Gentle Parenting Means Being Gentle With Yourself Too

Gentle Parenting is the idea that parents treat their kids with respect. The adults make all their decisions out of love and empathy for their child, and discipline in a kind and helpful way rather than being manipulative or vengeful.

But on a recent post entitled, “How To Do Gentle Parenting Without Pandering To Your Kids”, someone left a very honest and important comment. She agreed with all the information in the post, but she struggled putting it into practise.

“This is how I’d like to parent… but I sometimes become a shouty Mum and hate myself for it.”

— Comment on Lucy At Home

Let me be completely honest with you; this is a trap that everyone falls into. Nobody is perfect and life can be stressful. Children are not predictable and can do things that really wind us up. We all resort to shouting at one time or another.

Listen carefully as I speak these words: It. Is. Okay.

Gentle Parenting Means Being Gentle With Yourself Too - messy floor, child baking and cooking

You are worthy too

Because you see, in that exact post, I quoted this definition of parenting:

“Gentle parents have one thing in common: their choices are all made out of respect and empathy for their children, as well as themselves.”

— The Gentle Parenting Book by Sarah Ockwell-Smith

So choices are made out of respect and empathy for the parents as well!

Becoming a parent doesn’t mean that you don’t matter anymore. It doesn’t mean that you are the lowest priority. Gentle parenting is not just about treating children with respect; it’s about treating everyone with respect (yourself included!).

You need to be gentle with yourself too, looking out for your own mental and physical well-being. And that means giving yourself a break when you make mistakes.

Gentle Parents, you need to be gentle with yourself as well - child picking flowers while mum holds flowers buttercup

Be gentle with yourself

As gentle parents, when our children get angry, do we tell them that are horrible? Do we point the finger and say that we are ashamed to be their parents? Do we spend the next few hours torturing them with reminders of how they messed up? No, no and no!

Instead, we

  1. acknowledge that their anger was triggered by something frustrating
  2. lovingly accept anger as a valid emotion
  3. create a safe space for them to express their feelings
  4. explain that anger is normal but that lashing out is not acceptable
  5. give them time to calm down
  6. find out the root cause and encourage them to solve the problem (together if requested)
  7. assure them that we are there and ready to comfort them as soon as they are ready
  8. move on once the issue has been dealt with

This is exactly the same process you need to go through for yourself too. When Shouty Mum appears, something must have happened to trigger her.

You may have been surviving on broken sleep for years. Perhaps you’re going through a difficult situation in your personal life or at work. It might be that you’re overworked and just need a break. Maybe you don’t even know what the cause is – just feel “off it” today.

It. Is. Okay.

Getting angry is normal – it doesn’t make you a bad mum.

Yes – go and apologise if you need to, but then move on and wipe the slate clean. You don’t need to beat yourself up about it. Be gentle with yourself just as you are gentle with your children.

Gentle parenting is about being gentle with yourself too - family holding hands

Be gentle with yourself so your children will learn to be gentle

I started gentle parenting because I wanted my children to know that they were loved and valued. I didn’t want them to think that it was okay for other people to put them down or humiliate them. I saw that the best way to teach that was to be an example of kindness and respect in my dealings with them every day.

But it takes more than just being gentle mum-to-child. We need to demonstrate these values mum-to-self too.

We need to show our children that we respect ourselves and we believe ourselves worthy of respect by others. We need them to see us forgive ourselves and move on so that they can learn to let go of their mistakes too. It is our job to demonstrate perseverance-despite-mistakes because that’s a life lesson that they are going to need.

In many ways, it’s easier to be kind to others than it is to be kind to ourselves. But that’s why our children need to see both – so that they learn to be kind to others and themselves.

So to all the mamas out there – don’t beat yourself up when you fall short. Don’t give up when you feel like you’re failing. Be gentle with yourself, for your own sake and for the sake of the kids who look up to you.


Do you sometimes fall into the trap of being “shouty mum”? Do you have any tips for staying calm? Are you good at being gentle with yourself or is it something you struggle with? Let me know in the comments section below (and you never know – your comment may end up inspiring a new blog post, like this one!)

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The forgotten rule of gentle parenting - be gentle with yourself! You are worthy, you are valuable. Becoming a parent doesn't mean you don't matter anymore or make you perfect. Be kind to yourself just as you are kind to your kids. Gentle parenting tips and techniques that involve self care for mums #gentleparenting


Add yours
  1. 3
    Enda Sheppard

    I think this is so true … kids also learn from our reactions to our own actions, and our feelings about ourselves. I think they can often carry the weight of unexpressed, unadmitted to feelings in the parent. These need to to be acknowledged and explored by the parent and worked on too. Again, as we know, kids do as the see us do, rather than what we say. #BlogCrush

  2. 5

    While I don’t ascribe to all the gentle parenting techniques, the principles in this post are some that can be translated everywhere. Respect isn’t just one way. And denying your own feelings is only going to cause problems later on. Besides, our kids catch more than they are taught directly. So if you want certain behaviours in your kids, better model it. #blogcrush

  3. 6
    Shelbee on the Edge

    This is all so spot on! I am definitely a mom that screams! Oy. And I hate when I get all screamy, but like you said, it happens and we must forgive ourselves. We are all doing the best we can without that darn illusive parenting manual that no one ever gave to us! And when my kids are being challenging, I often say, “The kids are preventing me from being the kind of parent I want to be.” Ha. But yes, we must be gentle with our children and with ourselves. #BlogCrush


  4. 7
    Mother of 3

    Good point! I think we do all yell at one time or another and I have found that embracing a more gentle approach to parenting (and life/ family in general) has helped me feel less pressure and stress to be perfect. I find I don’t yell as much because I have stopped trying to control everything. Pinned! #BlogCrush

  5. 9
    Alice V

    Shouty Mom usually comes out when I’m tired and the girls are giving me a hard time about brushing their teeth or letting me comb their hair. But I agree to let them figure out the problem, be supportive, and listen to what they are saying. #BlogCrush

  6. 11
    Rebecca - Glutarama

    Reading this has been quite an eye opener. I have discovered that I’m a gentle parent…this is a good thing. my husband makes me feel that I’m not doing a good enough job at times but then he’s sitting on the sideline half the time and not getting involved so he can’t really comment! My children also respect me far more than they do their father, this adds credibility to that fact I think I’m a gentle parent…however, I am not gentle on myself, this I will now work on so thank you xx

  7. 12
    Lisa Pomerantz

    What a terrific post, Lucy, and one that we really need to heed! Our behaviors do serve as role models to our kinder, good or bad. It is important we mirror what we want to see in their development. Thank you for this. I am an accasional shouty mama, and I always apologize! xoxo #blogcrush xoxo

  8. 13
    Liberty Henwick

    I am harsh with myself, I know that and it’s very difficult to break out of that pattern. I rarely shout at my kids, if I do I always feel terrible and need to apologise but we generally have a discussion about the behaviour and how to avoid future blow-ups and the reconcilliation is always sweet and affirming for our relationship. Parenting is certainly not easy and especially when you enter it carrying your own childhood.baggage. Thanks for this gently reminder 🙂 #blogcrush

  9. 14

    So many of us end up hating how we do not fit some image of perfect parenting fed to us by our dreams, researchers or media/social media. So post like this really matter and mean families can perhaps flourish in a healthier way because someone took the time to write sense down #BlogCrush – sorry I am so late commenting

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