, talking and problem solving with our 3 & 4 year old. No more time-outs.

  5. Sonya Morris July 31, 2012 at 7:40 am #

    Thanks for the tips! I am trying to figure out how to handle a little one who is at the beginning of the terrific (terrible) twos!

  6. Justine July 31, 2012 at 7:45 am #

    I grew up in a family where spanking was permitted, but never to a point where it was abuse or abused. I feel that alot of younger parents do not have the mental capibility to stop, breathe and think before punishing out of anger or speaking out of it.
    I intend to parent gently, and hope to be able to have the strength and patience to determine what the cause of the tantrum is before punishing my child.

  7. Michelle July 31, 2012 at 10:30 am #

    Thanks so much for all your thoughtful comments. If you have tips on how you use gentle parenting – please let us know!

  8. Charlotte August 1, 2012 at 6:35 pm #

    Thank you for the ideas for alternatives to spanking! My son is in the terrible two stage and can sometimes be quite hard to handle!

  9. christine k August 1, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    I love this post! I’m really trying to ensure that our little one only has gentle/attachment parenting in terms of discipline. I’m hoping to get my family to understand my point of view and hopefully they will all respect my parenting wishes and not threaten him, spank him, or slap his hand. Of course, if I found out they did they would never be left alone with him again….

  10. MichelleHalm August 1, 2012 at 8:21 pm #

    You all are so right – gentle parenting takes so much patience, but it is an amazing journey where not only our children grow but we do as well. And it is so hard when other family members don’t support it, but stick to your parenting gut because it’s right!

  11. Alice Lee August 5, 2012 at 12:22 pm #

    I think it’s good in theory and it does take a lot of patience. I’m a FTM with a 6 month old so I have lots of learn about patience. I would love to go on route of gentle parenting but there has to be a point where she’ll need to know what’s right and wrong and I’d rather slap her hand than have her learn the hard way (example, trying to climb on something unstable).

  12. Megan August 6, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Personally, I don’t get why everyone seems so ‘anti-spanking’ now-a-days…
    True…it’s better to try non-spanking techniques before on results to the spank. Like Alice Lee says, ‘gentle parenting’ can only be taken SO far. Coming from a pre-school/daycare situation, I know this as a fact. Sometimes, what the child truely needs is a good slap on the hand or a swat across the diper. Obviously, in the preschool I worked at, -we- weren’t allowed to touch the children that way. however, there were a few that I and other ladies knew over that well…if they had beenn OUR children, we would have given them good swats at home.

  13. Paul T/Pauline T August 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

    I love these tips because I truly believe that there are alternatives for spanking. When I had my own kids, I have noticed that my children responded better to my husband and I because we take time out and listen to them….how they are feeling and why they are misbehaving. Children just like adults have good and bad days, they have social pressures and expectations, and they also react irrationally.

  14. Seyma Shabbir August 7, 2012 at 10:40 pm #

    I agree with your tips. As a parent, I do see spanking comes out more when we get frustrated. I try to control my anger and restrict the spanking for when my child does something dangerous and they do not listen. usually I find my child misbehaves out of excitement, tiredness or me not understanding what they want. Great tips!

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