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Parenting Style by Angela Legh, Author & Self-Development Mentor

It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, you most likely chose your parenting style by default. That is, you either parent the way your parents did, or you’ve chosen to parent the opposite of the way they did.  Our parents teach us how to be, or how not to be.  If you were brought up in the authoritarian style of parenting (high expectations with low responsiveness to your child’s needs) you may be drawn to a permissive parenting style (low expectations and high responsiveness to your child’s needs) when you have children. Each of these styles carries consequences for children brought up in them.  In the Indian culture, children are taught to value people and relations. This culture of family strength is a great starting point for raising emotionally healthy children. When these values are combined with gentle parenting, children can thrive.  Gentle parenting, also known as attachment parenting, is a parenting style that focuses on building a strong emotional connection between parent and child and emphasizes empathy, respect, and positive communication. One of the key principles of gentle parenting is that children are innately good and should be treated with respect and understanding. Gentle parents strive to see the world through their child's eyes and respond to their needs in a loving and supportive way. This involves patience and a willingness to listen and empathize with the child's perspective. Another important aspect of gentle parenting is the use of positive reinforcement. Rather than relying on punishment to change behavior, gentle parents use rewards and praise to encourage good behavior. While gentle parenting seeks to use positive parenting, this doesn’t mean they avoid boundaries and limitations.  Gentle parents set boundaries and limitations for their children, knowing that these rules will keep their children safe. These parents explain the rules and limitations and may even allow their children to select the consequences when rules aren’t followed.   By using natural consequences, parents can help children understand the effects of their actions and make better choices without punishment. This approach can also help children learn to take responsibility for their actions and develop problem-solving skills. These practices help build a solid emotional connection between parent and child and provide a sense of security and comfort for the child. Gentle parenting also involves being attuned to a child's needs and providing them with the support and guidance they need to grow and thrive. In the child’s early years, this might include breastfeeding, co-sleeping, and carrying your child in a sling or carrier.  Tips for incorporating gentle parenting techniques in your children’s later years include:
Comment on their actions, not them
  Though there are bad decisions, there is no such thing as a “bad” child. Make a distinction between the person and their behavior, and make corrections based on the behavior. Instead of saying, “You’re being bad,” say, “Your behavior is unacceptable.” Help your children understand they can choose a different perspective and behavior.
Guide your children through their emotions
Teach your children to allow their feelings and manage their thoughts and perspectives. A lot is written about managing feelings, however, feelings are energy and must flow. When we give ourselves permission to feel, we allow the energy to flow.  Feelings have been measured—the biochemical reaction of a feeling lasts about 90 seconds when the feeling is allowed to flow freely. However, when our mind dwells on the story of our circumstances, the feeling is prolonged. When we focus on the story of the circumstances, we cause painful feelings to extend. By using focused attention on the feeling, we disconnect our mind from the story, and the feeling flows naturally.  Teach the process of Feel, Name, and Allow. Teach your children to pay attention to their feeling, not the story of what happened. Have them notice the location and intensity of the feeling. Have them name the feeling. Then have them give themselves permission to feel that way. This process helps them let go of uncomfortable feelings without resisting them. Later, help your children find a perspective on the circumstances that shifts their feelings about it. Your circumstances can either be a springboard that lifts you up or a rock that drowns you. It is all in the perspective you hold. Helping your child to see from a different perspective may allow them to shift how they feel about the circumstances. 
Teach that mistakes are learning opportunities
Every time a mistake is made, information is gained to improve the next attempt. Teaching this concept to your children encourages them to keep trying. Conversely, teaching that mistakes are failures teaches your children to give up. Give your children the opportunity to learn from their mistakes and you provide them the opportunity to be resilient and bounce back from adversity. Gentle parenting, at its core, is based on the values of empathy, understanding, and respect. These values fit well within the Indian culture, where relationships are paramount. With this foundation, gentle parents learn the importance of accepting their children for who they are while teaching their children boundaries. In addition to the benefits for the child, gentle parenting can also be beneficial for parents. By building a strong emotional connection with your child, you gain a deeper understanding of your child's needs and feelings. This is a path to a more positive and fulfilling parenting experience. Overall, gentle parenting is focused on building a solid emotional connection between you and your child. By emphasizing empathy, respect, and positive communication, gentle parents can help their children to develop into confident and independent adults.
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