I will never be a ‘Gentle Parent’ and this is why

“Haven’t you read the pinned post?” 

“Praise is lazy, it’s worthless, it’s harmful and it has no value to children.”

***

A few weeks ago I was at my absolute wit’s end with Rose. She’s almost four and can, at times, be an incredible handful. She is the type of girl that teachers refer to as ‘spirited’. She is a bundle of stubbornness and strong will. She is fiercely independent, clever, funny and wonderful.

She is her mother’s daughter after all.

And I was – and very still often am – at the end of my tether. I do have two older children and have been there and done that, however, Rose has challenged me in ways they did not. I don’t know if this is due to my different approach to parenting this time around (my older children are almost 18 and 17) or because it’s just how she is. Either way, little Rose was sent to test me and that’s for certain.

Luckily, I have the added help of Google and fingertip access to mothers and fathers that span the entire breadth of the globe. Parents that are willing to take a few moments out of their day to give advice, or simply to offer a camaraderie that was not available when Lewis and Holly were little. My village as it were. And on days when you’re feeling utter pants, just a few words and a virtual high-five from a stranger can brighten your dismal outlook:

“You’ve got this mama” 

Or completely ruin it…

Because there are such people that the term ‘Keyboard Warrier’ was invented for. They are vitriolic at best, patronising, judgmental, and sanctimonious at worst.

On one of my worst days, I began to question everything about the way we parent Rose so I did what I do best: research. I bought books on gentle parenting, joined a couple of facebook forums and posted my first question, which was basically me querying how I could gently persuade Rose to do something when she didn’t want to do it, which ultimately leads to massive public meltdowns with crying, frustration and anger from both of us.

I was met with a few genuinely helpful responses: what were the reasons for Rose not wanting to do said thing? Had something upset her, was she tired or hungry etc. I mentioned that I had older children and (jokingly) said that I’d managed to fumble my way through parenting without applying any specific techniques and that my older children were teenagers now and perfectly happy well-rounded individuals but that maybe it was time to re-think my approach. Only to be met with a reply from a member of the group saying that gentle parenting came so naturally to her and that I’d probably already done a lot of damage and that I needed to promptly ‘reset’ with my child/children before it was too late.

Now I’m not especially sensitive, but ‘done a lot of damage’ WHAT THE FECK?! Hey lady, just because I haven’t read a few books and applied these so-called gentle parenting methods doesn’t mean I’ve been damaging. I mean, I didn’t go on there and say “Well yeah, I’ve been jacking up since the kids were small and they’ve been eating moldy food out of the bin” now did I?

This immediately got my back up because she had automatically assumed that any other parenting methods are damaging. Which is absolutely not the case at all. From my perspective, gentle parenting is all well and good but you try using those techniques with a teenager and see how far you get. In my view it is actually pretty flawed because (and I know I might get stick for this) teenagers need to learn respect otherwise they will walk all over you and ‘gently’ fannying about is just not going to cut it.

Sorry. Not sorry.

Someone else in the forum suggested a sticker reward chart. Yes! Why didn’t I think of that? Children respond so well to praise and reward.

Oh no, no, no. The forum will not be privy to people recommending they reward their kids. LIKE DOGS.

“Haven’t you read the pinned post?” 

Any comments suggesting said sticker reward charts are immediately removed. We do not reward or even verbally praise our children.

WHAT THE ACTUAL. You don’t praise your children?

So let me just get my head around this for a second. Your kid pours his heart and soul into a drawing of you and your husband, his sister and the dog <that looks more like an eight-legged spider> and presents you with it and you don’t exclaim “Oh, that’s so brilliant! Look you drew us all and the dog it’s AMAZING I love it, thank you” Or your daughter comes 8th in a race of 8 kids and you don’t scoop her up into your arms at the end and tell her “You ran so fast. I’m so proud of you” You don’t do that?

Nope. I would say something like: “I can see how hard you tried with that” (Sounds like a robotic response to me, but ok)

“Praise is lazy, it’s worthless, it’s harmful and it has no value to children.”

Really, wow. Because that sounds kind of damaging. I’m no expert but growing up without any praise is pretty harsh. But at least your kid learns how to feel praise from the inside, independent of his parents telling him how awesome he is. Good job.

