How to Discipline with Gentle Parenting: In 4 Easy Steps

How to Discipline with Gentle Parenting: In 4 Easy Steps


What is Gentle Parenting?

Gentle Parenting is a type of parenting style that has become quite popular on social media recently and while the benefits are extensive, the question of “how do you discipline gently?” is regularly asked. 

Positive Parenting was first introduced by Dr Jane Nelson in the 1980’s and her research has curated an evidence-based style of parenting that supports the growth of happy, confident children using elements of empathy, respect, understanding and boundaries. 


Gentle Parenting


So, How do you Discipline with Gentle Parenting?

Unlike the authoritarian style of parenting that relies on punishment and fear tactics to attain control, Gentle Parenting hopes to teach children emotional regulation when faced with problems. 

Gentle parenting takes personal self-reflection and it’s not always easy to recognise our own faults. Rewiring your brain to be open to mistakes and allowing room for big emotions can be tiring but we have found 4 ways to guide how you discipline your children.


Here’s our 4 step guide:


1. Risk Assess Before You React

A young child plays on climbing equipment










Do they need to be disciplined right now or is it a learning experience? We have all had the scenario where your child wants to do something unsafe, and our immediate reaction is to shout “no!” In that second, they stop from fear but there is no lesson to stop them doing it again.

Start by quickly risk assessing the situation yourself, is it something that warrants a safety shout? Sometimes when there is immediate danger, we might need to shout a warning which can be followed with an explanation of what was unsafe.

If you have time to say, “what’s your plan?” your child might say “to double backflip off the slide” and we can follow that with “the slide is too high up and you will injure yourself so I can’t let you do that, we can do jumping down here” which may be met with disgruntled noises but is a lesson learnt.

Every now and then the risk is low, such as slipping on a muddy path, the worst-case scenario is that their trousers get dirty so we don’t need to intervene and the lesson teaches itself.


2. Acknowledge the Feeling then Set the Boundary

A child is expressing their emotions by shouting and holding their head








Understanding why our children are upset is something that can be difficult when they are mid-tantrum but giving them a safe space for their big emotions can help them to regulate as they grow.

When you’re in a safe environment to do so, saying something like “I can see you’re angry right now, but I can’t let you hurt me” respects the emotion but sets a boundary.

Letting your children tell you why they are upset in their own time gives them the validation they need to work through the feeling instead of shutting it down.

This can be followed with new options to change the action (such as hitting a pillow or a drum instead of you) which encourages problem solving and can be used again next time they feel angry.


3. Swap Commands for Collaboration

Parent and child tidy up toys together










We can get into the habit of reeling out commands for efficiency, this is usually met with a lot of pushback and unnecessary arguments. Instead of ordering your child to complete a task, think about how they can work collaboratively with direct expectations.

Swap saying “tidy up your room” for “let’s tidy up together, I will put the blocks in this box, and you can collect the cars in this one.” This feels less overwhelming for a child as they are aware of what is expected of them and they can see a shared end goal.


4. Model Reflective Behaviour

Parent and child embrace

Being a parent is stressful and sometimes we will resort to losing our cool. When this happens, we need to own up and apologise to show our children that we have big feelings too.

Using emotional language to explain your reaction followed by a resolution might look like “I felt angry that you weren’t listening to me so I shouted, I’m really sorry for taking out my emotions on you, can we have a hug?” This shows your child that everyone makes mistakes, but we need to own up to them and think of a resolution.

If you need further help with family coaching, consider visiting Inspire You Family Coaching


For more information on Positive Parenting and Managing your Child’s Emotions


  1. Paolo on February 26, 2023 at 10:35 am

    Very informative article, needed to hear that

  2. Eloise on February 26, 2023 at 10:35 am

    Brilliant advice thank you so much

  3. Ioanna kruizenga on February 26, 2023 at 10:41 am

    I’m so pleased to see this information out there for new, current or up and coming parents. Community and communication on these topics will change the world through shaping the future with love, not only for the xhild but the parents will have a better time for sure. Looking forward to reading more x

  4. Rosie on February 26, 2023 at 10:47 am

    This has been proven by scientific research in infant and child development and attachment theory to be the healthiest and most optimal way to raise children. So glad to read this. We need to be more informed. Our school system needs restructuring on this framework!

  5. Lucy on February 26, 2023 at 10:49 am

    Needed this today, thank you!

  6. Shannon on February 26, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Such a good read, really needed to hear this, a gentle reminder why we do what we do!

  7. Gina Hamish-Anorldsson-Bean on February 26, 2023 at 11:21 am

    You know what, yes! It is so easy to get stuck in a frustration mind set when you’re sleep deprived, but I hope to be the supportive and calm mama! Thank you!!

  8. B on February 26, 2023 at 11:48 am

    Such a great read, a much needed reminder for my Sunday!

  9. Jessica Sharville on February 26, 2023 at 11:49 am

    This is very interesting. Will put this into practice with my niece and nephew.

  10. Charlie starship on February 26, 2023 at 12:41 pm

    This is so helpful, thank you!

  11. Niamh on February 26, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    This is a really great article- I work with young children, so I’m always looking to improve methods of behaviour management. I will refer back to this article again when feeling the overwhelming urge to just react oht of frustration versus calm, think and respond. Thanks!

  12. Annie on February 26, 2023 at 12:46 pm

    This is exactly how I envisage me parenting, thank you for writing

  13. Joseph waygood on February 26, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    Great article. It is very important to teach our kids lessons rather than just direct frustration towards them.

  14. Min on February 26, 2023 at 1:13 pm

    So well written! Great examples too.

  15. Orla on February 26, 2023 at 7:48 pm

    This is so clear and constructive!
    I wish information and tips like this had been available for previous generations, let’s hope articles like this can be spread far and wide and future generations can be parented softly and kindly

  16. Ella on February 27, 2023 at 9:49 am

    This is so good! I want to use this when I have kids

  17. Daisy on February 27, 2023 at 10:04 am

    Really insightful, well written and an interesting read

  18. Kathy on February 27, 2023 at 10:27 am

    Such a informative yet simple reminder for myself. Sometimes with all the noise online gentle parenting can seem so much more complex, but reading this article has helped me to get back to those core reasons I do what I do.

    Thank you so much
    We’ve got this!

Leave a Comment