I’m here to say that I don’t agree with gentle parenting. Now don’t get me wrong, this parenting style is on the right path, but it’s not quite enough. Gentle parenting involves using understanding, empathy, respect and boundaries. I understand that these elements are crucial when people want to break generations of bad/abusive parenting. But when you just use these ideas, often times understanding and empathy overrun respect and boundaries. When this happens, you start to get disrespectful, lazy, entitled, and selfish little people who grow up to be difficult adults.
So what is gentle parenting missing? A goal.
I mean gentle parenting has good reasons behind it, your mom never said sorry or validated your feelings and you don’t want to make your own baby feel the way you were made to feel. Your dad didn’t know how to tell you that he loved you and also had no patience so his go to methods were to ignore you or hit you, not great. So you found the courage to try your absolute hardest to break the cycle and smother your children with love. These are all very important, healthy, and good things.
But if your goal is to raise kind and caring people who know they are important and know they are loved, you have to do more. You can’t just coddle them and give them everything they want. And that’s why I call my parenting style, Purposeful Parenting.
I try to make every parenting moment with my children follow a goal that I have in mind. That goal is to raise kind humans who are positive contributors to society. I don’t need the smartest kid at math, I don’t need the fastest runner on track, or the best arm in football. I want my children to include others, be patient, understanding and above all, not bullies.
I want my offspring to know where they came from, why they are here, and where they are going. I want them to know that the point of life is to help others. Happiness comes from caring for someone outside yourself. So how do I do this? Yes, with a bit of gentle parenting- the empathy, the patience, the understanding and the healthy boundaries.
But there is more. There is direction, there are goals, and there is honesty. I don’t just want my children to know I have empathy for them, I want them to practice it with each other and those they meet along there path. I practice what I preach, I explain why I do what I do, I ask questions and realign with my goal when I veer from the path.
So how can you purposefully parent your kiddos?
- Think about how you were raised. What you liked and didn’t like. Then keep that in mind daily when interacting with your child.
- Interact with your spawn. You can’t parent them if you ignore them. Set down the phone, close the laptop, and listen to the never ending babbles of your genetic mini clone- trust me, in the long run, you won’t regret it.
- Make sure your partner is on the same page at least most of the time. Obviously we are all human and how we interact with our youngsters will vary a bit, it should really. But in general, you should be on the same page with your goals.
- Brainstorm what kind of character you want your whippersnapper to become. Unfortunately no, I don’t mean a Jedi, wizard, or vampire character. I mean things like; honest, patient, understanding, independent, mindful of others, etc. and then be those things so that they can see in action what it means to have integrity.
- Create a home environment that cultivates the lifestyle you want your fledgling to live once they can be on their own. Do you mind them being untidy? Do you want them to respect their belongings? Do you want them to see the benefits of eating healthy? Try to live now how you want them to be.
- Try to be consistent with your offspring. I know we are human, we get tired, grumpy, and worn out. But purposeful parenting takes consistency, patience, and love.
I know I don’t have parenting all figured out. It’s a life long roller coaster. But I do know that I love my kids. I want them to be happy, confident, capable, and content with their adult lives. And I also know that when they are kids, is when that foundation for success in life is created. I just really hope I don’t totally screw it up.
So there you go, I have a parenting style. I don’t give my kids everything they want, but I teach them everything I can and try to prepare them as best I can for them to be successful, happy people. I parent with purpose. Be kind. Don’t be selfish. Think of others. Contribute positively to those around you. That’s it. 🌷