What is ‘Gentle Parenting’ and how is it different to ‘Mainstream Parenting’?

I use the term ‘gentle parenting’ a lot when I write and a lot of people ask me what exactly I mean by it. “What is gentle parenting?” they say…… Often they confuse the ‘gentle parenting’ terminology with the idea of Attachment Parenting (or AP is it is commonly known), which isn’t strictly true. Although often attachment parenting and gentle parenting can be and are complimentary, attachment parenting is a style of parenting following specific principles (FYI click HERE for the principles of Attachment Parenting), whereas I see ‘gentle parenting’ as just a way of being that has no bearing on making specific choices to be in-line with a certain style.

So, with this in mind I’ve tried to come up with my idea of the definition of gentle parenting, ultimately I think it can be summed up with three words:

  1. understanding,
  2. empathy
  3. respect

The table below elaborates a little more. I don’t mean to be scathing or judgemental of what I’ve called ‘mainstream parenting’ (if there *is* any judgement it’s directed at the mainstream ‘parenting experts’ and societal myths NOT the individual parents!) and I’m sure I’ve been overly stereotypical, but it’s a start. You might find it easier to read the table contents if you zoom in.                                                                                                                                                                    

COPYRIGHT NOTE: I am *very* happy for you to share this blog post and spread awareness of gentle parenting,  but PLEASE DO NOT COPY the table and use it outside of this blog post without my permission.

gentle parenting, attachment parenting, mainstream parenting, respectful parenting, parenting methods, parenting styles, punish children, reward children, empathy for children

If you’re new to Gentle Parenting and would like to learn more about the specifics, then my Gentle Parenting Book is a good place to start. It covers 0-7yrs.



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About SarahOckwell-Smith

Sarah Ockwell-Smith, Parenting author and mother to four.
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