10 Honest Insights: Help! I’m Experiencing Gentle Parenting Burnout

Krystal DeVille

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Selective focus of mother cheering up depressed little son.

Being gentle with your kids takes a lot of grace, especially when they do dumb things.

A parent shares that they’re exhausted after four years of being an emotional punching bag for their kid. They needed advice on how to get back on track. Here are some best answers from the thread’s contributors.

1. Parent the Kid You Have, Not the One You Wish You Had

Not all parenting methods are perfect for every child. Several thread contributors expressed that parenting needs to be logical, which is often not the case with gentle parenting. Every day is not a love fest full of wonder or a magical ride on a rainbow. 

Your kid does not get to yell at you when they are upset. As a parent, you are also human and can get upset, which is also allowed. The most important thing is establishing communication channels where both parties can express their frustration civilly.

2. Set Boundaries With Your Kids

Being a gentle parent doesn’t mean you must be your kid’s doormat. For example, a parent said that whenever their kid hurts them or is impolite, they tell them they do not allow people to treat them that way.

Whenever they are rude or demanding, they’re called out immediately. They do not get their request till they ask politely. Kids need to learn that particular behavior is unacceptable.

3. Let Ron Swanson Guide You

Ron Swanson is a good balance between being direct and aggressive. Another parent shared that just like Ron Swanson, they communicate their expectations firmly, then give space for the kids to decide how they will respond.

Clear expectations challenge kids to do better, and their smooth brains can comprehend what’s happing around them. However, gentle parenting does not mean you need to be toothless.

4. You’re Allowed To Yell

Instead of gentle parenting, think of your parenting style as a delicate fusion. Several parents said they sometimes lose their cool, especially when kids do stuff they know they shouldn’t do.

Yelling at times is an understandable reaction. However, when it happens, they explain to their kids that they are human, talk about the situation and hug it out.

5. Validate Emotions, Not Actions

It’s OK to feel frustrated, but not OK to hit others. A parent shared that they do not allow their kids to be little dirtbags because an action is emotionally motivated. Whenever their kid misbehaves, they address the problem quickly before they become frustrated. Correcting behavior is not from a place of anger.

6. You Are Not Your Kid’s Punching Bag

Another gentle parent said they recently talked with their 5-year-old about how their actions make them feel. Sometimes kids do not understand how their actions can be hurtful. They must know that just because their parents love them unconditionally doesn’t mean they can treat them poorly.

7. Your Emotions Are Valid

You can make mistakes as a gentle parent. A thread contributor suggested taking a breather and giving yourself a chance to be a person, not a parent. Additionally, they recommended taking a weekend away or trying therapy that supports gentle parenting. You could also join mom groups that do gentle parenting.

8. Lower Your Expectations

Parents expect their kids to act better as they grow older. As one user explained, this is not always the case. You might need to adjust your expectations and understand the child’s underlying needs. You can identify patterns in their outbursts to determine their triggers and create a plan to work around these.

9. Gentle Parenting Is Not Permissive

Numerous people shared the sad fact that many gentle parents do not understand the concept behind it. Your focus should be on being a good enough parent. Just because you are a gentle parent doesn’t mean you don’t get to enforce consequences. Adopting some authoritative parenting guidelines may also help.

10. Fill Your Cup First

Chugging along in survival mode will not do you good. Several parents say that taking some time for yourself is worth it. Be intentional about doing things for yourself. You’ll feel like a fog has lifted.

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