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5 Gentle Parenting Resouces to Use Instead of Spanking

As a parent, it's challenging and confusing to know just how to discipline your children without causing them pain. Unfortunately, spanking is something many parents use to enforce boundaries. However, in actuality, spanking and physical reprimands are ineffective and can do more harm than good in the long run. This post will explore my top 5 techniques and links to resources to dive deeper into each one for parents who want to avoid spanking as a method of discipline.

First I want to cover what Dr.Jane Nelson (of Positive Discipline, which we will dive into below) defines as the 5 criteria for effective discipline:

"1) Helps children feel a sense of connection. (Belonging and significance)
2) Is mutually respectful and encouraging. (Kind and firm at the same time.)
3) Is effective long-term. (Considers what the child is thinking, feeling, learning, and deciding about himself and his world – and what to do in the future to survive or to thrive.)
4) Teaches important social and life skills. (Respect, concern for others, problem-solving, and cooperation as well as the skills to contribute to the home, school or larger community.)
5) Invites children to discover how capable they are. (Encourages the constructive use of personal power and autonomy.)"

Positive Discipline

Positive Discipline is a comprehensive approach that teaches children life skills through the use of words, actions, and feelings. Its core principles are based on respect, consistency, fairness, and empathy.

Positive Discipline was developed by Dr Jane Nelson and is based on the work of Alfred Adler and Rudolf Dreikurs. The theory behind Positive Discipline is that people learn how to behave by observing the behavior of others. If adults model respectful relationships with each other, children will also learn how to treat others respectfully.

The Positive Discipline approach is based on the belief that all people are born loving and lovable. Children are not inherently bad or naughty; they act out when they lack the skills needed for getting along with others. The goal of Positive Discipline is to help your child develop those skills so he or she can function successfully in school, at home, and in relationships with friends.

The main beliefs behind this approach are as follows:

All people are born loving and lovable. Children are not inherently bad or naughty; they act out when they lack the skills needed for getting along with others. The goal of Positive Discipline is to help your child develop those skills so he or she can function successfully in school, at home, and in relationships with friends.

Mutual respect between adults and children. Adults model firmness by respecting themselves and the needs of the situation, and kindness by respecting the needs of the child.

1-2-3 Magic

1-2-3 Magic is a model developed and published by Dr. Tom Phelan. Tom Phelan, PhDA registered clinical psychologist.

1-2-3 Magic allows you to get back in charge of your home and enjoy your kids again by helping you set limits for your children, and by breaking down the complex task of parenting into three straightforward steps: Controlling Obnoxious Behavior, Encouraging Good Behavior, and Strengthening Your Relationships.

I was introduced to the concept by a nanny family, and while we don't strictly use it, it's a very useful tool in our parenting toolbox around here.

Love and Logic

Love and Logic is a research-based philosophy founded in 1977 by Jim Fay and Foster W. Cline, M.D. The Love and Logic Institute was established in 1989 to provide professional development workshops and training materials for parents, teachers, and other professionals who work with children.

Love and Logic is a philosophy based on the idea that children learn best when they are given choices, consequences, empathy, and guidance. This research-based philosophy empowers parents to teach their children how to make good decisions while still respecting their individuality.

Here's a glimpse of how it works:

Children learn the best lessons when they're given a task (like cleaning up their toys) and allowed to make their own choices (and fail) when the cost of failure is still small. Children's failures must be coupled with love and empathy from their parents and teachers.

I took a Love and Logic training with CincyNanny a few years ago and was super impressed with it overall. But again, I take an eclectic approach, pulling from all of these parenting strategies.

Mindful Parenting

Gentle parenting can be difficult because it is a departure from the way most of us were raised. Parents often feel that they need to be tough in order to get kids to listen, and it isn't always obvious where to find alternatives to spanking or yelling. To help with this transition, you may want to try using creative tools that promote mindfulness and emotional intelligence, such as calm-down corners and time-ins instead of time-outs. I've got two amazing resources to help you get started on your mindful parenting journey.

Gen: Mindful

One great website for gentle parenting is GenMindful, which has tons of practical tips and strategies for parents of all ages. In addition to their amazing products like their calm down corner kit and snuggle buddies, as well as courses to support mindful parenting, they have a blog and many free resources for parents to explore.

If you're interested in exploring mindful parenting further, I highly recommend checking out GenMindful!

It's also important to take care of yourself as you start exploring gentler methods of parenting—it can take a while before it really clicks into place, and it can be stressful! If you're feeling overwhelmed, I highly recommend checking our next resource.

The Mindful Caregiver Collective

The Mindful Care Collective is a mindfulness training program designed to help caregivers of children and families thrive in their careers while leaving a legacy behind of healing, connection, and resilience.

Alexarae Vallejo Owner and founder, former nanny with a passion and gift for reaching people where they are and empowering them with tools for healing and growth. The Mindful Care Collective Stress reduction training has proven to increase caregivers' focus and prolonged attention span. Reduce caregivers' daily stress and anxiety. Create stronger mental resilience in caregivers of children. Improved emotional regulation of caregivers, children, and household communities.

Compassionate Childcare

If you're looking for a way to discipline your children that don't involve spanking, frustration, or anger, check out my final resource, Compassionate Childcare. This organization aims to help you as a parent find gentle parenting techniques and tools that can help you raise loving and compassionate children without using force.

You'll find classes, podcasts (You can hear our interview with Martha of Chronicles of Nannya here!), coaching, and blogs to help along your journey. Cady Andersson and Martha Tyler, the co-founders of Compassionate Childcare, believes in supporting the entire family system is the best way to drastically improve the life of a child. The goal of this organization is to uplift parents, caregivers, educators, and nannies during the challenging journey of caring for children.

With a little bit of reflection, thought, and practice, it is possible to become a more gentle, mindful, and compassionate parent. All of us are imperfect, and we all make mistakes—but the difference comes from how we react to those mistakes. We can be harsh, angry, and unforgiving. Or we can use those mistakes as learning opportunities that help us grow along the path to becoming better parents. And if you are having a difficult time figuring out how to make positive changes in your parenting techniques, remember, you are not alone. We ALL struggle, but by surrounding yourself with like-minded parents you can build a community and resources available to help support you through this process.

I hope these tools help to make your journey to being a more gentle, mindful, and compassionate parent. Parenting is an incredible adventure and it's filled with some of the most rewarding moments of our lives. We are lucky to have the opportunity to raise the next generation but we must do it with love, compassion, and kindness. Thank you for reading!

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