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Gentle Parenting is Not Anti-Spanking

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder, babywearing son Jack.

Gentle parenting is PRO-gentle discipline.

Gentle parenting is not about what we don’t do. It’s about what we DO.

I recently overheard someone telling another person about gentle parenting. She said “we don’t spank, we don’t do leave our babies to cry.” I hear too much about what we don’t do as gentle parents. To me this misses the point entirely.

Gentle Parenting/attachment parenting/natural parenting/instinctual parenting—whatever you want to call it or however you relate to it—has gotten a very bad rap. We are seen as parents with a bunch of rules about what not to do. Anti-spanking, anti-Cry It Out, etc. This is actually not the case at all.

I am against all these things, very much, but it is not the foundation of my parenting philosophy. I do not parent my son based on a bunch of things I don’t want to do.

Gentle parenting promotes focusing on the relationship, the attachment, the bond starting from birth and continuing throughout a child’s life. It encourages building a genuine and respectful connection with our children. It encourages parents to connect to their instincts and respond to their babies. When a parent follows his/her instincts, spanking, Cry It Out and other detached parenting practices become obsolete. We don’t need them.

Gentle parenting is not reactionary. It is how parenting was intended to function since the beginning of time. Gentle parenting was not created in response to detached parenting and therefore does not base itself in the difference.

Detached parenting is new. It is the fad, the trend, the reaction.

It’s run its course. We know now it doesn’t work to build emotionally healthy and stable adults. It’s time for it to end and for us connect to our instincts.

Abby Theuring, MSW