Mum says she practices 'gentle parenting' by barely ever saying no to her child
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A former psychology student has recommended the practice of 'gentle parenting' which involves her barely ever saying no to her child.
I'm no parent, but as someone who's heard a lot of screaming children in my time, I can't imagine ever encouraging a child to continue venting all of their frustrations.
Obviously, it is good to get things out, and after growing up in a 'strict African household with authoritarian parents', 23-year-old mum Namwila Mulwanda is keen on allowing her young daughter, Nhyara, to express herself.
Along with her partner Zephi, Namwila decided to raise Nhyara using a 'gentle parenting' style, which involves enforcing discipline and boundaries with kindness and respect.
Namwila explained: "We only use no and stop if she has done something really unsafe. Instead, we form fuller sentences such as ‘mumma doesn’t like it when you hit’ and then explain why. We also encourage her to do things herself and try not to intervene to teach her to be independent and resilient.”
Like many young kids, Nhyara can get upset and have tantrums that see her hit out in frustration, but Namwila calmly responds by encouraging her daughter to calm down and try to work through her feelings.
If Nhyara hits out, the mum tells her daughter it's 'fine to be upset', but 'not OK to hit' her mum.
The mum, from Colchester, Essex, explained: “I just want her to have the childhood I didn’t have. We incorporated gentle parenting from the onset, we allow her to express her emotions and want to instil her with confidence.
“It’s not simply letting your kids do what they want - it’s giving them room to understand the world with mutual respect, empathy and compassion.”
"If you suppress a child’s ability to feel - they could grow up unable to express their emotions in a healthy way," she stated.
To help move the 17-month-old away from being upset, Namwila helps her with deep breathing activities and talks to her from 'a place of respect and understanding'.
Namwila claimed that raised voices and shouting won't have beneficial results, as she said: "Too much noise causes the brain to shut down, and children don’t hear the words properly."
"When children are having tantrums the logical side of their brain doesn’t work, and they’re led with the right, emotional side of their brain," she explained.
As well as allowing her daughter to work through her feelings, Namwila is keen on teaching her about self-love and consent. The parents ask their daughter how she wants to say goodbye to people, for example with a hug, a kiss or a wave, and practice 'targeted praise' by elaborating their compliments to hone in on what Nhyara has done well.
The techniques have resulted in Namwila being accused of 'raising a snowflake', but she has argued that she'd rather raise a child instilled with self-confidence and the tools to take on the world, and pointed out you 'shouldn’t be harsh to your child to prepare them for a harsh world'.