No praise, no reward. No saying no or don’t.

I found the forums to be – and I’m not mincing my words today – full of grade A bitches. There was one post about someone in the media who has a new campaign about bed time out at the moment. The woman who was posting was very affronted that a librarian had offered her literature about the campaign. This was met with a lot of people replying saying how awful it was that the librarian had pushed the leaflet on her, and shock horror, a different perspective. You would think she’d tried to offer her crack or something from the responses. They went on to say things like “Yuck! I can’t even bear to look at her smug face.”

Hmm, not so gentle now are we?

It does leave me wondering that if you are prepared to type venomous statements based on people’s appearance just what example you’re giving your impressionable children. Hopefully, not all the offspring from those in that group will grow up to be unkind and without compassion.

That’s if they learn to say thank you, first. Because gentle parents don’t believe in asking your child to say that either…

As a mother of three, I can not understand how gentle parents are not constantly censoring themselves. Everything that comes out of their mouths must be measured. It’s just not natural. I can’t imagine not telling my children how special they are, commending them on how well they’ve done and verbally recognising and cheering their achievements, however big or small.

I also believe that children need discipline and boundaries and having done my dues as a parent to two amazing teenagers I can promise you that having rules does not ruin your children. It doesn’t mean that I’m not respectful, it doesn’t mean that I don’t listen and it certainly doesn’t mean I’m not a gentle person, but a gentle parent I am not.

Trackback from your site.

You might also like

Comments

  • Emily

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Oh my goodness. It sounds like you’re better off out of that group. That doesn’t sound like gentl parenting at all and who doesn’t praise their kids? I don’t see how praising them is harming them? I’m forever praising my kids for literally everything! Haha! Great post Amy, really enjoyed reading this xx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      It doesn’t seem gentle, does it? I just couldn’t get my head around the no praise thing. I will praise my kids until the cows come home!! Thanks Emily xx

  • Sarah Arrow

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Oh Amy, how fricking awful! I have kids with a 9 and 10 year gap. It is hard to parent teens and little ones simultaneously. How any of us got through the eldest’s teen years with our sanity intact is beyond me, You’re doing great. You’ve not killed anyone in the group. You’re still sane from parenting your spirited daughter (who will one day do amazing things in the world because you’re her mum) and you’re not gently rocking in the corner, humming R.E.M’s “It’s the end of the world as they know it”.
    Parenting is tough at the best of times. You’re doing great.
    P.S. I’m told, by a friend (honest) giving the kids a heavy spaghetti meal before bed, helps get them to sleep quicker. I’d like to say I only ever try this in emergencies and I never, ever, once fed the girls this two days running despite what the FB photos will indicate ;)

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Ah lovely Sarah thank you. Mwah! It is so BLOODY hard and we’re all just doing our best aren’t we? I do agree with GP in some ways but geez those forums get HEATED and basically make you feel like total crap. Loving the spaghetti tip xx

  • Laura's Lovely Blog

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    This, this and this! Brilliant post Amy. How can you not praise a child seriously? To me it’s just natural so say what a beautiful drawing or invention or cereal boxes you have made for me. That’s normal surely? My children get lots of love and affection from my husband and I, we’re always hugging, but they also get very firm boundaries. My daughter sounds similar to Rose and is really testing me at the moment. But it does get better I find if I just reassert the boundaries and praise good behaviour. Really cannot get my head around no praise at all, sounds miserable.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Thank you! I read up quite a bit on it before I wrote this because I was shocked by it. The group was saying that there is lots of scientific evidence against giving praise etc but none of it looked very scientific to me, as there were just as many experts saying how detrimental no rewards could be. The way they respond to their children sounds robotic and I couldn’t help but burst with pride verbally, it’s only natural to express that feeling of pride, surely?! x

  • Emma Chanagasubbay

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Gentle parenting is something that I have never looked into as I knew by the sheer name of it it was going to be a collection of people that weren’t really me, and by the sounds of your experience I’m glad that I steered clear.
    It sounds to me that you are doing everything perfectly and I’m my experience whatever you do there will be those children sent to try you.
    My first three were great and I was an annoying smug mum, my last two however have been a complete different bag! Xx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      I just don’t remember it ever being a thing when our teens were small. It’s all a bit hippyish for me or totally extreme and I don’t like the no priase thing one bit. Rose is a handful but the benefit of hindsight means I know she’ll be ok in the end! Thanks lovely xx

