Some of us grew up in families where it was acceptable to hit children.The thinking behind this method of discipline for some parents is to ensure children stay on the right path.
These days, hitting children is no longer an accepted form of discipline. In 2017, the South African High Court ruled “that parents who smack their children will no longer be able to plead special defence in court if criminally charged.”
Following the ruling, many parents and guardians wondered how to discipline their children. The answer may lie in gentle parenting.
Sarah Ockwell-Smith, author of The Gentle Parenting Book, notes that when compared to standard forms of parenting, “gentle parenting is different – it isn’t a label for a precise set of rules but a method of parenting that embraces the needs of parent and child while being mindful of current science and child psychology. It means parenting with empathy, respect, understanding – and boundaries.
Ockwell- Smith says the benefits of this style of parenting include happier parents and more intelligent children. Children also have greater self-worth, do better at school, are more resourceful, and have better brain development.
Here are two ways to implement gentle parenting into your life.
Deal with the action and not the child
Parents sometimes resort to derogatory terms when disciplining a child. Telling a child they are bad, silly or irresponsible when reprimanding them is not ideal. Name-calling can damage your child’s self-esteem and cause lasting damage to a child’s brain structure. The better way is to talk to them politely and with respect and help them understand why what they are doing is considered wrong.”
Young children are often unable to regulate their emotions and may act out. Instead of punishing them, Child Mind Institute says the best thing a parent or guardian can do is to remain calm, affirm the child and help them identify what went wrong. The next step is giving them feedback on how to deal with the situation better.