Mom demonstrates how ‘gentle parenting’ can still be authoritative and firm

This TikTok parent shared her ingenious strategy for demonstrating authority as a parent while still being gentle. 

Stephanie (@themossmomma_) is a TikToker and parent who practices a parenting technique known as gentle parenting. In a recent video, Stephanie shared how she balances her belief in gentle parenting with the need to exercise authority. Her secret? Treating her child with respect, even when telling him not to do something. 

The video begins when Stephanie discovers that her toddler son has wandered out of the house on his own. While gentle parenting involves treating children as equals, Stephanie realizes she needs to teach her son that going outside on his own can be dangerous. 

Stephanie takes her son by the hand and leads him back into the house, gently but firmly explaining, “We do not leave the house without mommy.” Without raising her voice, Stephanie invites her son to take a seat on the floor. 

As Stephanie helps her son put his shoes on, a caption appears on screen that reads, “Gentle parents are not passive and permissive. Instead of harsh punishments, we respect and teach our children.”

As Stephanie slides the first shoe onto her son’s foot, she explains again, “We do not go outside without mommy.” Then, she narrates the actions she is taking and explains why she is taking them. “We need your other shoe so we can go for our walk,” she tells her son. 

Finally, Stephanie tells her son to go wait by the door. The toddler cheerfully complies, waiting patiently as Stephanie silently counts down from 5 on her fingers. In a caption, Stephanie explains, “Before leaving, I practiced stopping with my son so I can teach him what is expected.”

The video ends as Stephanie and her son leave the house together to go on a walk. “Thank you for waiting for mommy,” she tells the toddler. “It’s time to go outside so we can go on our walk!” 

Viewers were impressed with Stephanie’s firm but gentle parenting style

“As a preschool teacher, thank you so much for raising your child this way. You do an amazing job. The world needs more parents like you,” one viewer wrote. 

“I feel like your voice had a very calming, safe sternness that I wish I had growing up. You’re a great mom. Thanks for sharing,” replied another TikToker. 

“A big part of this is not holding grudges against kids for being kids. He didn’t listen at first, but afterwards you went on with the day without being mad,” another TikToker responded. 

Balancing gentleness and firmness can be difficult, but Stephanie shows that a little bit of respect can go a long way!

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