‘Gentle parenting’ is ridiculous – my friend’s kids are so badly behaved’

By Staff

Gentle parenting is an approach that is based on positive discipline but one mum has admitted her friendship with another parent is under strain because she doesn’t think her method works

There are lots of different beliefs on how best to raise a child – and often, the approach parents take isn’t often a deliberate choice.

Instead, it tends to stem from our own upbringing. Some parents aim to replicate the positive qualities they observed in their mums and dads, while others use their childhood experiences as a guide for what to avoid. Some stick to methods researched by child experts as a guide.

One approach that is currently gaining lots of attention is gentle parenting, which encourages compassion, welcomes emotions, and accepts the child as a whole, capable being and doesn’t follow a strict set of rules. However, one mum has fallen out with her friend who follows this relaxed approach, calling it “stupid” and saying that her children are “horribly behaved”.

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  • Wanting to know if she was in the wrong, the 33-year-old shared on social media: “I have a friend who has three kids, all under the age of 6. All of her kids are horribly behaved, don’t listen to authority figures, have a disregard for anything they are told if they don’t feel like doing it, act like wild animals, and are extremely disrespectful.

    “She believes in and practices ‘gentle parenting’. To my understanding, this is when the parent does parenting while focusing more on the kids’ feelings about a situation instead of disciplining them by telling them ‘no’ and maybe giving them a time out or a spanking if it’s needed.”

    Describing a few instances, she said that when her youngest was two days old her friend and her three kids came over and behaved very badly. She also revealed that her youngest was bitten by her friend’s four-year-old, who was never disciplined over it.

    She went on: “One day recently, I had enough. I was over at her house and her oldest (almost 6 YO) walked up to me while I was sitting on the couch and asked if I would play with her. I told her not right now because I was having a conversation with her mom but that I would later.

    “The kid smacked me in the face and walked away crying. I looked at my friend and said, ‘are you going to do anything about that?!’ And she told me she would talk to about it later but that her kid was too upset to be talked to right now. I finally blew up and told her the way she gentle parents is ridiculous and has led to her children not respecting authority or other humans in general.

    “I told her if she doesn’t discipline her kids, they will just get worse and worse and might even end up in jail if they have no grasp or understanding of authority, right and wrong, and consequences.

    “She told me I crossed the line telling her how to parent and that any other form of parenting that is not gentle parenting is abusive. To be clear, I never said she needs to spank her kids, she just needs to discipline them in one way or another.

    “I do spank my kids and she has made it known that she doesn’t agree with it. Which is fine, I don’t have an issue with that. I do have an issue when someone’s lack of parenting causes their kids to harm other people, including my kids and myself.”

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    People reading the Reddit post were stunned by the children’s behaviour and the mum’s. One person advised: “You should have nuked it when baby was bitten. Grow a backbone and protect your child. End this ridiculous friendship. Damn.”

    While another user noted: “This isn’t gentle parenting. This is permissive parenting which is no kind of parenting at all. You have no control over what she does or doesn’t do. But you certainly don’t have to keep letting her into your house. And if that ends up being in the end of your friendship, it doesn’t sound like it’s so much of one to begin with if she can’t respect your home and family.”

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