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Old 08-23-2022, 06:50 AM   #1
Singingmom
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Default Parenting gently as Christians

This is the main purpose of our community, so the topic is nothing new! But recently I've been seeing young Christian parents (on instagram) call Gentle Parenting ungodly. At first I was taken aback, but then I remembered it's why GCM is here. We can and do parent without spanking and punishment in a way that honors the Lord.

There are lots of old threads stickied in this public forum, but I'd like to discuss with you ladies.

Two things come to mind. The first is GRACE. Yes, from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, we see God punish for sin throughout the Old Testament. But then Jesus comes and takes our punishment on the cross. Where we deserve judgment, we find MERCY. Natural consequences to sin abound, but he doesn't strike us, thanks be to God. He has compassion on us. He knows that we are dust. He teaches us kindly and patiently. I am so humbled by his patience with me.

The other thing on my mind is that I used to think that with the right kind of parenting, I could control the outcome, I could produce young adults walking with the Lord and filled with fruit of the Spirit. But the truth is that no parenting style or method has the power to affect change in our children's hearts. Only the Holy Spirit can do that. Gentle parenting does not a guarantee an outcome, and neither does consistent spanking and punishment. So what do we gain by parenting gently? Well, as a mom with grown kids one thing I gained is a strong and sweet relationship with each of them, even through some very hard times which are not over yet. By God's grace I laid a foundation that is serving me well in that way and I am grateful. I do have regrets, but NOT about not punishing them.

Please share your thoughts and beliefs and questions.
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Old 08-23-2022, 12:56 PM   #2
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

I tell people that part of practicing discipline is discipling. And we choose to focus on doing that with our children. We come alongside them and teach them and coach them and encourage them to build on their foundations.

We don't expect that they will become Christians, but we expect that we as parents will love Christ and that will be so attractive to our children, that they will want that relationship with Him too.

We have rules (no gum until you're five) and teach them principles (we keep things clean so that bugs don't come to live in our house and so things don't break), but we don't have formulas.
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Old 08-23-2022, 01:20 PM   #3
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

I think of gentle parenting as modeling what a real life looks life: grace, mercy, natural consequences, love, disappointment, handling that disappointment with kindness, etc.

I'm so thankful I have a five year old because I get to do it again with her.

Gentle parenting means acknowleding that parenting each child is different. What works for the heart of one may not work for the heart of the others.

And sleep. Honoring needs. In my first round, I underestimated how important it is to pay attention to the child's needs for sleep and downtown and home time *and* nursing and eating.

Gentle parenting means knowing each season is just that: a season. Pruning is an important part of parenting.

Gentle parenting extends to friends. It means not engaging my IRL friends with their choices unless they ask or the opportunity arises in natural conversation.
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Old 08-23-2022, 01:32 PM   #4
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

I think so much of gentle parenting is teaching. I'm not expecting them to respond appropriately when young, but I'm teaching them my expectations. I want their inner voice to be kind while also revealing truths about how to behave/interact with others. There are so many things that I've learned here at GCM, but one of the most important for me personally was to assign positive intent. It helps with parenting and all other aspects of life.
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Old 08-23-2022, 02:30 PM   #5
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

Does Gentle Parenting on social media today mean the same thing as it has meant on this board?

I donít hang out with many parents of babies and little ones these days, but my first thought is to make sure they mean the same thing that you do. I know there were a few really questionable or harmful things going around years ago that had nice sounding names, but that when I understood what they were I did not agree with them.
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Old 08-23-2022, 07:27 PM   #6
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

Good question, teamommy! I just assumed so. I remember that when Jeri started GCM, it was rare to find gentle parenting mingled with Christianity.
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Old 08-24-2022, 07:34 AM   #7
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

My daughter just had a baby and says she is having trouble finding gentle Christian parenting resources. Luckily she has me.

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Old 08-24-2022, 07:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

A lot of some of the current 'gentle parenting' is much more online to the 'taking children seriously ' if that is what people are seeing I can understand how they don't think it is right.


The young parents that I currently know take pride in not reading any parenting books ( now nor in the past nor any plan in the future) and just winging it.

