The gentle parenting style is gaining traction thanks to TikTok, but it may not be as great as its cracked up to be for every parent.
There are plenty of methods families can turn to when looking for guidance on tried and true parenting techniques. Typically, these styles range from authoritarian, authoritative, permissive, and neglectful – with a side of everything in between. One method that has been growing in popularity over the last few years is called gentle parenting, but it may not be as great as it is cracked up to be for every parent.
Gentle parenting is a philosophy that is structured around tranquil, empathetic responses. This style prides itself on being done without any type of punishment administered to the child. Thanks to TikTok and other social media outlets of which parents have attracted followers, this compassionate style of guidance has rapidly grown in popularity among new families, but experts are warning that it might not be the right method for everyone.
If gentle parenting was to be categorized, it would likely fall into the permissive category of parenting styles. This method involves both the parent and children having a say in how life is structured. At the root, however, this positive style prides itself on involving zero punishment whatsoever. In perfect practice, parents guide children towards ideal behavior through connection and thorough communication to convey and reinforce positive behavior.
While this peaceful technique has likely been used without a name for quite some time, it is significantly the opposite of typical disciplinary styles that have been of common use for families over the 20th century in America. However, modern-day parents often turn to the internet to scour through information and guides on becoming parents. This led to the newfound trend in gentle parenting.
Over the past year or so, TikTok has grown in use with older age groups, especially within the parenting community. With this, gentle parenting became a popular tag on the social media app. Popular TikTok parents such as Marcella Collier, Gwenna Laithland, and Laura Love are great examples of moms that have helped drive the esteem of this modern method. Combined, these three accounts now have more than 10 million followers.
By taking a quick peak at these mother’s TikTok accounts, it’s easy to see why this method appears so intriguing and desirable. After all, what parent actually enjoys yelling and punishing their children? Plus, these moms are living breathing proof that gentle parenting can work, and also can reward families in a plethora of ways.
As enticing as this method appears, many child experts warn that gentle parenting might not be the best parenting technique for all families. To start, the process to get to the success rate that famous TikTok moms boast of can be a long, strenuous struggle. Parents and children not accustomed to this style can go through an uphill battle struggling to tweak the process correctly – especially for parents who were raised with stricter styles.
Likewise, in all reality, stress and everyday tribulations mean that parents can’t always keep it together, meaning that never “losing it” on a child can be near impossible for many. Dr. Krysten Sommer points this out on TikTok as well, showing the possible negative aspects of this trendy gentle parenting style. She notes that parents don’t need to “respond correctly” all the time to children, asserting that parents typically only tend to “get it right” half of the time, which is perfectly fine in hindsight.
Overall, it’s important for parents to remember that there is no black and white, clear answer to one of the biggest questions on many parents’ minds concerning which parenting style is best. Every child is different, and various techniques that work great for one child might be ineffective for another. Gentle parenting can be a great technique for families, and it allegedly works exceptionally for many families on TikTok. But at the end of the day, it is important to understand that each and every style has its flaws.