Demystifying Gentle Parenting

Demystifying Gentle Parenting | S3 Ep73

In this engaging podcast episode “Demystifying Gentle Parenting”, hosts Meg and Bailey delve into the world of gentle parenting, exploring its core principles and dispelling common myths. They tackle the delicate balance between discipline and connection, highlighting the significance of setting boundaries and addressing challenging behaviors with empathy.

The conversation begins by introducing gentle parenting as a philosophy rooted in empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. Meg and Bailey stress the importance of effective communication and building secure parent-child relationships while clarifying that gentle parenting doesn’t equate to permissiveness.

The hosts then address the misconception that gentle parenting is permissive parenting. They emphasize the distinctions between these approaches and caution against the pitfalls of permissiveness, underlining the negative impacts it can have on both the child’s development and the parent-child relationship.

The podcast continues with insights into establishing discipline within the gentle parenting framework. The hosts discuss strategies like validating a child’s emotions, setting firm boundaries, and offering choices to uphold mutual respect while addressing challenging behaviors. They acknowledge that consequences may be necessary at times, aligning with authoritative parenting principles.

As the conversation evolves, Meg and Bailey share personal experiences and insights about responding to difficult behaviors gently. They stress the importance of assessing each situation individually, understanding the child’s perspective, and acknowledging parental imperfections. They highlight that being open about both successes and failures as parents fosters stronger relationships with children.


In the conclusion, the hosts reflect on the podcast’s themes, emphasizing the need for empathy, kindness, and firm boundaries in gentle parenting. They underscore that parenting is a journey of continuous learning and growth, encouraging listeners to navigate the complexities of raising children with patience and understanding.

Throughout the episode “Demystifying Gentle Parenting”, Meg and Bailey offer practical advice and valuable insights, inspiring parents to embrace the principles of gentle parenting while maintaining essential boundaries and building strong connections with their children.

For more comprehensive support and resources tailored to your parenting journey, don’t forget to explore the Parent Sense app. This app provides a wealth of expert guidance, personalized recommendations, and even access to the course on positive boundaries, all designed to empower you with the knowledge and tools needed to provide the best care for your child.

Guests on this show

Bailey Georgiades

Bailey Georgiades

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Demystifying Gentle Parenting


Bailey: Welcome to Sense by Meg Faure, the podcast that really helps you as parents make sense of the early years of parenting. I’m your host today, Bailey Georgiades and today we have a very special guest on her own podcast. [00:01:00] None other than the well-known parenting expert, Meg Faure. Meg is a renowned occupational therapist.

Bailey: She’s a bestselling author, founder of the Sense series books, which have just been absolutely game changing for all of us, and she provides that practical guidance on baby and child development. Meg, it is so good to be back on the show with you. How are you?

Meg: I’m very well, thanks, Bailey. I always love it when you’re on the show with me so we can really get to the nitty gritties of all the questions that moms usually ask.

Bailey: This is my favorite time. I actually just love recording these with you, and today I am selfishly here. Because I need all the advice that you can give me on gentle parenting. I know that it has gained a lot of attention in recent years, and as parents, we are seeking more compassion, more respectful approaches to raising our children.

Bailey: However, there are also misconceptions and misunderstandings about what gentle parenting truly means. So I am going to be picking your brain today. I’m gonna be squeezing you like a. [00:02:00] Sponge to get all your information because we need to discuss some of the common myths and the misconceptions about gentle parenting, and also really exploring effective strategies for incorporating gentle discipline into our parenting practices.

Bailey: So, Meg, we’re gonna start with the very, very basics. What does gentle parenting mean to you and how does it differ from traditional approaches to discipline?

Meg: It’s so interesting. You know, like most parents trends, and I’m going to call this a trend. It kind of becomes a buzzword. It catches on and then everybody’s talking about it. But the reality with gentle parenting is that it’s been around forever. It just might have been called something different.

Meg: And I, I would say in the last kind of maybe 50 years, there was a type of parenting called reflective parenting, and I think it was, it’s very, very similar to that, you know, it’s around really connecting with the inner child themselves, with the emotion behind the behavior. And approaching behavior as behavior rather than as that is who the child is.

Meg: [00:03:00] So if you read up about gentle parenting, it talks about these four main elements, which is that being a gentle parent involves being empathic, having respect for your child, approaching behavior with understanding and then having boundaries. So empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries.

