Are You a Gentle Parent or are you Trying to be a Gentle Parent?

I’ve had a few people worry recently that while they TRY to be gentle parents they don’t feel like they are actually gentle parents because they make mistakes and don’t always know what to do. Because they came from homes where they were spanked and yelled at, and while they are trying to change sometimes they yell or want to hit.

Is it possible to be a perfect anything?

A few of my friends are devout Christians. They are very forthcoming about what their faith means- it means that they believe and they strive to live by their faith. They are also very forthcoming about the fact that being Christian does not mean living without sin.

For those among us who are Christians that comparison might help understand what it means to be a “gentle parent” while still not being perfect. We are human. We react to things. We’re not perfect. But we believe strongly in gentle parenting and we strive to be good parents. The process is humbling.

They are Christians even though they are not perfect.

A few of my friends are runners. Some of them are pretty fast and run ten minute miles or faster. Some are running fifteen or twenty minute miles. Some are running 5K’s and some are training for marathons. Being a runner doesn’t mean being perfect and winning every race.

For those among us who are runners that comparison might help understand what it means to be a “gentle parent” and to have that goal and work towards it consistently and persistently but to still be human with human failings.

They are runners even though they are not perfect.

I’m a computer programmer. When I first write a program it’s “version 1” and it has very few features (tools) and a lot of bugs and things that break or don’t work well. I keep working at it. I can’t automagically create the perfect computer program that works wonderfully. I have to slowly build the features (tools) and slowly work on getting rid of the bugs.

For those among us who are computer programmers that comparison might help understand what it means to be a “gentle parent” and to have a goal and work towards it consistently and persistently but to still be human with human failings.

Whatever you are or have been you have experienced what it is to “be” something while still being human.

Parenting is deeply emotional and exhausting and challenging and it’s 24/7. It’s unrealistic to expect to you to be anything less than human or more than human.

The best you can be expected to do is to recognize the times you fall short of your goals or end up parenting in a way that doesn’t mesh with your philosophies and the desires of your heart. To be brutally candid with yourself about your shortcomings and to work on them with all the love you have in your heart so that you can do your best.

You can try and model things like apologies and making changes and how to try harder while being imperfect. Your child is going to be imperfect as well. They will learn from you and how you handle things.

You’re human. And that’s an awesome thing as well as a flawed one.

Pressure makes people crack. So if you’re trying to “be perfect” you’re just going to crack more. Embrace your humanity. Embrace your child’s humanity. Be wonderfully imperfect together and try hard together. Work to make positive changes and to be more of what you want to be.

Some people are always going to be ‘better’ at it than you are. Better runners, better programmers, better at being “gentle” or better at being fun. Some people are always going to be ‘worse’ at it than you are.

It’s not a competition. The only one you’re working on is you. The only one you’re in competition with is who you were yesterday and the week before. Don’t get caught up in the bickering over who is doing ‘it’ better.

Find new ways to approach the situations that cause you to react in ways that you are not proud of, and you’ll be closer to your goals.

2 thoughts on “Are You a Gentle Parent or are you Trying to be a Gentle Parent?

  1. Thanks, Sarah. The runner analogy really resonates with me. I’m critical of myself there too as (even though I’ve run a couple marathons) I feel “unqualified” to consider myself a runner as I know so many are faster/better than me. I can only work on myself and my parenting… And that’s perfectly fine by me :).

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