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Gentle parenting is a style of raising your kids that’s centered around understanding, empathy and respect. It’s focused on being peaceful and positive. While it may not be your main parenting style, there are some useful tips to draw from it that could have success in your own household.

Get Your Reactions Under Control

The first step in most gentle parenting styles is to make sure you’re able to control your immediate reactions to your child’s behavior. That way, you’re able to make a planned decision, not just a yelled remark.

Think Guidance Instead of Punishment

You’re trying to help the kid learn how to make good decisions, not just fear punishment¬†if they’re caught¬†making bad ones.

Remind Them You Love Them

Just because you have to have a tougher conversation with your child doesn’t mean they should end up feeling like you hate them. And while adults may be able to tell the difference, kids can jump to some pretty wild conclusions.

Acknowledge Fear

While we often end up telling kids to be brave when they’re scared, it can be a good idea to not force them into situations that scare them all the time.

Set Limits That Make Sense

While some parents may not feel like they have to explain their rules, those who practice gentle parenting will be having those conversations with their kids. So set limits that make sense.

Acknowledge Feelings

This means acknowledging that you know they don’t want to leave the petting zoo and that this makes them sad.

Focus On Strengthening the Relationship

Those who fully practice gentle parenting would say that defiance comes from not having a strong enough relationship between the parent and the kid. Even if you don’t buy into that fully, a strong relationship built on trust can help you work through these problems with your little one.

Natural vs. Parental Consequences

Letting kids learn about natural consequences of certain behaviors (like a scratch or a bumped knee) can be more informative for them than the consequences you set to prevent the scratch or the bumped knee.

Focus On Choices

If you have two steps in a night time routine, you can ask which they’d like to do first to encourage a choice…and to get them to do both.

Let Feelings Run Their Course

While this is difficult to do with some feelings in some places, it may be more useful to let an emotion play out than to tell them to stop crying.