Meg: Now, those are four things that are a hundred percent central to everything that I have ever spoken about when I speak about discipline and you and I have spoken about discipline before moms, if you haven’t done My Positive Boundaries course, which is inside the Parent Sense App. There, you would hear all about it and, it really does center around this empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries. So I think it might have a new name now. It might have a new trend now, but Gentle parenting has been around for a very long period of time, and it’s empathic parenting.

Meg: The difficulty is that I think that it’s starting to get a little bit of a. There’s misconceptions around it. And I think where things have got lost is that fourth pillar in gentle parenting, which is boundaries, has almost [00:04:00] become quite blurry, a little bit gray because there’s a lot in gentle parenting that says you can’t do this and you can’t do that.

Meg: And those are actually the strategies that you would use to reinforce boundaries. And I’m sure we are gonna go into that . So I think the gentle parenting is massively valid. I think it’s just reframing of what has always been there, but I think that it is also being misinterpreted and potentially being abused slightly by parents who not wanting to embark on the really tough job of positive discipline, and it is hard.

Bailey: Okay, well, can we just go into that because I have some examples where I then felt confused because how you’ve described gentle parenting is what I understand gentle parenting to be. But then, and I’ll just give you some examples. I was at a park with my own kiddies and I saw this one child who must have been about eight years old, screaming at his mom, you do it when he was asked.

Bailey: To pick up his shoes. And she looked really embarrassed and she walked over and she’s like, okay my darling, I’ll do it for you. I’ll pick up your [00:05:00] shoes. And when she looked at the other moms around, she was just like, ah, gentle parenting, as if that excused it. And then I thought, well, Oh my gosh, if I got gentle parenting completely wrong.

Bailey: We were at a restaurant the other day, kids were misbehaving so badly, and I probably am coming across as being judgy. I’m not, I, I don’t mean this to be judgy, I’m just trying to understand what this is about. So I’m not sitting here with my perfect angels who are hardly looking at other moms in restaurants and going, oh, look at their misbehaved kids.

Bailey: But in this example, it was just, That they would turn around and said, oh, well, gentle parenting, it’s okay that they’re literally throwing the sugar packets at the waiter. And don’t do that, my darling. Okay. How are you feeling about it? My darling and I just thought, I don’t know, is, is this what gentle parenting is?

Bailey: Have we blurred the lines? I mean, you mentioned the fourth pillar of boundaries. What are some of these misconceptions about gentle parenting and and how do we address that?

Meg: So look, I mean, I think you highlighted in both of those stories exactly where gentle parenting [00:06:00] goes completely wrong or where leaning on gentle parenting goes completely wrong. First of all, I don’t think that that is gentle parenting. I don’t think, whoever conceptualized the concept and whoever pushes forward the concept of, gentle parenting would never say that, that those are two examples of, gentle parenting.

Meg: Those might be examples of permissive parenting, and I think that’s very important that right here and now we kind of separate out those two pieces. So gentle parenting has got boundaries and it also involves respect. And respect is a two way thing. I mean, respect is I. I respect you, your emotions and your need to assert your will, but you respect the fact that I’m a human being. I’m your parent. I am, I’m loving, but I am also somebody who is, in a position of, and I don’t wanna say authority because we’re gonna come up to an authority word just now, but, you know, deserves respect. I’m another human being. Super permissive parenting like this doesn’t recognize that the parents should have been respected in those situations. And it also doesn’t recognize that there have to be boundaries. I don’t see either of those [00:07:00] scenarios as good examples of gentle parenting. I see those as good examples of permissive parenting. Now, permissive parenting is an absolute minefield, and it’s particularly a minefield for children because I think I mean, first of all, it’ll fracture your relationship with your child, because, you will always be disrespected.

Meg: And when you have a 16 year old who shows you no respect, well you started that off when they were two years old by doing exactly. You know, both of those scenarios would be an example of that. So you know it, it’s gonna fracture your relationship. It’s not gonna serve your child because the world is not gonna permit that.

Meg: So permissive parenting permits things that the world will not permit with children. You know, the world doesn’t, you know, you might make a million excuses and allowances for your child. The world’s not gonna do it because, they don’t love your child. They’re not invested in your child, so you do your child no favors long term.

