Moms and Dads
Gentle Parenting: 3 Moms Share Why They Prefer This Parenting Style
More and more modern moms are choosing gentle parenting as their approach to raising their children.
When it comes to parenting, there’s no manual or formula that dictates how we should be raising our children. It takes years of experience, trials and errors, and finding what really works with our child’s personality. One style that has been gaining popularity among modern and millennial moms is gentle parenting.
Gentle parenting is an evidence-based approach to raising happy and confident children. It revolves around empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. Moreover, it focuses on fostering the qualities we want in our children—by being compassionate and enforcing consistent boundaries. But gentle parenting also encourages discipline in an age-appropriate way. These discipline methods include teaching valuable life lessons as opposed to punishing.
To understand this parenting style better, we interviewed three moms who are advocates of gentle parenting.
Gia Fortun Plumley on Guiding Her Daughter to Make Decisions for Herself
“For me, gentle parenting is parenting without using fear, threat, or punishment. It’s more of encouraging your child with positivity and guiding them to make decisions for themselves.”
Gia runs a travel agency and is mom to a toddler, Sabi. She shares that they always try to give her choices with everything in her daily routine. From picking her clothes, choosing what food she wants to eat, and even what toys she wants to play with. However, when Sabi misbehaves, Gia still disciplines her by explaining to her what she did wrong.
Back in the day, spanking was normal. But these days, it is sometimes interpreted as a form of abuse. “It’s always good to strike a balance between the two because you also don’t want to be too lenient with your child and he or she may not know that what they did was wrong.”
“When you are overcome with anger or disappointment because of your child’s actions, don’t automatically resort to threats or hitting. Put yourself in the shoes of your child and think of how you want to be talked to. Kids, after all, are human, too. They’re just smaller and need more patience and understanding.”
Euna Lodripas on Parenting Being a Fluid Activity
For Euna, mom to a toddler and who is expecting her second child soon, gentle parenting is all about fostering a strong bond between parent and child. “With my child, we try not to parent using fears and spanking. Rather, we try to explain to her why things should be done a certain way, what are the consequences in doing things, etc.”
Euna believes that parenting is different among kids and it all boils down to really understanding your child. “At the end of the day, parenting is also a fluid activity. You learn from your kids as much as they do from you.”
When things get challenging, Euna suggests taking deep breaths. “Parenting is difficult and may even seem daunting. If you want to practice gentle parenting, you need to be patient. We need to help our kids explore themselves and they need to feel that we support them.”
Athena Valenzuela on How Gentle Parenting Can Still Work with Filipino Traditions
“Gentle parenting essentially means that I interact with my child like a whole human being—that is, with respect and compassion,” says Athena, mom to Maia who is 18 months old. “I recognize that my child is an individual with her own desires, own skills, and own style—but these are yet to be organized given her young age. That’s where I come in as a mom—to help my daughter make sense of the world around her.”
“People think that being gentle means you coddle or go soft with your kid, but it actually asks us to be firm and consistent. In fact, there are more opportunities for learning and communication when you create healthy boundaries for them.”
When asked if gentle parenting works in a traditional Filipino family setup, Athena shares, “My husband and I both grew up in traditional Filipino homes. Currently, we live in a household with our extended family and we both also work full-time. This is one of the challenges we face in ensuring gentle parenting for our daughter. There’s a lot to undo such as the notion of physical discipline and enforcing a mano or beso practice to all elderly members.”
“As Filipinos, we really are close-knit and are bound by pakikisama and utang na loob. This sometimes means boundaries are crossed. However, it does not mean that it is impossible to practice gentle parenting. We see these contrasting situations as learning opportunities for our daughter as well as all the other members of the family. Gentle parenting does not have to work against Filipino tradition and instead, can work with it. Just make sure all family members are respected.”