Gentle parenting has become popular in recent years, especially on social media. Unlike authoritarian methods that focus on the child's behavior, gentle parenting emphasizes the parent's behavior and aims to create a secure and supportive environment for the child's growth. It promotes positive reinforcement instead of punishment and teaches values and behaviors through guidance.

However, some teachers are concerned about the potential effects of gentle parenting on children’s behavior in school. One issue is that students may think everything is negotiable. Some children get so used to being in charge and making decisions about everyday activities that when they come to school, they may struggle to adapt and have trouble following instructions.

Another challenge is that teachers can't give the same individual attention as parents can. It's hard to implement the personalized approach advocated by gentle parenting in a classroom with as many as 30+ students and limited time.

Furthermore, the expectations and frustrations at home versus school can be different. Children may expect the same level of attention from their teachers, but teachers don't always have time to explain the reasons behind every instruction.

Additionally, gentle parenting can sometimes make minor incidents seem very serious to children, making it hard for them to move on quickly. In connection to that, this kind of parenting can also foster fragility in kids and, at the same time, shield them from criticism because it prioritizes feelings over actions.

However, it's important to note that these behaviors and challenges may not be inherent to gentle parenting but rather stem from different interpretations of the parenting style. One difficulty in assessing gentle parenting is the lack of official guidelines. Parenting styles vary, and it's good to utilize different approaches.

Ultimately, parents should choose a parenting style that suits their family and adapt it based on feedback not only from the child but also from other parenting partners such as teachers, caregivers, and other invested individuals. Also, the majority of teachers agree that thriving students (in most cases) can:

  • follow directions
  • show kindness to others
  • respect boudaries
  • bounce back from setbacks
  • accept criticism or feedback

Picture: A School for Boys and Girls, by Jan Steen (Google Art Project - Wikimedia Commons)