Meg: So permissive parenting, and another reason why permissive parenting, I believe is really a very dark hole to get into, is that it puts the child in a position of [00:08:00] authority or in a position that they don’t really feel equipped for now. I’ve often spoken about because I know it very well, the scenario of imposter syndrome.

Meg: So anybody who’s listening to the podcast, who is a c e o of a business, or who has stepped into a massive contract, or, I know you’ve probably had it, Bailey, where you’ve got this incredible gig, your first morning show or, drive show on radio, you would’ve

Bailey: What am I doing here?

Meg: What am I doing? They think that I’m so awesome and I just don’t have it in me. And that’s called imposter syndrome. We all go through it. Now, can you imagine the level of imposter syndrome that a two year old has when a parent says you have the authority? I mean, a two year old is gonna really, really feel insecure, and that’s because two years old’s

Bailey: thought of it like that. Wow.

Meg: Really do need to feel like there is somebody who is the boss because they know that if they’re the boss, then there’s gonna be trouble because they don’t feel like they can actually cope with that level of responsibility. So, you know, there are reasons, many, many reasons why [00:09:00] permissive parenting doesn’t serve your relationship.

Meg: It doesn’t serve your child, it doesn’t serve their self-esteem. It makes ’em feel less secure. I don’t think those are scenarios of gentle parenting that you’ve outlined there, and I think that’s permissive parenting.

Bailey: You mentioned respect, and I suppose that’s the thing, balancing the need for discipline with creating that strong parent-child connection and that sense of mutual respect, but it can be really, really challenging. So how do we strike the balance in this approach to gentle discipline?

Meg: First of all, it is very important when we start to talk about a strong connection is that we want to validate our children’s emotions and feelings and specifically the reasons behind behavior. Instead of going in and saying, You are naughty. You might say, no, that was unkind. You know, that was, that, that action was unkind, not you are. So, so I think it’s very important, first of all, that you want to acknowledge what you know, rather the action behind the behavior rather than actually labeling the child themselves. You also want to [00:10:00] acknowledge the child’s feelings and motivations.

Meg: I mean, you’ve done my positive boundaries course and we always talk about the ABCs and the A of ABC is acknowledged. So really acknowledging a child’s feelings, you know, and that’s the start of mutual respect, because if I respect you, I stop and I think about how you feel and then approach the next thing.

Meg: And, that’s what we should be doing with our children is thinking about how they feel and therefore respecting those emotions. Yeah, so I think that it’s very important that we do actually acknowledge the feeling behind their behavior, really if we’re going to be going down this approach.

Bailey: Punishment and shame are often used as disciplinary measures, but they are just not aligned with the principles of gentle parenting. So how can parents help their children understand the consequences of their actions without resorting to punishment or shame?

Meg: Yeah. So I mean that, and that was kind of what I was alluding to at the beginning is that, if you look at those four pillars, of empathy, respect, understanding, and boundaries, all great, but how do you reinforce the boundaries? Because, [00:11:00] if you’re gonna have a boundary, you’ve really gotta have a consequence associated with a boundary.

Meg: If you cross the boundary, something has to happen. Okay when I think about gentle parenting, In the, in the most purest form. And I’m sure that if it’s confusing for me, I’m, I’m guessing it must be confusing for moms as well, so now I’m supposed to have this empathy, respect, but these boundaries, what do I do when my child crosses them?

Meg: Because now they cross them. Do I do what that one mom did, which is, ignore it and, and you know.

Bailey: Can I just say also that, you know, we always say gentle parenting, but when they cross the boundary, they are not being gentle in crossing boundaries or it is never like a, let me take this moment to just rega, it’s always like a whirlwind or like a bull in a China shop when those boundaries are crossed that it’s like, whoa, hang on.

Meg: Yeah. And we have, we have got to have some sort of consequence for crossing those boundaries. I think that that’s really, really important. So, so your question about how do parents kind of put in place consequences if they’re not gonna punish and if they’re not gonna shame their child.

Meg: So, so those are principles. Also [00:12:00] in general parenting. We’re not gonna punish ’em and shame our child. How are we gonna do it? So the first thing is, and I mentioned it already, I think we do need to have these firm boundaries in place because we don’t want our children to have imposter syndrome. We don’t want to them to feel insecure. We want them to feel super secure. So we need to have these firm boundaries in place.

