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What is Gentle Discipline?

Gentle Parenting, as an approach, encourages us to respect & trust our children to be the leaders of their own play & learning. When our children do something we can't or won't allow, following these 5 Gentle Disciple Steps can make our lives a bit easier.

It won't guarantee there’ll be no protests but it will give you a roadmap to help you navigate these challenges more easily.

1. Respectful, honest, first-person communication

“I won’t let you throw the plate”

First-person statements like “I won’t let..” are clearer than “In our house we don’t..” or “Mummy doesn’t like it when..” It also makes it easier to take ownership of our decisions in following through on them.

2. Acknowledging desires & feelings

“You wanted to throw the plate. You’re frustrated because I wouldn’t let you.”

When we respect our children as individuals with their own wants & empathise with them not getting what they want, it helps us remain calm in the face of their emotional reactions.

3. Keep directions simple & concise

We often waste a lot of energy explaining to children why & how things can’t happen the way they want. Usually, they don’t care, all they know is that they’re upset. Our time is better spent connecting with their emotions to our response than explaining the reasoning behind our decision.

4. Gently following-through

* When Mia lifts the plate to throw it, either take the plate away & put it out of reach or gently hold her arms to prevent it from happening. *

When we tell our children over & over again “I won’t let you...” & then do nothing, they learn to stop taking our directions seriously.

5. A confident, matter of fact, unquestioning tone

Children can sense when we aren’t confident. They quickly learn when they can test and push boundaries. This is sensible, it’s how they learn what they rules are, it’s OUR job to be confident and consistent in where the lines are.

References: Lansbury 2014; Redshaw 2013

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