How to be a First-Generation Gentle Parent |

How to be a First-Generation Gentle Parent

Amber May 25, 2018

in November of 2023. 

Not everyone knows how to parent gently. Not everyone had the privilege of being raised in a home where gentle parenting was important. In fact, many people weren’t.

Most people have stories to tell at some point in their growing up of a time when adults treated them in a less than compassionate way. Unfortunately, in the not-to-distant past, children were seen as a detriment to society and were not treated with kindness or respect.

There was a common misbelief (and still is today) that gentle parenting is permissive parenting. It’s not!

If you were raised in a home where gentle parenting was non-existent, you may struggle as you try to raise your own children under a gentle parenting model.

What implications does that have on your parenting today? Does it mean that if you weren’t treated gently as a child, you wouldn’t know how to raise your children with love and compassion?

Not at all!

You Must Choose to Be Different

Just because you may not have been raised in an ideal situation does not mean you can’t become what you never knew! You can be an amazing parent despite the worst circumstances you may have been raised in.

The key is that you must choose to be different. It really becomes a mindset shift that definitely takes a concentrated effort since not parenting gently may be all you ever knew as a child.

Get Some Education on How to Parent Gently

Just like anything else, parenting can be studied as well. You may need to educate yourself to understand what the gentle parenting model actually looks like.

Reading books such as Unconditional Respect can be essential for teaching you how to become a gentle parent.  

Of course, our blog also has tons of resources, and you could spend countless hours learning how to parent differently than you were raised.

Can You Find Anything Your Parents Did Well?

Stop for a minute and think:

Is there anything your parents did that you were thankful for or could copy into your own parenting? If you weren’t parented gently, you might have to dig deep into your heart to find some memories that resonate with you.

But the truth is, even the worst parent usually has something they did right.

Was your mom a good cook? Did your dad give you any advice?

I realize this might be a difficult exercise for you, but I would challenge you to take the time to truly think and see if you can find anything that your parents did well.

What Do You Want to Do Differently Than Your Parents Did?

Of course, you will probably have a running list of things you would like to do differently in your own parenting. And you know what? That’s not a bad motivator! Use the things your parents didn’t do in your childhood to parent your kids gently.

Did Your Parents hurt you as a Child?

If your parents hurt you when you were growing up, either physically or emotionally, then use the hurts you experienced as a motivator to never hurt your kids in the same way and essence — become more compassionate as a parent. 

Let those emotional scars be a reminder not to do the same things to your children. It would be easy to follow the same pattern, but you don’t have to!

Continue to Work On Your Relationship With Your Parents

If the relationship allows, continuing to work on your relationship with your parents may very well be healing for you and your parenting relationship.

As you work through the resentment that comes from not being parented gently, treating your own kids with love, care, compassion, and understanding will be helpful.

Find a Role Model Who Knows How to Parent Gently

Is there someone you think does a good job of parenting gently in your life? Begin to copy what he or she does as a parent. This is especially important if you weren’t parented gently as a child.

Finding a good role model might be exactly what you need to start gently parenting your kids.

Break Your Own Bad Habits

If you weren’t parented gently, you probably have brought some bad habits into your own parenting.

If either of your parents lost their temper quickly, you may also struggle with that. I understand this may not always be true, but you get the picture! Work hard to break your own bad habits with your kids and change one thing at a time.

Give Yourself Grace

It will take time to become a gentle parent, especially when you may not have known that as a child.

When you fail (and you will), permit yourself to start over again, and don’t give up!

Realize That Kids Are Kids

Let’s face it! Kids know how to press every button. If you already struggle with not having had a good role model as you were growing up, then the chances are that your kids may know exactly how to frustrate you.

Keep a good understanding that your kids are really not trying to destroy your life! Remember that your kids are just kids. They won’t stay that way forever! Then it will be easier to parent gently even if you weren’t.

Connect With Your Kids

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to parent gently, even if you weren’t, is to connect with your children.

Why? Because when you really connect with your kids, you love them for who they are. It will be much easier to become a gentle parent. Instead of resenting your kids, you will develop deep, lasting relationships.

Do you have a teenager you can’t relate to? Work on the relationship! Do you struggle with your toddler? Find a way to connect!

Perhaps that was the missing connection between you and your parents when you were growing up. Use the knowledge of what your parents may not have done right to motivate you to become a better parent yourself!

If you didn’t experience a non-gentle home, what ways have you found to implement gentle parenting while raising your kids?

This is the writings of:

Amber is the proud mama to seven great kids ranging in age from 16 years old all the way down to 6 months. She is married to Ben who also happens to be her pastor. Amber has a passion for helping people and enjoys finding new recipes to accommodate the various food allergies of several of her kids as well as her husband. She homeschools all her kids and has a love for things all natural. Finding ways to eat clean and natural is a high priority. No preservatives for this girl!


  1. It is never too late to be different. I am 39 and my parents have not been perfect, however, I am still hoping they will be able to connect better with me and my children:-)


  2. I turned 30 this year and waiting on my first child to be born, I did not have the greatest family life growing up but I really hope my son can have it better


  3. Thank you for sharing, I grew up in not the best environment my dad wasn’t around my mom tried really hard, Im waiting for my first born in January, hope that I can be much better for him than my dad was for me


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

Meet My Family
Love our content? Sign up for our weekly newsletter and get our FREE Nourished Living Cookbook!