  • Alexandra Hodgson

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    I think I joined said “group” because I saw some of my friends like yourself were in it and I was intrigued. Eden is also ‘spirited’ and I will take any tips I can get. I saw that post you commented on and it just made me think yak, these people aren’t very ‘gentle’ at all. It’s so sad that anyone decides that one way is the only way to raise a child. I think they require different things at different seasons and I will forever be learning and never achieve “perfection” as a mother. This was a really interesting article. I’m so glad you wrote it. I’m calling BS on it all too xxx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      I was so shocked by that, the lady (in that post in question) is really good friend’s with my sister and that’s how I know her. My sister would never be friendly with someone that was cruel to kids. I don’t want to say too much in case she googles her name and sees that people were being so mean about her but I just thought, hang on, you’ve never met the woman and let’s face it, it’s her living helping others that are struggling. The forum is not for me and I will never be perfect, but you and I are both doing fine and I call BS with you mama! xxx

  • Plutonium Sox

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    I agree with you Amy, I think any method when taken to the extreme can be detrimental. I don’t subscribe to any particular parenting method and if I’m absolutely honest, I think parenting groups / forums / social media etc. are terribly damaging to our relationship with our children. We just constantly beat ourselves up about trying to get it right and actually, what we were doing was never wrong. Except in the eyes of my child as it’s her birthday next week and she wants a dinoroserous. I wonder what the gentle parenting gurus would advise I do about that? You’re doing an amazing job Amy, how sad that bitchiness made you feel like you weren’t.
    Nat.x

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Thank you Nat. Do you know I feel exactly the same way and someone else just said that the forums made them doubt every little thing and actually made them feel worse not better. Although I’m grateful to the friends inside my laptop some forums can be ghastly and this one was one f the worst I’ve ever seen actually (and that is saying something!) x

  • Clare aka Emmy's Mummy

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    OMG what the actual…

    How would they like it if as adults they received no praise at all….they wouldn’t that’s for sure.
    It’s blooming crazy

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Exactly! Everyone responds to praise and reward surely? They say no empty praise but even if my daughter drew a squiggly line on some paper I’d still praise her. They are extreme for sure!

  • Jules Pondering Parenthood

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    What a load of tosh! Of course praise and consequences are good for children. I hadn’t realised what ‘gentle parenting’ was all about until reading this post. It sounds like an excuse to discipline your child to me! x

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      These were my husband’s exact words too when I bought the book: ‘What a load of tosh’! Couldn’t agree more and the no praise thing is not for me. Thanks for reading Jules x

  • Lizzie

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    This made me laugh and also made me angry. Who are these women? It grinds my gears when mothers have a holier than thou attitude and that they’re the only people raising happy children. If I was their child I’d run for the freaking hills! Also it sounds like you’re going through the same as me with the kids. It’s tough and I’ve found a few methods that have worked wonders and surprise surprise rewarding my child like a sweet baby puppy is one of them! I’ll message you the other things we’ve tried. He’s still a pain and an emotional wreck sometimes but I’m starting to find it easier to deal with. I tell you what though having the ability to see the funny side of there meltdowns helps my sanity because if I lose myself once more in public I’ll never go out again. It’s so embarrassing xxx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Oh bless you babes, the public meltdowns are the absolute pits and I felt/feel really crap about it but it happens and I’m sure my older kids did it too but I’ve just forgotten. I need alllllllll your tips. Even Rose’s highly qualified school teacher said to use bribery haha! I’m sure they will grow out of it though and having teens I know all will be fine in the end. Thanks so much for reading chick xxx

  • Bespoke Mama

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    I’m a gentle parent, and it sounds like there’s been some misunderstanding – remember not everyone in a group is an old hand, some will be newbies who have gotten the wrong end of the stick and run with it. The idea isn’t that you never praise kids, it’s that you don’t give empty praise, and don’t only praise when they finally achieve something. So that means praising the hundreds of times they attempt to tie their shoes and not just the time they finally manage it. And the idea is to be specific in your praise like ‘oh you worked so hard and tied your shoes – doesn’t it feel good learning a new skill. I am so proud of you’ rather than a quick, dismissive ‘good boy’. Or ‘Oh thank you for that picture, can you talk me through it?’ Rather than ‘that’s nice/pretty’. Generally you can’t go wrong if you refer back to Sarah Ockwell-Smith – she is the actual authority on GP. Like with anything you are going to find people who have misunderstood and sadly people who are self-righteous. But you’ll find that in any group of people!