Meg: The second step, once we’ve got those boundaries in place, is to give them choices. And I think that that can be part of gentle parenting where we can say you are not going to do this. But you can choose to do this or this, which in my scenario I always talk about the ABCs as I’ve mentioned. A being acknowledged, B, being a boundary, C, being a choice. And so the choice is a very important piece there because when we give our children choices, we are respecting them. So we’re saying the boundary is you’re not gonna do that, but we can do this and we can do that. So, so those are really good ways to be able to deal with boundaries, put the boundaries in place, and then give your little ones a choice.

Meg: Another thing that you can do, if a child’s crossed a boundary, so, so let’s talk about the boundary of hitting a sibling, and that’s, that’s a clear one. I mean, if your [00:13:00] two year old hits your newborn baby over the head with a, can of peas, it’s a problem. You know, we we’re gonna have some, we’re gonna have some brain damage going on here, so, and it’s not respectful.

Bailey: Can of peas of all things Meg.

Meg: So whatever, it’s, so it’s gonna be a problem. So we ha we have to have boundaries around this. And so one of the ways we can deal with it is, and again, falling with, in line with gentle parenting is to use empathic words. So, we cannot hit our brother over the head with the can of peas. How do you think they feel? They’re sore. Look at how they’re feeling, putting them into that position where they would feel it. So what you’ve done there is, I, I’ve stayed within your boundary that you’ve given me of gentle parenting and I’ve said, right, we’re gonna have firm boundaries, we’re gonna have give choices, and then we’re gonna have empathic words.

Meg: I would like to say however, that I do think, unfortunately, that there are times when we do need to resort to consequences. So definitely not shame. And you can reframe it as not punishment, but they do have to be consequences. And that means that if a [00:14:00] child really crosses a line, there does need to be a consequence where you can say, right, so you have done that.

Meg: And so therefore this is the consequence. And you know, and that’s unfortunately where potentially me and Gentle parenting part slightly because maybe purest, gentle parenting, and I’m not, I don’t know, would say there would be never be a timeout, there would never be a consequence. But for me, life is made up of consequences.

Meg: If you just step out into the road in front of a car, there’s gonna be a consequence. You’re gonna be dead. So, you know, and, and so, so life is made up of consequences that are just part of the natural order of things. And I think children need to learn that as well. That actually there’s certain boundaries that you do cross that you just can’t.

Bailey: Yeah. Well, this brings me to the next question because that’s the thing, a lot of parents get confused about what the consequences or the boundaries or the limits should be without being overly controlling or authoritarian. So how do we do that?


Meg: Yeah. So I’d like to just take a quick step back and just have a look at what the theory is on authoritarian parenting. ’cause you’ve mentioned this without being overly controlling. And, you know, I think that authoritarian parenting historically is a parenting style that involves really strict rules. Very high demands and very little responsiveness. So, these are the rules. This is the way it’s being done. And so these are parents, your kind of sergeant majors who prioritize obedience and discipline [00:16:00] without really focusing in on emotional support and mental flexibility.

Meg: This is authoritarian parenting and you know, it, it’s so interesting, Bailey, a few years ago in my practice in Cape Town and mom came in and, oh my gosh. I still really feel her pain because she was I wouldn’t say she was necessarily subscribing to Gentile parenting, but she was a very empathic and reflective parent and she was doing a great job. She was married to a man who she loved, who was in the south African army and he was a really old style true authoritarian. And her little ones were embarking on a very, Scary for her journey of discipline with their dad.

Meg: I mean, he was a true authoritarian parent and it was creating massive conflict in their home. And when she. Sketch the picture of what these little ones were going through with their dad and the type of things that came out through this authoritarian parenting. I could a hundred percent feel her pain.

Meg: I can still feel it as I speak about it now. So these little kiddies lived with one way [00:17:00] communication. They did. There was no room for them to have an opinion. The father completely dictated what they should and shouldn’t be doing. There was no room for discussion and negotiation. I really did believe that this parenting style was detrimental for the children’s development.

Meg: I think that it would lead to low self-esteem. They would have poor social skills and they might have difficulty making decisions because it was all just made for them. And so this for me. Wasn’t a case of nurturing discipline. This was a case of authoritarian parenting. And I think that that’s a scenario that when we talk about gentle parenting, that, kind of that’s the monster in the room that no gentle parent wants to go to.

