Why gentle parenting comes highly recommended

Gentle parenting results in happy child(ren).

Gentle parenting results in happy child(ren).

Published Aug 31, 2023


This generation of parents are different from our parents. Back then, most parents believed that spanking children was a way of disciplining them.

However, this current generation of parents (the millennials and Gen Z) disagree. They believe in gentle parenting.

According to the South African law, hitting a child is a crime, which makes sense because if an elder hits another one, it’s abuse. Even worse, when an elder hits a child, not only is it abusive to the child, but it’s also the abuse of power.

That is why most people advocate for gentle parenting, to make sure we raise children who will not grow up with trauma from being beaten by their parents.

Gentle parenting is a method used to ensure that their children are happy, confident, and have a good relationship with people.

While we are still learning and unlearning about certain behaviours, it is important for parents to not over spoil their children. There are many ways in which parents can discipline their children without being harsh.

In an article written by Beverley Beukes, MD of Oasis Haven, a registered Child and Youth Care Centre in Johannesburg, disciplining and punishing children is outlined.

Beukes explains that punishment is imposed on a child by their parent after the fact.

“The child misbehaves, and the parent reacts to that behaviour, which frequently results in a power struggle and vicious cycle.”

Discipline, by contrast, is established before the fact and is based on a child’s needs. A parent provides guidelines for their child and gives them latitude to work within those guidelines, establishing consequences for failing to do so.

“The ultimate goal of parental discipline is to wrap just enough structure around a child so that they can begin to develop self-control, the precursor of self-discipline,” says Beukes.

In order to instil healthy discipline on your child, you can try the following tips.

Aim for connection over control

Children are curious about many things. Sometimes, they may test your patience to see how far they can go before you reject them. As a parent, your first response shouldn’t be to spank or shout at them.

If they show signs of aggression, calm down and speak to them in a polite manner. Ask them what triggered that aggressive behaviour, ask them to behave better next time, and offer them a tight hug.

That way, you are creating a safe space for them to be able to come to you in a situation where they are triggered instead of being aggressive.

Understand your child

People need to understand that children are human beings with valid feelings. Just because your child is still a toddler does not mean they are not emotionally aware.

Take care of their emotions by validating them, speak positively about them, encourage them, and allow them to make mistakes. Their development will be much easier if you, as a parent, support them.

Approach discipline in small increments

Behaviour change takes time.

“Seeing the long-term picture can help parents avoid thinking of misbehaviour as failure – as a vulnerable child’s fear lessens, they will not always have an immediate fight, flight or freeze reaction.

“During this process, the child can learn the cause and effect of their actions,” says Beukes.