"I've Been Gentle Parenting For A Decade Now": Here's What Real People Have To Say About The Gentle Parenting Trend

    "It's very trying some days, 100%, but I think it's more beneficial for both of us."

    When I was a kid in the '80s and '90s, getting yelled at and/or spanked was a pretty standard punishment in my house and in the homes of my friends. So even though I'm not a parent myself, I've been super fascinated by all the gentle parenting content I'm seeing online.

    A mom talking with her elementary school–age daughter

    But we all know that social media doesn't always show the full truth. So I asked members of the BuzzFeed Community to share what their real-life experiences with gentle parenting have been like, and their responses were so honest and inspiring. Here's what they had to say:

    1. "As I have applied gentle parenting to my younger kids, they behave more confidently and assertively than my older children I was authoritarian with. My older kids know how to quickly get a task done and read the room better, but they also struggle with addiction and self-worth."

    A woman sitting on the couch reading with her two little kids

    2. "I've been gentle parenting my son (I'm a child of an authoritarian father who spanked and yelled). I never have and never will ever use physical punishment on my child. I set boundaries and I let my son know that his choices and behaviors will result in A, B, or C consequences and it's his choice to make (unless safety is an issue), and I enforce those consequences."

    A dad teaching his son how to ride a bicycle

    3. "We have a 2½-year-old daughter and a 9-month-old son, and I've tried to gradually ease into more of the gentle parenting style. I'm also trying to get my boyfriend on the same page, and he's getting there. He was raised around toxic masculinity, so it's that mold I'm desperately trying to break. He's definitely more of a 'raise your voice and yell' type, and I'm trying to shift his mindset by the things I've picked up on."

    A little girl putting Legos away

    4. "I 'gentle parented,' which, yes, is just treating your child with the same respect that you would expect from and give anyone. Discussing bad behavior without shaming them, blah, blah, blah. He's 30 now and the spitting image of his abusive father, and in return doesn't speak to me. Yay, parenthood."

    A woman looking out the window

    5. "I find there are all these rules and different takes on social media about what gentle parenting is. People are different. You’re not going to get the same results from every child. I also know some very emotionally well-adjusted adults whose parents did not 'gentle parent' but were present and good people. That seemed to be enough."

    A young dad holding his baby

    6. "I have been using gentle parenting with my children for a decade now, and I believe it has really helped them to be kinder and more respectful. It was hard going when they were younger, as any style of parenting would be, but I feel we’re reaping the rewards now. It’s very frustrating that there are so many myths about it."

    A mom helping her daughter with homework

    7. "Not a parent, but a teenage sibling. I babysit my four siblings at least 12 hours a week, with the youngest being 2. This has been going on for about six months now, and while watching them, I try to use gentle parenting. I've seen the most improvement with my youngest sibling, especially in comparison with how the rest of my siblings behave."

    A teen girl reading with her little brother

    8. "My husband and I have three boys, ages 10, 8, 6. We have been doing our best to be gentle parents, and it is HELLA HARD, especially with rowdy boys. We try our best to explain things to them versus simply yelling and getting mad, we are honest with them, we lovingly correct them, we listen to them, we say we are sorry and apologize when we do mess up, and we love to spend time with and get to know them."

    Three boys playing in a wooded area

    9. "As much as I try gentle parenting, when things get really hectic or stressful, I find myself raising my voice, the way my mom did when I was young. I want to raise my child with a kinder, gentler method than what I was given."

    A rowdy 4-year-old with paint on their face

    10. And finally, "In my short-lived experience gentle parenting a 2½-year-old, I think it all comes down to what work you’ve done yourself. If you’ve worked through your own issues from childhood and have grown into an adult with a stable foundation and a lot of emotional intelligence, gentle parenting can be a great framework."

    A mom reading to her 2-year-old daughter

    Are you using gentle parenting techniques? Tell us about your experiences in the comments.

    Note: Some responses have been edited for length, clarity, and/or grammar.