Meg: And, and that’s what we push against. And I’m on that page as well, by the way. So you can imagine that in one camp we’ve got these authoritarian parenting, and then we’ve got on the other, in the other camp, the one I mentioned earlier, which is the permissive parenting, which also is not good for little ones, but in the middle.

Bailey: get both parents on the same page then?

Meg: Honestly, Bailey, it was a really, really tricky one, [00:18:00] and I mean, , it was really more one for counseling than it was for occupational therapy, which is what I was doing at the time. But it was certainly trying to show the dad children’s emotional worlds, trying to help him to understand that you can have boundaries without being authoritative and without being Such a disciplinarian and certainly without corporal punishment and hitting of children.

Meg: So, you know, I think that there was a lot of work for the mom and I to do in that scenario, but what we could bring the dad around to potentially is authoritative parenting. And that’s okay. And it really is very, very different. Authoritative parents focus in on communication and responsiveness.

Meg: So they are still understanding that the child has an inner world, that the child has needs, that the child has intense, that a lot of behaviors a children do. Most behaviors children do are not naughtiness, and your authoritarian parent is gonna hone in on the naughtiness, he’s not listening to me, therefore he’s naughty.

Meg: Whereas an authoritative parent will understand that there’s an intent behind what the child is [00:19:00] doing. It is important that we are not overly controlling. We are not authoritarian in our approach, but it is just as important to understand that we can put in place boundaries.

Meg: And I’ve always spoken about choices ahead of boundaries, so, Parents need to think very carefully about what does need a boundary, and don’t give boundaries to everything. Pick your battles. Something like you need to eat everything that’s on your plate. Really do they. Really be very careful about the battles you pick.

Meg: I’ve often spoken about picking the health and safety battles, so pick the things that are gonna cause your child, if your child’s gonna damage themselves, like not wearing armbands or water wings, when they go for a swim, that is, that’s a boundary. ’cause otherwise they’re gonna die, you know? Not hitting your baby brother over the head of the can of peas, that’s a boundary because somebody else is gonna die. So you do need to really pick your boundaries and you need to, really engage those boundaries very firmly.

Meg: But I think you need to also then be completely, almost permissive in the things that really you can let go. Like whether or not [00:20:00] they overfill the pot plant outside with water because they’re fascinated with the water coming out the hose. My son used to do that all the time. I think, you just need to pick your boundaries as well.

Bailey: Yeah. Well, I mean, challenging behavior can feel so incredibly overwhelming, especially when you’re in it. I mean, I have what I call a little three major at the moment, and we are really in that power struggle battle. He’s a very strong-willed little boy, and I love that about him, but it’s difficult to parent.

Bailey: Really difficult to parent. Sometimes I just feel like sometimes I will say, bla black and he will say white for the sake of it, even though he wants to say white or whatever it is. You know,

Meg: Yeah.

Bailey: What are some of the effective strategies for responding to those challenging behaviors in a gentle and respectful manner, especially when that behavior is nothing gentle at all in the moment, you know?

Meg: Yeah. So look, I mean, couple of things. First of all, always before you respond to the behavior, always get into the head of the child. And, this is where I, I mentioned right at the beginning that there was this parenting theory called reflective parenting. And it’s so similar to [00:21:00] gentle parenting.

Meg: It’s getting into the head of your child ahead of responding. So like why is he doing what he is doing? Why is he digging in his heels is the first thing. So if he’s saying white for the sake of saying white because you just happen to say black, well then you know, you could also say to yourself, all right, so he is a strong personality and actually look at his dad or look at me. And maybe that’s where he got it from. And this might end up being his superpower as well. So as challenging as it is to me right now, this might be something that is really stands him in good state in life. Then allowing him and embracing it in the moments when you can just let it go. So if you said eat your peas, and he said, no, anyone’s eat his carrots.

Meg: Okay, fine. So let the things go is the first thing. And really let him be powerful. I think, I think that’s somewhere where I really do concur with gentle parenting is, allow your kids to be powerful, respect them and give them the leeway. But there will be circumstances with your three nature where like he’s just pushing the boundaries just for the sake of it.

