When Gentle Parenting Turns Into Passive Aggressiveness
Oh, gentle parenting… Without caution, we could mistakenly fail the movement.
Of course, we all want what’s right for our children. Furthermore, we desire to allow them to flourish. But what happens when we become a little too wrapped up in being gentle and turn it into passive aggressiveness?
The problem with passive aggressiveness is that it dances around problems. If something needs to be done, it asks in an indirect way; hoping the receiver will act accordingly. It’s because of that avoidance of conflict that we also avoid true communication and understanding. No form of parenting is ever conflict-free. Somewhere along the lines of pleasing society, we have forgotten this.
We are the parents of these children. We still need to lead them the way they should go.
Here’s an example of passive aggressiveness
Toddler wants to jump on the couch. The parent does not want the child to jump on the couch. So, the parent states, “It’s not a good idea to jump on the couch.” Toddler continues jumping and the parent does nothing. The parent does not want to start an argument with the toddler, thus lets it go.
Here’s an example of gentle parenting
Toddler wants to jump on the couch. The parent does not want the child to jump on the couch. First, the parent tries a tantrum distraction trick. The toddler continues jumping. Then, the parent goes face to face with the child and calmly states, “Jumping on the couch is against house rules. Please go do something else.” If the toddler continues to jump on the couch, the parent reinforces a consequence.
Why is there confusion?
Many have trouble being gentle while administering a consequence. So, as a result, gentle parenting has morphed into something else. Let’s face it, things can be tough; especially when the kids don’t listen. No parent likes to punish their child. Additionally, no parent gets it right 100% of the time. When delivering a consequence, it takes an extreme amount of patience to avoid yelling. We try not to do things that aren’t considered “gentle”. Therefore, being labeled as a gentle parent has so many trapped in the fear of screwing up.
God did not call us to be perfect.
He instead called us to rely on Him. To use His Word for guidance. And to confess when we need help. It is not wrong to discipline your child. We are to be as shepherds, using our rods to lead and protect.
He who spares his rod hates his son,
But he who loves him disciplines him promptly. – Proverbs 13:24
Ways to administer gentle parenting:
- Use love first when acting or speaking.
- Talk calmly and encourage communication.
- Be direct and provide clear instruction.
- Try to understand your child’s perspective.
- Lead by example.
Let’s break it down into sections. Here are some brief descriptions of the gentle parenting method.
Please note, the intent of this post is to encourage and advocate a holistic approach to parenting. It is not meant to serve as a form of judgment in any shape or fashion.
Use love first when acting or speaking
Using love first when acting or speaking includes being patient and kind. Keeping these ideas in the forefront of our hearts, we consider how we move our bodies and the vocabulary that comes next. Using love first in parenting also means to avoid being easily angered. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8.)
Talk calmly and encourage communication
Receiving discipline is intimidating. So, when administering instruction and/or punishment to your child, it is best to talk in a calm, yet firm, tone. If the situation allows, encourage communication. Respectful and assertive responses from your child confirm that they receive your information. (Read Proverbs 15:1.)
Be direct and provide clear instruction
Do not hint around the issue in order to avoid conflict. Provide the direct steps necessary in order to honor the household rules. (Read 2 Timothy 2:16.)
Try to understand your child’s perspective
Sometimes, behavioral issues are due to misunderstandings. As part of the gentle parenting method, try to understand your child’s thought process for acting a certain way. (Read Ephesians 6:1-4.)
Lead by example
This is a crucial part of setting the tone for your child’s behavior. Be a leader of the household and show firsthand how they should act. (Read Titus 1:7.)
Practice and repeat every day
This will be a daily exercise of patience, kindness, and self-control. And, aren’t those all very good fruits of the spirit? I’d like to hear about your experiences with the term gentle parenting. Please leave me a comment below.
Until next time, when your hands are full, live your life to the fullest.