Does Positive Parenting Work?

I was talking to a friend the other day about gentle parenting and whether it ‘works’.

By the word ‘work’ many people mean ‘getting our kids to behave’.  Its very easy for us to fall into that perception of our kids, its what mainstream parenting tells us we must do.  However, thats not the goal of positive parenting, and I’ll explain why….

As human beings, we are very much focused on instant gratification..  we tend to prefer short term gain without thinking about the longterm.  For example, for anyone who wants to get healthy and lose weight, often we’ll put off the percieved ‘pain’ of eating healthy food for the instant plesure of the ‘naughty’ treat, even though that short term pain will lead to the long term plearsure of having a healthy body and looking fantastic whilst brimming with energy.  Or maybe you really want to overcome a fear of something, but you’ll put it off becuase you dont want to experience that short term ‘pain’ even though the pride, happiness and freedom of overcoming our fears is just on the other side.

With mainstream parenting techniques, its about getting our children to ‘behave’ in the short term, (instantaneous gratification for the parent) at the expense of the negative impact on the longterm relationship.

However with gentle parenting, its about putting the relationship with our children first.  The goal is creating the most loving, connected relationship we can.  Its about looking for ways to add to and improve the relationship in all situations.  Does that mean its always pretty in the short term?  No.  :)  We may still have our toddlers drawing on the walls, pulling the cats tail or hitting their baby brother over the head with a favorite toy.   But in those moments, its the goal of gentle parenting, to find ways to connect and guide our children to more suitable outlets for their emotions and needs.

So my answer to this question is Yes, gentle parenting does work if your goal is to have a close connected relationship with your child.  I’m willing to go through the ‘pain’ of having my kids express their true feelings, I’m willing to consistently meet their needs and help them find positive ways to meet their own needs when they are ready, and I’m willing to be very present with them to help guide them in the world to the best of my ability becuase I know the long term pleasure will be worth it.  :)

Would love to hear your thoughts below.


Emma Combes

Emma helps parents overcome the automatic negative reactions that are stopping them from parenting consciously and with love through her coaching practice. She also helps parents live the most awesome life in all areas, so they can know they were the best role model they could be for their children.

  • dorian

    thank you…i forget this in the moment of “naught” behavior and think what am i doing nothing is working?

  • Janai Lowenstein

    My focus now as a Grandmother is to make sure I am custom-tailoring my interactions and conscious guidance of my grandchildren and groups of children I work with teaching them about their inner world resources of how mind/body/emotions work together. REALLY being present in the here and now with each child and listening to what is going on with words, sounds, body language, a portal of creativity can open up to address the issues most poignantly. I’d like to invite you to visit my website where I have a blog, youtube storytimes and more. Thanks for your work. We all need to work together to empower children!

  • Elyselm

    I love your posts. The way i see it, positive parenting like everything else in life has A LOT of good stuff to it. However, it can be a bad thing when taken to the extreme. I find that some parents take it so far that they are actually doing their children a disservice, IN MY OPINION. Just my opinion. Kids like and need some structure. They sometimes need the word NO. Sorry. I will stand by this. Yes of course, phrase everything in the positive but on occasion, yes I said it. N-O. The dirty word. I have watched this go down and have watched many a kid not be given the straightforward guidance they need because teachers or parents are tiptoeing around and ultimately it is actually doing them a huge disservice. Not real life. Again, just my OPINION.