    The training like a dog thing refers to extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation. So the idea is that you don’t want to get caught in a cycle of punishment and rewards to try and modify behaviour – because when you stop punishing/rewarding then they have no motivation to continue with the desired behaviours. You don’t want to be bribing good behaviour out of kids when they are teens! So with gentle parenting the idea is to encourage them to do things because they are internally motivated to.

    Finally the manners thing just has to do with authenticity. It’s not that you don’t teach your kids manners (although I read it that way the first time I heard about it). It’s about constantly modelling good manners, so that instead of a begrudging, parroted ‘thank you’ that they don’t mean, they start to use it genuinely. It may take a bit longer, but will mean so much more for that.

    I am sorry you had a bad experience, but I did want to clarify – it really is a worthwhile parenting model, based on empathy with the child’s feelings, an understanding of what a child can and cannot yet be expected to do developmentally, and on treating a child with respect now, rather than it being something they haven to earn once they are older x

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Hi Caroline, thanks for reading today. I’m not familiar with your blog so you must be new here, which is nice :) I appreciate what you’re saying about praise, my view is that even if I praised my children 100 times a day it wouldn’t negate the sentiment because I am genuinely proud. I actually think it’s pretty rare for a parent to talk to their children using empty words, isn’t it? Just because they don’t gently parent doesn’t make them a complete empty-headed idiot. Also, you are assuming that people who don’t follow gentle parenting don’t talk through these different scenarios. It’s only natural to be specific surely. I don’t think this is any different from common sense parenting (which I’m a big fan of by the way.) Not praising, even the tiny things that seem insignificant to you is damaging.

      I’m not sure if you have teenagers? Because I can assure you that at some point it is likely you will bribe good behaviour out of them. Trust me on that! It doesn’t mean you don’t respect them but actually, teenagers need discipline or – and pardon my French – it will all go to shit.

      There is an old saying that manners don’t cost anything, asking your children to say please and thank you is not a bad thing! They are cleverer than you think, and although in your view they might be saying please or thank you because they are internally motivated to do so it’s actually far more likely that they are giving platitudes because it’s the right thing to do. Try and think about a time where you’ve been in a shop and the lady on the till is in a foul mood but you say thank you anyway because that’s the decent thing and we should all teach our children that. I would be mortified if I were in a situation where my child didn’t say thank you because they felt that it wasn’t warranted, and if that ever happened I would gently remind them that manners are what helps keep situations harmonious.

      Finally, thank you so much for posting in the Gentle Parenting Facebook group about this article. I really appreciate all the extra page views. I especially liked the part where you suggested others come and ‘respond gently to this post’ and that ‘for her children’s sake maybe we should try to put the other point of view’ that was so nice of you. I and my children thank you, sincerely.

  • Emma T

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Totally with you on this Amy. Thankfully N was always quite easy (he has his moments now with not doing obviously things, rewards sometimes working/sometimes not) but generally I’d say I’ve been fairly relaxed with him within boundaries. I’ve communicated with him. But they need to learn manners and to live in a normal rule led society.

    Hopefully with Rose it’s a phase, and it’s a case of just finding the trigger that will encourage her to see calmer options when needed. I found giving 2 (or 3 ‘options’ worked well. Give them what they think is a choice. Might work?

    I guess for most people who don’t parent to an extreme or believe in every family just needing to find the way that works for them, we’ll just stay away from forums like that.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Thanks Emma, my eldest boy sounds a lot like N. He was a breeze compared to Rose if I’m honest! I really find that giving options helps, so maybe I should increase that to 3 options! Definitely stay away from the forums, they are awful!

