This post will be focusing on our love of gentle parenting techniques, as we approach the more challenging possibly not so aptly named, terrible twos.
When I was pregnant with George I did a lot of research into raising a child. I have never been particularly maternal but I had an inkling that should I become a parent, that I would be a pretty good one, going only on the basis of how great an aunty I was. How smug does that sound! But honestly having confidence in our own abilities isn’t the worst thing in the world. It’s not like I go round pointing fingers at people saying that’s right, that’s wrong. Although I can see some methods are a little ineffective, I still don’t believe there is a right or wrong. After all, every child, parent and lifestyle is different. And in all honesty, as much as I knew I had the capacity to be a good parent (whatever that is anyway), I was still very, very doubtful of whether my motherly instincts would kick in. To the point that I had nightmares about it when I was pregnant, and when George was born, I was very reluctant for others to hold him as I feared he may enjoy being held more by them than being held by my awkward self. Little did I know then that holding your own baby is nowhere near as scary and awkward feeling as it is holding other people’s. So back to the matter in hand;
Anyhow, I could and still can always see areas of other people’s parenting that was essentially failing. Can’t we all? Watching people lose their rag all too quickly, not watching what their children are doing when they are in danger, you know the type of stuff we all silently judge each other for. But I love a challenge and parenting is certainly that. I wasn’t prepared to have anyone silently judging me. I have to succeed. Failure from myself isn’t an option in my twisted mind. When I fell pregnant though, the pregnancy wasn’t as easy as I had imagined. That’s when I realised that this wasn’t going to be something I would be able to completely control. I could have an ideal of how I wanted it to be, whilst controlling factors such as my diet and exercise. But in the end, my body was going to do what it wanted and I was going to have to just learn to live with it as amicably as I could. Carpel tunnel syndrome, stretch marks despite using all the best potions, fluid retention, you name it, it bit me hard and there was fuck all I could do about it in the grand scheme of things, except ride it out and try and enjoy it. After all, you are supposed to be radiantly blooming aren’t you. I watched Father of the Bride 2 wayyyyyyyy too many times!
I took to social media, joining various bump and baby groups in an attempt to met some like-minded people and ensure that when bubba was born I wouldn’t be a hermit whilst all my pre-pregnancy friends worked. It was in these groups that I discovered Gentle and attachment parenting methods.
Since becoming a mum, I’ve realised that parenting is much the same as preganacy, life indeed! You can apply methods and theories to your way of parenting, but overall, your child is a living, growing person. Your child will be who they want to be. You have to learn how to leave in peaceful existence with them whilst teaching them good morals and values that they can carry through life. And as much as you fear that what you are doing could still result in them growing up to become a drug addicted, murderer (worst case scenario). You have just got to hope, pray and well just not be such a psychopath and chill the fuck out with it all. This is where gentle parenting matches how I wish to live my life and teach my son that the world is a happy, chilled place, for the most part.
Once George was born, my instincts of wanting to keep him safe and happy remained, as they had throughout my pregnancy. I never wanted him to feel sad or frustrated. I wanted to protect and nurture him in any way that I could. Being an 80’s baby I was raised as most British 80’s kids were. There was nothing wrong with it. I always insisted that I would raise my child in the same way I was raised because “I turned out alright”. But when this little 7 pound chunk of gorgeousness landed in my arms, I suddenly went all bohemian in my mindset. I wanted to do things my way and as much as I was happy to ask for other more experienced mums input, I didn’t want it imposed on me.
This is where gentle parenting entered our lives. Gentle parenting is a compassionate form of parenting, focusing on empathising with your child and helping to support and respect their feelings as much as your own. After all they are merely humans like ourselves. I brought hubby on board. Adding him to the groups and sharing any articles I read to ensure that we were being consistent in our parenting approach. I’ve been so fortunate that he has been happy to follow the same methods and beliefs without any hesitation. Now I could tell you each and every aspect of gently parenting, what it means, how you go about it, but I think this article best explains it. Taken from the Gentle Parenting website itself. If you are a parent, just take the time it takes to drink your cuppa and have a little read. It would be so lovely if my post had ultimately let you to find ways you could enhance your style of parenting.
Taken from the gentle parenting website. http://www.
It does worry me how restrictive things might be when George enters the education system however. Thankfully his nursery doesn’t impose any limits that we disagree with yet. But it’s something we will definitely be adding to our list of things to ask when interviewing potential schools.
As a rule though, gentle parenting doesn’t back the use of time outs, naughty steps, reward charts and alike. It’s not to say George doesn’t get a sticker here and there if he does something outstanding like at the end of a play group session. But we don’t have a chart. He wears them and it’s not a consistent regime. We always discuss behaviour that could harm and then he goes about his day. If we did choose to remove him from a situation as he grew older and potentially more defiant then we would sit with him so he could vent his emotion but know he is safe with our presence. This teaches him morals and guides him towards thinking about his behaviour and why he should or shouldn’t do things. Rather than him thinking oh if I do that I’ll get a reward.
Here’s another article I have recently stumbled across to help keep us on track as the more testing “terrible twos” descend upon us. Although “touch wood”, we seem to be having an easier time than other parents around us that I see. I can’t help but wonder if this would have been different had we not led with gentle parenting.
So I hope this post has given you food for thought. And please don’t take it as me being a judgemental arsehole. I’m really not. I believe we are all entitled to parent how we wish, after all, its ultimately ourselves that have to live with the consequences.
Until next time …………