Non-reactive vs. Gentle Parenting

I gotta admit: non-reactive parenting can look a lot like gentle parenting. To the untrained eye, anyway. But there are a few key differences, which I’d like to go into.

Child vs. Parent Centered

I gotta be honest, I’m not really interested in the child’s behavior. Childs are gonna child, know what I mean? We can’t reason with them and their little undeveloped brains. That’s why I deal with adult behavior.

I try to be supportive when someone complains about children’s behavior. But, uh, only to a point. I steer the conversation to the adult reaction. Cuz that’s what I can coach.

We simply cannot control our children’s behavior. We CAN ONLY CONTROL OUR REACTION. That’s just the hard, thorny truth.

Another tenet of non-reactive parenting is adult habit change. I’m not teaching non-reaction because children are so pwecious that they can’t handle raised voices.

I’m teaching non-reaction to parents. So they will undergo habit change that will create a positive ripple effect that spills over to all areas of their life.

Over-explanation vs. Succinct Explanation

I believe over-explanation is one of the biggest scourges of modern parenting (right up there with giving young children their own screens).

Why wax poetic to the ten and under crowd? It’s like arguing with a bowl of porridge. Again, children have undeveloped brains. They’re not following your reasoning.

I’ll tell you why so many do it, though. It’s to make parents feel better about applying consequences to negative behavior, to “convince” a child into compliance, and to secure their “acceptance” of consequences.

Stop doing that. Attempting to convince a child to accept consequences opens the gates to the idea that compliance can be negotiated. It can’t.

Children will either accept the directive/consequence or not. If they do, great. If they don’t, apply the consequences. End of story.

Now, I’m not telling anyone to be a dictator. That’s why non-reactive parenting uses succint explanation. We’re talking one sentence explanations about behavior and consequences. And, for the love of God, no “Okay?” at the end of said explanation.

Defensive vs. Offensive

Gentle parenting is defensive, dealing with children’s negative behavior as it arises.

Non-reactive parenting aims to be offensive. During an ideal day, non-reactive parents attempt to head off negative behavior before it arises by proactively filling children’s cups.

That involves meal planning, physical activity, and sleep hygiene. Of course, stuff happens, that’s why I say ideally.

But, to the best of our ability, we plan snacks and meals that keep blood sugar stable. We provide physical and sensory outlets that let off steam. We treat nap and sleep routines like sacrosanct times.

Looking at these differences, what parenting style do you use more? And, uh… how else can I convince you non-reactive parenting is best?? ?

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Megan writes everything on Ish Mom. She possesses a bachelor's degree in psychology, a flair for theatrics, and a whole lotta nerve. She lives in the Midwest (and loves it) with her wonderful husband and three young boys.

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