Conscious Parenting vs. Gentle Parenting: Why The Debate?

Conscious Parenting vs. Gentle Parenting

This debate isn’t often spoken about, but I think it’s important to recognize where the distinctions between these two parenting styles lie.

Firstly, let’s all admit that parenting is one of the most important and challenging jobs in the world. Every parent wants to raise happy, healthy, and well-adjusted children. But far too many of us are winging it when we don’t have to. I’ve often heard people say things like, “there is no manual on how to parent.”

But there are. Certainly, there is no manual written with your unique child in mind, but there are resources available that help us to parent with intention.

family photo of black couple and two sons discussing gentle parenting vs. conscious parenting

Resources aside, how do we go about parenting with intention? In recent years, two parenting philosophies have gained a lot of popularity – Gentle Parenting and Conscious Parenting. While they share some similarities, there are also some differences between the two. In this blog post, we will explore the difference between Conscious Parenting vs. Gentle Parenting.

What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle Parenting is a parenting philosophy that emphasizes treating children with respect, empathy, and kindness. It is based on the belief that children are individuals with their own unique personalities, needs, and desires, and that they should be treated accordingly. Gentle parents strive to create a warm and loving environment for their children, and they use positive discipline techniques that focus on teaching, rather than punishment.Gentle Parenting emphasizes the following principles:

  1. Respect: Gentle parents treat their children with respect and acknowledge their feelings and needs.
  2. Empathy: They try to understand their children’s perspectives and feelings and respond with empathy.
  3. Positive Discipline: Gentle parents use positive discipline techniques that focus on teaching, rather than punishment.
  4. Nurturing: They create a warm and loving environment for their children and provide them with the emotional support they need to thrive.
  5. Communication: Gentle parents prioritize communication and strive to create open and honest relationships with their children.

What is Conscious Parenting?

Conscious Parenting (read more HERE) is a parenting philosophy that emphasizes self-awareness and mindfulness. It is based on the belief that children are mirrors of their parents’ inner state, and that parents need to work on themselves in order to create a healthy and harmonious relationship with their children. Conscious parents strive to be present and attentive to their children’s needs, and they use non-violent communication techniques to foster understanding and connection.

Conscious Parenting emphasizes the following principles:

  1. Mindfulness: Conscious parents strive to be present and attentive to their children’s needs and emotions.
  2. Self-awareness: They work on themselves to become more self-aware and conscious of their own emotions and triggers.
  3. Non-Violent Communication: Conscious parents use non-violent communication techniques to foster understanding and connection.
  4. Connection: They prioritize connection with their children and strive to create a deep and meaningful relationship with them.
  5. Empathy: Conscious parents try to understand their children’s perspectives and feelings and respond with empathy.
family picture of black couple and two sons discussing gentle parenting vs. conscious parenting

Conscious Parenting vs. Gentle Parenting: What are the Similarities?

  • No spanking
  • No Time-Outs
  • No threatening
  • No shaming
  • No Yelling
  • No Punishment
  • Falls under the umbrella of Authoritative Parenting

Conscious Parenting vs. Gentle Parenting: What are the Differences?

While Gentle Parenting and Conscious Parenting share a lot of similarities, there are also some slight differences between the two. The main difference between the two parenting philosophies is their focus. Gentle Parenting focuses on treating children with respect, empathy, and kindness, while Conscious Parenting focuses on self-awareness and mindfulness.

Gentle Parenting emphasizes positive discipline techniques that focus on teaching, rather than punishment. Conscious Parenting, on the other hand, emphasizes non-violent communication techniques to foster understanding and connection.

Gentle Parenting is all about creating a warm and loving environment for children and providing them with emotional support. Conscious Parenting, on the other hand, is about creating a deep and meaningful relationship with children by prioritizing connection and empathy.

Both parenting styles emphasize positive discipline techniques that focus on teaching, rather than punishment.

pinterest image of a confused woman wanting to know the difference between gentle parenting vs. conscious parenting

You cannot be a Gentle Parent if you are not a Conscious Parent

In order to do the things asked of Gentle Parents, that parent must work on themselves and their own emotional regulation.

Self-awareness is key to being able to parent with intention. If the intention of the parent is to create a safe and nurturing environment for the child, the parent must first know what that even means. And most parents do not come from homes where their parents practiced Gentle Parenting.

That being said, there is a lot of inner child work, re-parenting, and education that must happen in order for Gentle Parenting to “click”. In a sense, you have to root out the “unconscious” parts of yourself so you can be fully present and gentle with your child.

In practice, there really isn’t a difference between Gentle Parenting vs. Conscious Parenting. If you were to observe Gentle and Conscious Parents side by side, you would not be able to distinguish between the two. The difference is really in how we think about it.

By simply using the word “Conscious” to describe the parenting style, you’re almost forced to stop and think. It forces you to recognize the cerebral elements of this parenting style. It’s not about what we do at the moment, it’s about having the self-awareness to know how our responses to their behavior will affect the child.

When one thinks of Gentle Parenting, however, they tend to rush towards simply amending their behavior in ways that they think will create an obedient child. The focus is more on the action, rather than the thinking.

So in order to be a Gentle Parent, you must do the work of a Conscious Parent. Trying to be Gentle before becoming Conscious is putting the cart ahead of the horse, so to speak.

 

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One Comment

  1. Hi Lisa,
    The debate between conscious parenting and gentle parenting is crucial in understanding the diverse approaches to raising children. While both share a focus on empathy and respect, their subtle differences impact how parents navigate discipline and boundaries. Exploring this discourse enriches our understanding and encourages a more informed and compassionate approach to parenting.

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