There are as many different parenting methods as there are parents, each with their own beliefs on what is important in raising a healthy, well-functioning child. To proponents of gentle parenting, raising a child is a very relational and intentional act. Although the method has a reputation of being only for "crunchy moms" or parents who don't believe in rules, there are lots of things you didn't know about gentle parenting that may make you want to try it out for yourself and your child.
According to Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha Parenting and one of theleading voices on the gentle parenting movement, empathy, connection, and respect is at the heart of the parenting strategy. Gentle parents see their children as worthy of understanding and respect — people whose feelings are just as valid as an adults, they just may not know the best ways to express them yet. A parent's job, gentle parenting says, is to calmly set boundaries, allowing your child to explore and learn within them.
The method focuses on building a strong parent-child relationship – one where the parent is definitely in charge, but doesn't hold their authority over their child as a threat or punishment. It can work for strong-willed children, cooperative children, strict parents, and relaxed parents. If you're still curious about the method before giving it a try the next time your toddler has a tantrum, read on to learn a few things you might not have known about gentle parenting.