Gentle Parenting is a lifelong commitment to peaceful and compassionate communication within your family. It starts from the day your Little Bird is born, because believe me there will be times that test you! For new parents, and parents-to-be, there are some very interesting authors who might inspire you and will help to prepare you, these include Sarah Ockwell-Smith who has a lovely explanation of Gentle Parenting here, and a very interesting and important article on the theory of Baby Sleep here.
In a nutshell – Let serenity, patience, empathy and love rule your everyday encounters.
For inspiration and tips on how to apply the Gentle Parenting ethos to your baby, I would recommend checking out ‘Secrets of The Baby Whisperer’ by Tracy Hogg, which is full of brilliant information about how to understand how your baby is communicating with you, how to care for and soothe them, and even how having a new baby affects your relationship with yourself and your partner.
I would also recommend reading this – Five Things Not to do For Babies – which highlights the importance of being in tune with your baby in order to avoid letting them reach the point of crying. From my own personal experience, babies do not always cry, it is not ‘the norm’, they cry to communicate that a need has not been met. If you can learn to be in tune with your baby and learn how to understand their nonverbal signs you will save yourself and your baby a great deal of stress. Please note, my baby has Reflux (GERD), and we have experienced bouts of agonising screaming, I cannot imagine the pain she must have been in – so don’t read this assuming that I just have an angel baby! But once we found a solution to ease her discomfort and pain, she has become a very happy, loving and relaxed baby, who communicates with us through signs, and sounds that mean things to us as a family.
Empathy is the big one here, as the rest of those four attributes shown above are much easier to obtain if you can first stand in your Little Bird’s shoes, and see the world as he/she does. Is she old enough to even know what you are expecting of her? If the answer is no, then you will have to approach your task from a different stand point, with age-appropriate language, explanations and goals. The problem is often not the first thing that you see happening in front of you, but something else that is triggering that particular behaviour; is your Little Bird needing more love, guidance, attention, stimulation, reassurance? Once you work that out, you can use techniques to calm, and guide your little one to an acceptable compromise.
Ive included some quotes & references below to get your mind ticking!
“Parenting is not about making your child appear to be ‘perfect’ to others. It’s NOT about control and ‘good’ behaviour. It is about connection, respect and guidance for your growing little individual.” Kirsty Lee.
“I’m always amazed when adults say that children ‘just did that to get attention’. Naturally children who need attention will do all kinds of things to try to get it. Why not just give it to them?” – Lawrence J. Cohen, Ph.D, Author of Playful Parenting.
“Between simulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl
“Being angry and yelling at, or hitting a child for being angry, yelling or hitting, is like throwing mud at a muddy child and expecting it to get them clean. Showing adult self-control and responding with compassionate guidance is like a gentle shower of wisdom bathed in love. Parent don’t punish.” L. R. Knost
I’ll leave you with one last quote… Good luck on your journey!