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There can be challenging decisions to be made regarding how to best raise children, whether you’re raising older children or are a new parent learning how to calm a crying newborn. Despite the abundance of parenting suggestions and the variety of parenting styles available, some are frequently recognized as being especially helpful.

Gentle parenting is one of these techniques. Gentle parenting is a research-based method that emphasizes limits, sensitivity, understanding, and respect. This post will go over the benefits and drawbacks of gentle parenting.

What Is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle parenting is a parenting style that emphasizes the bond between children and their parents. The main features of this parenting style have been around since the 1920s when it was first advocated by Dr. Alfred Adler, a child psychologist.

Gentle parenting advocates advise parents to engage with their kids in a way that fosters a child’s general emotional health by following a few core principles. T

his includes fostering a sense of autonomy, expressiveness, comfort, and safety. All of this is done while maintaining harmony and giving everyone the room and freedom to express their emotions without interference.

The Basic Principles Of Gentle Parenting

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Gentle parenting is an example of “authoritarian parenting.” Empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries are the four key principles advocated by gentle parenting’s founder Sarah Ockwell Smith.

Parents that practice gentle parenting ensure that their children receive empathy by acknowledging their sentiments and employing mirroring to ensure that their children feel heard. 

These four principles are each described in further detail below:


The first essential component of gentle parenting is empathy. Experts in gentle parenting claim that even well-intentioned parents all too frequently diminish, deny, or completely disregard a child’s feelings and experiences.

This gives them the impression that they don’t matter and that their voices won’t be heard. The gentle parenting style encourages parents to consider their children’s feelings when attempting to comprehend the child’s behavior and deciding how to respond. 


Respect is the second component of a gentle parenting style. Respect should be displayed between children and their caregivers when using gentle parenting.

Experts say that parents should keep an eye on themselves to ensure that they are interacting with their children in a respectful and uplifted manner rather than one that is condescending or dismissive.

Children cannot be expected to respect caregivers in a vacuum. Listening to a child when they talk and ask questions before reacting are two basic ways to instill respect into a parent-child connection.


Understanding is the third principle. The fundamentals of gentle parenting state that kids are far more inclined to turn to their parents through difficult times when they feel heard and understood.

Additionally, they are more inclined to listen and follow instructions from their caregivers, which helps avoid power struggles. Knowing the regular developmental milestones for children and not demanding children to behave in ways that are excessively advanced or emotionally mature for their age is one of the most important parts of this type of parenting.


The fourth and last component of gentle parenting is creating and enforcing boundaries. Unlike permissive parenting which can be flexible about limits, or uninvolved parenting, which might not provide any boundaries whatsoever, gentle parenting encourages caregivers to establish clear parameters that build a healthy, caring, and stable environment.

While specific boundaries will vary from family to family, they typically include components of behavior, expectations, and communication.

Why Do Proponents of Gentle Parenting Recommend It?

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Benefits of Gentle Parenting

According to its founder Ockwell Smith, gentle parenting can foster a stronger, more empathic relationship within a family, reducing many of the conflicts and resentments that frequently arise between parents and children.

To provide their children a sense of security and comfort, gentle parents set clear limits, while they also give kids room to express their thoughts, feelings, and needs. 

When parents are gentle with their children, they give them the impression that they are free to manage their own emotions and express themselves without being repressed. However, kids can still benefit from having a strong authority figure in their lives as well as the security that comes from having rules and boundaries. 

According to studies, parenting gently can help shy children develop more controlled social reactions and lower their risk of anxiety. The useful report also discovered that effective parenting philosophies, such as the gentle parenting method, had a favorable effect on academic success. 

Drawbacks of Gentle Parenting

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Every parenting approach has benefits and drawbacks. It has been said that gentle parenting is overly forgiving or too similar to attachment parenting. Although it makes an effort to set itself apart from that parenting approach, it does support some of the attachment parenting principles. 

One misconception about gentle parenting is that it teaches parents how to respond automatically when their children succeed.  Some critics worry that using such awkward-sounding, artificial language may prevent kids from communicating with others effectively and naturally.

Why Use Gentle Parenting?

Theoretically, children raised by gentle parents will mature into more self-assured, competent people, according to advocates of gentle parenting.

In addition, gentle parenting proponents assert that when relationships are fostered within this framework, everyone in the household will more truly appreciate them since they permit everyone concerned to have and communicate their individual viewpoints, ideas, and experiences.

How To Transition To Gentle Parenting

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Families may need assistance in starting the change to gentle parenting as it might be initially difficult. Sometimes a therapist can serve as a parenting coach, assisting families in establishing new routines and habits and resolving any problems that are preventing them from changing old ones. A specialist might also be able to assist people with dealing with internal issues that are getting in the way of progress.


In any circumstance, parenting may be challenging, but at times, adopting a completely different parenting approach can seem like an exceptionally difficult task. If gentle parenting appeals to you and you have kids of your own, you might think about using the four principles mentioned above. 

Foster Parenting in Colorado

Millions of foster children in America are experiencing a sense of loss and loneliness from the past, or living day by day with uncertainty about what the future has in store for them.

They need help, tips, and encouragement to deal not only with the abuse they’ve suffered but also the attitude that they’re damaged goods which is why being involved as they work towards fostering independence, self-actualization, and empowerment to fulfill their dreams in life is crucial.

Parenting can be a challenging yet rewarding job, but for foster parents, it can be especially difficult. Mainly because they’re taking in a child who has just experienced trauma. However, gentle parenting foster kids can be done. Through the use of a gentle parenting approach that focuses on nurturing and supporting the child, foster parents can provide healing for the child in their care and also learn how to parent effectively.

If you would like to know more about foster parenting in Colorado, please contact Courage Community Foster Care at, or fill out this form