  • Laura Moore

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Those people have confused themselves. What they are espousing is permissive parenting. Rules and boundaries are definitely a part of Gentle parenting. Children need to know where they stand, otherwise they get anxious and stressed. Discipline means teaching – we have to teach our children how to behave and model acceptable behaviour to them. Gentle Parenting is about finding ways to bring up our children that don’t include violence, shame, bribery or punishment. It’s about treating our children with the respect and kindness that we expect for ourselves; about teaching strategies for problem solving and explaining why certain behaviours are unacceptable; about guiding our children towards intrinsic motivation rather than acting only to gain rewards or avoid punishment.
    It makes me so sad and angry that there are people out there giving Gentle Parenting a bad name and behaving in an utterly ungentle way towards other adults. I’m sorry you were treated this way.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Hi Laura, thank you for reading and commenting. I know a lot of my article is flippant and based on the way I’ve been treated but from what I’ve read I do actually agree with elements of GP. There are some things that don’t sit well with me. Thank you for putting a clearer perspective on it, I really appreciate it.

  • Mrs H

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Amazing post. I’ve always struggled with gentle parenting. There are so many things that sound wrong – not praising. No saying thank you. WTF? It is just wrong? I’ve been on a number of these forums in the past. And if you have a differing opinion to the group then many of the women become completely hateful and vitriolic. It is terribly wrong. Hugs Lucy xxxx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      It is totally wrong! But they say it is completely backed up by scientific evidence. After a bit of research, I can find scientific evidence to suggest quite the opposite as is usually the case. I wonder if a lot of them are anti-vax too, as they seem to be ‘the type.’ Women can be vile but the ones in these forums are on another level. Thanks for reading lovely Lucy xxxx

  • Verily Victoria Vocalises

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    People really are opinionated shits! At the end of the day, to me, parenting is a balancing act with an equal amount of praise when it’s due and bollocking when it’s due! But that is only my opinion and I wouldn’t force it on others. The parenting community can be so very helpful but unfortunately there is also the flipside too. You keep doing what you are doing. You know best and you are fab x

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Love you Vic and I totally agree. I think a lot of these gentle parents will have a major wake up call as soon as their kids reach a certain age. at the moment they are doing the easy bit compared with what’s to come! Thank you darling x

  • Sofie

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Hi Amy,
    I’m one of the people who commented on your post. I offered advice which you thanked me for and called “brilliant” so I find this blog confusing!

    I’ve also looked over the thread, which is still there and frankly I’ve not seen any of the comments that you’re stating you were given.

    The pinned post has a huge amount of information and positive reading- hence why I could imagine you would have been adviced to read it, along side all new members:)

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Sofie, if you read back you can see that I very clearly said I joined ‘a couple of facebook groups’ so perhaps that’s where your confusion comes from. This article refers to a number of things that were said in more than one group. FYI I’m a journalist by trade and don’t just magic content out of thin air, I would also never directly quote someone unless it was 100% authentic. I think you will find if you look back through the threads on your group you will find the post from the lady who complained about the librarian. And you and I both know EXACTLY what was said, don’t we? Thanks for your comment, I really appreciate you reading today :)

      • Sofie

        Written on 4th May 2017

        Reply

        I comment a significant amount of threads daily so I’m afraid, I don’t remember.

        I do wonder if you joined because you really wanted to understand GP or if you joined for writing material! As a writer myself, I know shock factor material can be hard come by.

        Have a lovely day:)

  • Katy (What Katy Said)

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Ah love you! You’ve seen me, you’ve seen my children. I am not a gentle parent and if anyone ever dared to tell me I have damaged my kids I think I’d stomp on their foot. My girls are polite, happy and confident. I have disciplined them from a young age – hell, I even made William cry the other day as he was pulling leaves off a plant. Those gentle parents (or at least the ones in that group as I can’t say I’ve heard of any other type) will end up with disobedient and down right miserable children. Can’t be doing with the nonsense. You should post this in their group hahaha!!! xx

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Do you know you are spot on!? Just because people don’t follow the GP method doesn’t mean their kids turn into miscreants! I am afraid that the members of the groups have complete tunnel vision when it comes to GP and it’s their way or the highway and they are so sanctimonious it’s untrue. Your children are beautiful people and that’s because you have modeled their behaviour without relying on something like GP, which doesn’t necessarily work for everyone. Love you! xx

  • Poppy

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Amy, have you got an email or a way I can contact you? I would like to send you some screen shots. Lovely post. Spot on c

  • Victoria

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    This misunderstanding of gentle parenting is common. It does not mean no limits, no consequences and no discipline. It means consequences are logical. Instead of “you throw that toy, then no TV for you” it’s “you throw that toy, I take it away,” it’s logical. Like real life consequences are.