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Old 08-24-2022, 09:03 AM   #9
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

I've told my daughter that a lot of gentle parenting is more about the parent's motivation than actually looking different. Like removing an out of control child to their room could look like a time out, but the motivation is never punishment, but safety and chance to calm themselves and keep others from harm. Even if it kind of looks the same, I think the child definitely feels the difference in the intention and feels supported and loved.

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Old 08-28-2022, 06:44 AM   #10
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

Quote:
Originally Posted by knitlove View Post
The young parents that I currently know take pride in not reading any parenting books ( now nor in the past nor any plan in the future) and just winging it.
I've noticed that too. My youngest has quite a few friends who are the oldest child in the family. The generational differences between me and millennial parents can feel uncomfortable sometimes. GCM has helped equip me to raise one child so far into adulthood, and I think he's an amazing person. Even though people who interact with him will go out of their way to tell me this, they don't generally seem interested in my parenting approach. My youngest has come to me horrified after seeing a peer spanked. He can't process why anyone would do that, it's entirely foreign to him.

I don't know how to offer support in a way that doesn't present myself as an expert, because I'm not that either. I had to re-parent myself before I could fully understand how to show my children grace. That was probably the biggest work that needed to be done before any of the tools made sense. I had to heal in the hopes I wouldn't hold my children back too much.
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Old 08-28-2022, 07:51 AM   #11
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

Taking pride in "winging it" is so utterly foreign to me that I cannot even begin to wrap my head around it.

I guess from my perspective taking pride in being educated (however one sees fit in doing so) seems so much more "prideful" although being prideful is not going to end well I suspect.
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Old 08-28-2022, 09:09 AM   #12
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

The ones I how who are winging it aren't even oldest where they could feel like they picked it up from there parents. They are youngest or only and generally all their friends are youngest or only as well. It is bizarre to me.

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Old 08-28-2022, 10:16 AM   #13
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

My dh doesnít read any parenting books even when Iíve suggested it or handed them to him. If I specifically ask him to read a short excerpt he will. How many of your dhís have read parenting books? My dh also has unrealistic age-related expectations about what kids should be able to do at certain ages and isnít willing to listen to ideas that that something isnít an age-appropriate expectation even if they are very scientific. He is not as gentle of a parent as I am.

While I do read parenting books, some parenting books are also truly awful and would make you a worse parent to follow their advice, so while Iím not a wing-it kind of person, I can understand people not wanting to read them especially because they contradict each other.

To me gentle parenting is about putting yourself in the childís shoes. For example almost all of my five-year-oldís behaviors that are difficult are anxiety. If I can see that she is yelling because she is feeling worried, I can respond with compassion and also realize that I need to do the kinds of things that calm worried people down (ie not isolating, shaming, yelling, or spanking- all of those things make anxiety worse, not that any of those things are good to do to anyone). I also remind my dh of this when he gets frustrated with her. People who arenít acting in pro-social ways have feelings that are causing that and addressing those feelings helps so much (while also teaching better ways to handle those emotions and teaching them that you canít hit, etc, even if you have those feelings). Kids can be helped not to use anti-social coping mechanisms if they have better coping mechanisms but it is a long process that in between sometimes looks like a child using the anti-social coping mechanism and then being helped to use a pro-social coping mechanism. So those are my random musings- hope they make sense.
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Old 08-28-2022, 05:44 PM   #14
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

My dh was not going to read parenting books. I read them and we talked about what I had learned and what we felt about it. But he didn’t have the attitude that he didn’t need to learn. He just wasn’t a reader.
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Old 08-28-2022, 10:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Parenting gently as Christians

It's a good question, what do people mean when they call Gentle Parenting ungodly. I will say there is a resurgence of neo-Calvinism (which is different in many ways from traditional Calvinism) and it's very strict and legalistic. Strict gender essentialism, strict parenting, strict views on many things. Matt Chander joked that when his kids were little family devotions often included the kids getting a beating (and his interviewer laughed).


I think the general public is moving away from hitting and emotionally hurting children but a segment (not sure how big) of American Christianity is digging in, hard.
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