It seems important discussions about different parenting styles are happening with more frequency in the last few years. Many people are comparing and contrasting mainstream modes of parenting, which take more of an authoritarian approach, to the lesser talked about styles like attachment and gentle parenting. It's clear that how you raise your child inevitably impacts so many aspects of a family's life including sleeping arrangements, diets, discipline, schooling, and yes, even the parent's sex life. So those exploring the gentle style may wonder how does gentle parenting affect your sex life. It turns out, it could go a few different ways.
Also know as "peaceful" parenting, gentle parenting is a definite shift away from the traditional authoritarian, "old school," or from-the-top-down style parenting, as described on The Path Less Taken. In a nutshell, this style of parenting is all about having respect for your child and understanding that they can't act like adults because, well, they are children. Additionally, gentle parents believe that kids should be treated age appropriately. Their brains are emotionally developed to be children whether they're babies, toddlers, school-aged, tweens, or teens and, therefore, they shouldn't be expected to behave like "mini adults." An emphasis is put on connection with parents and discipline that is growth centric, not punishing. Listening to a child, rather than demanding from the child is encouraged.
So how does this impact intimacy? It seems that it simply depends on whether or not you're also employing some attachment parenting techniques in tandem to your gentle parenting lifestyle. "Gentle parenting isn't just following a set of practices like breastfeeding and babywearing and co-sleeping," L.R. Knost, bestselling author, founder, and director of Little Hearts/Gentle Parenting resources, tells Romper. "It's simply treating our tiny humans with the respect and kindness we like to be treated with as big humans." Knost adds that, when it comes to intimacy, there is no real difference between parents who practice gentle parenting and those who don't. "We may need to get a bit creative in finding other places to be together if we do choose to co-sleep, but creativity in your sex life just keeps things interesting," Knost says. Think closet, kitchen, guest bedroom, or call the babysitter so you can get it on in the car.
The flip side to using attachment style methods like co-sleeping and bed-sharing is that it could make your sex life worse if you're not the adventurous type. If you're not utilizing other rooms in your home or making use of nap times for sex, you may find yourself in a bit of a sex slump, according to Parenting. Lack of sex can sometimes create a disconnect, but only you will know if the solution is communication or trying to have sex no matter what, or both.
Generally speaking, gentle parenting shouldn't have a huge impact on intimacy. How much your parenting style impacts your sex life is largely dependent on the sleep arrangement choices you make, and the modifications you're willing to try out in order to keep the sex alive.