    And no, no rewards and praise in constructive. You really think all the “good jobs” help anyone? It’s “oh I see you’ve drawn a picture. Can you tell me about it? I love the use of red here” etc. It’s constructive.

    No punishment and no reward does not mean no discipline and no limits. It means you respect your children as actual people. And treat them with the same respect you want them to treat others. Discipline doesn’t have to mean punishment. Model the behaviour you want to see. A great book is how to talk so kids will listen. And this article from someone who lived respectful (gentle) parenting.
    http://jitterberry.com/2017/04/respectful-parenting-isnt-just-a-theory-to-me-i-lived-it/

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      The very odd thing is that in essence, I completely agree with the principles you’re describing. What I will never agree with is censoring myself with my children, nor judging others who, though they may parent differently, clearly parent with love. To reiterate the point I made to Caroline (who posted my article in the GP forum) Just because people don’t gently parent doesn’t make them a complete empty-headed idiot. You are also assuming that people who don’t follow gentle parenting don’t talk through the different scenarios you’ve suggested above. It’s only natural to be specific. I don’t think this is any different from common sense parenting (which I’m a big fan of by the way.) Not praising, even the tiny things that seem insignificant to you is damaging. Hoping very much that you will come back and read some more of my posts, you never know you may even pick up some tips. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment today.

  • Hannah Spannah

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Ha! This made me laugh! As the offerer of the sticker chart advice in the group, you know that a) no, I had not read the pinned post, b) left the group within 5 minutes of being told that they don’t use praise.
    Empty praise, yes, doesn’t do much good, but a little bit of praise here and there does a world of good.

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Haha! I wondered if you would see this…we shall now refer to that as ‘sticker gate’. I know what you’re saying about empty praise and I hear you! Thanks for commenting Hannah!

  • M

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Hi Amy

    Sorry you had such a bad experience. I am part of one of the groups you mention (the same that has the library comment) and I too think sometimes there can be really quite mean and unhelpful comments on there to desperate parents. I’m even too nervous to write my full name here!

    There are things I very much dip in and out of with GP such as parents deciding not to ‘parent’ at bedtime (not for me) but like you, some things don’t stick, such as no praise. I have to be honest I do roll my eyes at some of the posts sometimes and I like to be helpful and comment on new members posts who are just looking for support but apparently aren’t doing it right.

    I think there are ways to be a ‘gentle parent’ without actually ticking boxes and putting yourself in some sort of category.

    X

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Hi! Thank you so much for commenting I really appreciate it. I know exactly what you mean and to be honest not at all surprised you don’t want people to be able to identify you. I found that particular group to be the worst because a lot of posters are really judgy and won’t be challenged on their ideas. They basically think they are right and will not accept otherwise. There are elements of GP that I agree with, but really I find it is mainly just common-sense parenting and as I have been a mum for 18 years I have learnt that there are many different approaches and there is not a one size fits all when it comes to being a parent. We all make mistakes, and we all at some point do things that many will disapprove of but that’s life. Thank you for reading x

  • Single Mother Ahoy

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    This is hilarious – but also frustrating as hell!
    I would consider myself a “gentle parent” – but I also tell my kid how amazing she is at every available opportunity. And I don’t do sticker charts with S but I know tons of people who do and if it works for them then who cares.
    I think the thing about not praising is, or at least I thought the idea was that you were supposed to praise the effort rather than the result. So “I love that you tried so hard” rather than “well done you came first” or something. But even then, who cares – better either of those than the robotic nonsense they came out with!
    I just had to go back up and re-read because it sounded a lot like a Mumsnet forum from all the bitching. I’m a member of a gentle parenting group that’s way nicer and more supportive. Sounds like the people in the group you were unfortunate enough to join were more about making themselves feel good by tearing down others.
    At the end of the day we’re all winging it aren’t we?