Bailey: Like yesterday.

Meg: Gimme a, gimme an example.

Bailey: Not wanting to put on his, car seat safety belt for the first time ever, we put the car seat [00:22:00] safety belt on Every time it’s non-negotiable, it’s happening, and they were screaming in tears because I don’t want to wear it. I’m like, my boy, why do we wear a safety belt?

Bailey: We wear a safety belt for our safety. I don’t wanna, I’m like, well, we have to. Mommy can’t drive the car until you have your safety belt on and don’t you wanna go home and get some popcorn and a movie? No, I’m not putting, I just sat there going, oh my gosh, I’m gonna be living in the underground parking lot for the rest of my life.

Meg: So first of all, I have to just say Bailey, if it’s the first time it’s happened and he’s three years old, then you’re probably the only mother listening to the podcast who’s, who’s waited till three years old because that, that for me, oh my goodness, that car seat thing happened with my little ones, all three of them early on.

Meg: And I mean, even if it’s just that they arch their back and push their little tummies forward so you can’t close it, which they often do. You’re right, that’s a boundary that cannot be crossed. You have to get going. So yes, I do think responding with the logic first and , I know you don’t wanna wear your safety belt, but we’ve [00:23:00] gotta go in the car now and we need to get home.

Meg: I think you handled brilliantly to say to him that there was something that he was going towards that could potentially distract him because I love distraction. I think distraction is a very, very good method, particularly with little ones of just diffusing conflict where, oh, you know what? You know what we’re gonna be doing?

Meg: We’re gonna go and have popcorn in a movie. Now, you know, it’s not a reward for putting a seatbelt on, but that’s where we are going. And actually, if his head can go there, That would be a good thing. But they certainly do become circumstances where I do think that you need to bring in really firm boundaries.

Meg: So, we can put the car seat belt on gently, or Mommy is going to put it on anyway. We have got to do this, and so I’m sure that the parents who’ve in this gentle parenting tactics might not necessarily agree with that. But for me, when there’s a line that’s gonna be crossed like that, it is moving ahead with your own agenda.

Meg: That does need to happen sometimes.

Bailey: Yeah, well, that’s where I was left with guilt because just so you know, I’m sure. People listening will go, okay, well what happened? But for me, it ended up me getting really frustrated and then shouting and [00:24:00] going, you have to put your safety belt on. You’re putting it on right now. And basically just clasping it on and crying and me feeling terrible afterwards.

Bailey: And you know, and I didn’t feel anything gentle about

Meg: Yeah.

Bailey: Oh, really? Okay. That makes me feel better. But I didn’t feel like I was gentle in that moment.

Meg: No. And, and I think that that’s what’s

Bailey: I didn’t hurt

Meg: And you know, I, I

Bailey: what I mean,

Meg: a hundred percent know what I, what you mean and you know, what else Bailey? I think that this is such an important conversation because when we do cross those lines as moms and we go over the edge and even rant and rave and lose our cool, we compare it to this so-called gold standard of gentle parenting and we feel like we’ve failed.

Bailey: Well, this is why I really wanted to have this with you, because I’m going, oh my gosh, I’m trying, but then I lose my cool sometimes, and then I feel like I’ve failed and the mom guilt steps in.

Meg: absolutely. So one of the really important things, and you know, I, I think it’s important because, I think it’s something like gentle parenting has been kind of put out there as a gold standard and as we all know, [00:25:00] gold standards don’t really exist in the realm of parenting.

Meg: But I think what’s important to recognize is that you were a good enough mother and a good enough mother fails because sometimes she actually just has to move forward with her own agenda. Or actually might even, I mean, I don’t think that this happened in your case, but might actually, in my case, it certainly happened.

Meg: We have actually overstepped a line and I actually was just irrational, like I can remember, four o’clock on a Friday afternoon, I’d often have a rant with my kids because I was tired. I’d done a full week of single parenting while my husband was at work. I was at home with my kids and I was tired. I was ratty and I wasn’t logical. And, I lost my cool.

Meg: I can remember once my little boy James, kind of looking at me and he was crying and, and I had gone completely off tilt. I can’t remember even what it was about. And he said, mommy is naughty. And I think he was like three years old and I can remember thinking, yeah, he’s identified that what I’ve done is I have not respected him and I have gone off pop and, and I actually, I haven’t been a great parent.

