Who knew how complicated parenting could be! Our babies don’t come with their own manuals but there are thousands of parenting books on the shelves, ready to teach us how to train our babies to sleep (alone) all night, to self-settle/ soothe without our help, to behave an acceptable way without fully expressing themselves. Society makes us feel we should know how to control these little humans, our very own offspring, by persistently repeating routines and strict schedules, regardless of the babies reaction. We couldn’t possibly trust our own instincts and be led by our babies cries, which is in fact their way of communicating.
Gentle parenting (commonly known as Attachment Parenting, responsive, natural, instinctive, conscious or peaceful parenting) is about trusting yourself and your baby (toddler, child or teenager), being empathetic and seeing things from your babies perspective. You may have seen GirlieGirl Army’s fearless leader Chloé Jo Davis discussing this very topic with Katie Couric.
Here’s the bare bones of GP/ AP:
Gentle Parenting 101
Would you like to be left alone, crying after being warm and cozy in your mothers womb for nine months? Even as adults, we don’t like to be ignored or left alone to deal with our emotions.
Nature would tell us that babies need closeness, to hear and feel our mothers heartbeat for comfort. This is why co sleeping, breastfeeding and babywearing are commonly practiced, allowing the baby a ‘fourth trimester’. This way of parenting has been criticized by mainstream society, claiming it will ‘spoil’ them and they’ll never grow out of it. Why do we question practices that the animal kingdom do without hesitation? Have we become so modern in our world that we forget what comes naturally, is actually what nature intended?
By practicing gentle, natural, positive methods of parenting we allow our babies to be comforted and nurtured, safely and securely, so they grow into healthy, secure, confident and independent individuals.
Let’s celebrate the beauty of allowing our children to develop and grow in their own way, without forcing unrealistic and unnatural expectations on them. This year the very first ‘International Gentle Parenting Week’ has been created to bring attention to this alternative (and yet as old as time itself!) parenting style.
Follow @gentle_parenting on Instagram to be involved with a world-wide community of like-minded parents. They’ll be conducting a ‘photo-a-day’ challenge through the week of 13-20 march 2014. Share your attached parenting/ gentle parenting photos with the following hashtags on instagram to join in this lovefest – #GPweek2014 #NormalizeGentleParenting
Kirsty Soo lives in Melbourne, Australia. She’s a SAHM to a 2 year old boy, 6 days a week and a hairstylist one day. FB: Kirsty Soo IG: @Gentle_Parenting Twitter: @KirstySoo This is her first piece for GirlieGirl Army.