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      Ugh, the groups were both really really bad but one in particular, was horrid. When they weren’t specifically talking about GP I found them to be just a bunch of people bitching about others: their appearance, people moaning about grandparents that help them with childcare etc etc. I know what you mean and there are elements of GP that I agree with but to be honest, it was never pigeon holed when my older two were little. It was just parenting and like you say, for most of us we are just winging it anyway.

  • Helen @Talking_Mums

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Oh my! Well ‘gentle parenting’ to me sounds like ‘numb parenting ‘ crikey is smiling at your kids allowed or might that give the impression of praise? Totally agree with you Amy, praise doesn’t hurt children neither do boundaries and discipline – all in balance!! X

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 4th May 2017

      Reply

      The example responses of ‘praise’ that people gave on the forum sounded totally numb and robotic. They are not kind people so I don’t know how they expect their children to grow up to be nice. Thank you for commenting! x

  • Kate Tunstall

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Where to start?

    I have a very firm idea of the way I want to parent, and it mostly relies on listening to my instincts. However, parenting the ‘right’ way is a huge spectrum. The original principles of GP fit my ideal, but it’s become almost like a cult. That rigidity is not healthy. Where’s the empathy, compassion, and flexibility to simply respond?!

    Bottom line: ‘Gentle’ is now entirely out of context. What was the perfect description for how I aspire to parent is now close to the antithesis. I will never agree with any ‘movement’ that condones shaming and judgement. They’re the very opposite behaviours to those I plan to model for my children.

    Great post xxxx

  • Cassie

    Written on 4th May 2017

    Reply

    Wow. I believed myself and hubs to be taking inspiration from gentle parenting until I read this. We have and always will praise George. You can’t negate the bad and not praise the good. Reading your post has made me think maybe I don’t follow their techniques at all. I tried. I waa a member of several Facebook groups. Some I finding whiten psychotic. A lot of the mothers were so rigid and there was no leeway. We are raising kids not robots. I promptly left as I found there wasn’t a lot of judgment. And people saying , my mother In law gave my child an orange today without my consent whilst everyone jumped on board again for disgraceful. Never take your children there again. What a horrible woman. Lol.

    I’m still a member of obe gentler oarenting group which isn’t full of friend of mine. They are sane, kind, rational people. I’m liking this idea of mindful parenting though. I think we all just take our inspiration and do our best.

    Well done to you x x x

    • Amy Treasure

      Written on 5th May 2017

      Reply

      I think that the rigid gentle parents like to believe that their methods are the only gentle ones. What they fail to realise is that even if you’ve never heard of gentle parenting or have dipped in and out of it, it doesn’t mean you’re not gentle in your parenting ways.

      The forums are pretty vile and judgemental. The number of people I have seen chastised and belittled on there is unbelievable. I agree that a lot of the so-called gentle parents sound totally robotic and unnatural in the way they deal with their kids. I like the idea of mindful parenting too-actually I think we’re in the same group if it’s the one Kate created? Thanks for reading and commenting xxx

  • Cassie

    Written on 5th May 2017

    Reply

    That was me yes. I feel bad if any gentle parenters read these comments and feel chastised but as Kate said above, it did feel almost like a cult in some groups.

    You have to take what you can from the techniques that suit you and adapt it to your family and your child. We don’t all fit into one style. And I’m still in shock about not praising. I honestly never knew that. I almost feel like I want to make an announcement on my blog disassociating myself with that technique as it really doesn’t fit with how we are raising George now. Kate’s group is a fab idea. We should all just carry on doing the Best Job we can.

  • Jemma

    Written on 5th May 2017

    Reply

    A great post. I’ve had similar experiences with so called gentle parents. I wrote a post about this too and how we should pick and choose and not follow one technique wholeheartedly without question – but was taken then taken off a group for doing so! They are very quick to censor!! Things like co-sleeping and sling- wearing are brilliant for some but mother’s can give themselves such a guilt complex over these things if they don’t work out!

Leave a Reply

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close