Gentle parenting expert offers her tips for raising confident kids – News Couple

Gentle parenting expert offers her tips for raising confident kids

Having a relationship with your child based on empathy and mutual respect, also known as “gentle parenting,” can make him more confident, according to one of the popular childcare authors.

Sarah O’Quwell Smith, who wrote “The Gentle Parenting Book,” told CNBC by phone that “nice” parents have a good understanding of their children’s abilities, so expectations about their behavior are “age appropriate.”

In other words, she said, “nice” parents do not expect their child to act like adults but empathize with their behaviour. For example, if they misbehave, she said that a “nice” parent would seek to teach their children a better way to express their feelings, rather than punishing them.

O’Quil-Smith explained that if children were raised in a home that was less shouting and punishing, it would have a “tremendous impact on their self-esteem.”

She also said that calmer and more empathetic parenting also had a positive neurological impact, in terms of the development of a child’s amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for emotional regulation. O’Quil-Smith said research has shown that if children grow up in a more “supportive and nurturing” environment, this part of their brain grows larger.

“They have literally grown the part in their brain that is responsible for their emotions and calmness as they get older,” O’Quell-Smith said.

For example, a study by a researcher at the University of Montreal, published in March, suggested that “harsh parenting practices” can stunt a child’s brain development. A 2012 study of preschool children conducted by academics from the University of Washington noted the “positive effect of early supportive education on healthy development of the hippocampus,” which is a key brain region for memory, learning, and stress modulation.

The “engineers” of a child’s life

O’Quil-Smith said research has shown that how children are raised, particularly in the first five years of their lives, has been key to developing their self-esteem and future relationships with those around them.

A 2016 research paper from the Harvard Child Development Center cited research that found more than one million new synapses, or connections between neurons in the brain, forming every second in the first few years of a child’s life. Later, these connections are reduced, a process called pruning, preserving those connections that are “reinforced” by what they experience and learn. Therefore, the paper’s authors argued that positive experiences in those first few years are key to creating a strong foundation for a child’s development.

In fact, O’Quwell Smith said that parents acted as the “architects” of a child’s life, so there was “nothing more important” than how they were raised in those early years.

She explained that there are three main styles of parenting: authoritarian, authoritarian (also known as “gentle parenting”), and tolerant.

In contrast to “gentle parenting,” she said, an authoritarian approach could be categorized as “old school” parenting. She said that parents who take this approach usually demand respect from their children, while also using punishment for misbehavior.

On the other end of the spectrum, “tolerant” parents can be categorized as those who have low expectations for their children, providing a lack of discipline and direction, according to an explanation on the Ockwell-Smith website.

“good vacuum”

However, O’Quwell-Smith said it’s critical for parents to work out any of their issues first, before seeking to follow advice on “nice parenting.”

“We have to start on ourselves – so we have to think ‘What stressors do I have?'” she said. Why do I act the way I do? Why does it excite me so much when my child says or does something? And how can I do that? be a good role model? ”

I explained that this is important because a parent can do or say all the right things but if they are not calm and short-tempered, the child will still recognize this – “It’s not magic, it won’t work unless you’re in a good vacuum first”.

This could mean working out their own problems from childhood, or problems in adulthood, such as the need to set boundaries with other adults.

This could entail, for example, ensuring that the “mental burden” of parenting is shared more evenly with the partner, O’Quell Smith said.

However, she stressed, it’s also important for parents to cross when they are “at capacity” and need a time-out.

She said that following this advice isn’t about “striving to be perfect all the time” and realizing that it’s okay to make mistakes as a parent, as this also helps teach kids what to do when they make mistakes.

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