Unlike parenting styles that are either too strict or too lax, gentle parenting has few drawbacks and will rarely hurt the child’s mental health, making it an ideal choice for foster parents. Gentle parenting is centered around understanding and human elements that help children develop and thrive while establishing appropriate guidelines and boundaries to encourage positive behavior.
What is Gentle Parenting?
Gentle parenting is an evidence-based approach to raising confident and happy children. It comprises the four main elements of respect, empathy, understanding, and boundaries. With gentle parenting, parents focus on encouraging the qualities they want to see in the child by modeling them, being compassionate, and putting consistent boundaries in place. Gentle parenting encourages working together to teach children how to express their feelings safely and age-appropriately.
Benefits of Gentle Parenting
Gentle parenting is a parenting style that focuses on the child’s cognitive state to establish appropriate guidelines for them that will help to benefit their development. Research suggests that gentle parenting may reduce the risk of anxiety in children. While discipline is a vital part of gentle parenting, the main goal of any discipline is to be a learning experience for the child rather than to punish the behavior.
This allows parents to get the point across better and help the child understand how they should behave without exposing them to negative experiences. Since many children in foster care have already been through negative experiences in their short lives, gentle parenting is often recommended by foster agencies such as orangegrovefostercare.co.uk.
How to Use Gentle Parenting as a Foster Parent
It’s essential to note that gentle parenting differs in several ways from other parenting styles, such as permissive parenting. Unlike gentle parenting, permissive parenting is defined as having low expectations of a child. Parents who practice permissive parenting often do not discipline their children at all. On the other hand, gentle parenting involves a teaching style of discipline using age-appropriate methods.
To start with gentle parenting as a foster parent, respecting the feelings and development of the child is essential. Younger children are unable to regulate their emotions and behavior well. By first recognizing and understanding why the child is behaving a certain way, it becomes easier to respond accordingly to the child and consider their cognitive ability to understand how you react.
It is also often essential to change your expectations of how children should behave to one that is more realistic. Gentle parents understand that if a toddler is not sleeping through the night, they are not being naughty, for example. Offering comfort instead of punishing the child models empathy and creates a safe, positive environment for them to develop in.
Why Gentle Parenting is Ideal for Kids in Foster Care
The gentle parenting approach is reasonable if you are considering fostering a child. While it involves boundaries, limits, and discipline aimed at teaching, it also encourages parents to understand their children deeper.