Meg: And in that moment what I could do was repair [00:26:00] it because I really hadn’t behaved very well, and I’m certainly not referencing how you behaved with the, with the seatbelt, but in my case, I hadn’t behaved well. I had fractured our relationship. I had fractured his trust. I had, I’d broken our contract but then I could repair, I could say I was sorry.

Meg: And I think that that’s very important that , when you’re trying to. When you’re trying to hold onto these gold standards of gentle parenting or whatever, at the style of parenting you’re holding onto and these perfect standards of discipline and boundaries and whatever it is, the reality is that you’re not always gonna get it right.

Meg: And in those moments, there’s a bigger opportunity to teach children about life. When you say, sorry, I’m sorry my love, I’m tired today. Sometimes mommy feels like that. And when you have those conversations from when they’re little, It opens up those conversations for when they’re teenagers.

Meg: And to this day, I’m able to say to my daughter sometimes, she’s a teenager and sometimes it can be, it can be really hard. And she’s she kind of grinds me and grinds me and she, she’ll keep going at something and I’m able to now say to her, you know what em. I’m at the [00:27:00] end of my tether today, like I’ve had a rough day and if you keep pushing me, I’m gonna go over the edge because I have got no more reserves.

Meg: So can we just move into separate rooms right now? Can we just give each other a little bit of space and we’ll come back when I’m feeling okay again. But I can only say that because I’ve been saying since she was little that and she’s seen me fail. She’s seen me. She knows that I can fail.

Meg: So I think, that’s where gentle parenting may, setting up those gold standards for ourselves is actually counterintuitive. It just sets us up for failure. Whereas when we do fail and we say, sorry, we’re setting ourselves up for success longer term.

Bailey: You’re also showing your children that you too are human. ’cause I think we always focus on kids. Oh, kids fail. Kids fail. Kids fail. No, they’re not failing. They’re learning. And our kids need to see us sometimes. Fail slash learn too. So I think that’s so beautiful and I’m so happy that we are having this very open conversation about this because you know, no parent is perfect.

Bailey: And there are times when we think, oh my gosh, I read all these things and I listen to this amazing podcast of yours, Meg. And I try and [00:28:00] incorporate everything. And then there are days that I just don’t do it very well or don’t do it right.

Meg: Yeah.

Bailey: I’m just so happy that we’re able to have this.

Meg: and I do think that these extreme I wouldn’t say extreme, but, but these polarized parenting techniques, like, and you can put anyone here, you can put attachment parenting, you can put gentle parenting, whatever, they kind of put out there that this is your gold standard for engaging with your child and for your child’s emotional security.

Meg: But the reality is that there are days when it’s just not like that. And I think it’s important to recognize that we are not always gonna get it right. In some ways, aside from the fact that I think gentle parenting has potentially opened up the opportunity for us for permissive parenting to be hallowed, which I don’t agree with.

Meg: In addition to that, it’s also opened up the opportunity for maternal guilt. Anyway, such an interesting conversation. Bailey really has been,

Bailey: I am so grateful to you. Thank you for your insights on gentle parenting, for debunking some of those common myths, and I think it’s really clear that Gentle Parenting is about fostering that respectful, compassionate relationship with [00:29:00] our children, setting those boundaries and being okay in those boundaries.

Bailey: It’s about being kind and firm and loving. I hope that you listening have gained really valuable insights and practical strategies to incorporate gentle discipline into your parenting practices. Meg, thank you again for today. I absolutely loved it.

Meg: Thank you Bailey. Super, super to chat. It really is and it was a, it was a thorny topic today. It’s a tough one and I’m glad we were able to kind of approach in the way we did. So thank you for joining me too.

Bailey: Thank you. We’ll be back next time with more valuable insights and practical tips for navigating Parenthood. Until then, take care and remember to trust your instincts as you continue on your parenting journey. Thanks so much. Bye.

Meg: Bye.

Meg faure

Meg Faure

Hi, I’m Meg Faure. I am an Occupational Therapist and the founder of Parent Sense. My ‘why’ is to support parents like you and help you to make the most of your parenting journey. Over the last 25 years, I’ve worked with thousands of babies, and I’ve come to understand that what works for fussy babies works just as well for all babies, worldwide.