I’ve spent much of my motherhood journey reacting to my kids’ behaviors instead of responding to them. And if you’ve spent any time on the gentle parenting side of TikTok, then you know that, yes, there is a big difference between the two.
Gentle parenting essentially recommends that, instead of handling arguments with your kids through the exact behavior you’re trying to curb, try pausing and responding to your child’s situation from a place of logic. That way, you’re better able to identify problem areas in a way that won’t leave your kids feeling poorly about themselves.
Say what you want about TikTok, but I’ve gained invaluable parenting tools from many parent creators on the platform. As a result, our home is more peaceful now than it ever has been, and it’s thanks to these ten gentle parenting creators.
I wish TLC would reboot “Supernanny” but with Marcela Collier as their host instead. In just under two minutes per video, Collier helps parents completely rethink the whys of our children’s behaviors and the hows of gentle parenting.
In one of my favorite videos featuring Collier’s mother, her mom says, “I thought the twins were going to destroy the Christmas tree!”
To which Collier responds, “Because we allowed them to place the ornaments and to decorate, they are not as curious now. Children are not mischievous. They are curious. People think children destroy things because they are mischievous. No! They destroy because they are curious. Because their need was met, they are not there anymore.”
Ever since that video popped up on my feed, I find myself repeating Collier’s words to myself when my kids get into my makeup, spill maple syrup all over the floor, or crack a dozen eggs in the kitchen.
Repeat it with me: “Children are not mischievous. They are curious.”
Millions of parents have fallen in love with Gwenna Laithland for her unapologetically authentic, inclusive, and respectful parenting tips on all things child-rearing.
There is no “fluff” with Laithland. And what we adore about her is the way she reminds parents that you don’t have to be a soft-spoken pushover to practice gentle parenting in your home.
Ryan Allen, LPCC-S, LICIDC, focuses more on preschool and toddler-aged children’s behavior (hence his TikTok handle). However, he does have videos that provide insight for older children, too. In one of his more popular videos, Allen demonstrates a three-step system for getting young children to listen to their parents without repeating themselves 50 times.
According to Allen, kids are intuitive and pick up on patterns. So why should your child listen to you the first time if they’ve observed that you’re not really that serious until you’re blue in the face and yelling?
“The first time you see them doing something they’re not allowed to do, or you need them to do something, go into the room, make eye contact, and say, ‘Hey, I need you to do x,'” Allen says.
If your circle back in a few minutes and your child still isn’t listening, set a reasonable amount of time to complete the task or alter their behavior, and let them know that there will be a logical consequence if they can’t follow through. Then, if they still aren’t listening after x amount of time has passed, you would calmly enforce that consequence.
“After a while, kids will start to pick up the pattern, and they’ll realize ‘I don’t have 50 tries,'” Allen adds.
In one of her pinned videos, @themossmama is transitioning her son from jumping in puddles to their next task. First, she clearly states what she expects from him in an easy-to-understand way and uses a countdown method to prepare him for the transition. Then, when the time is up, she uses familiar words like “all done” as a verbal cue to signal that it’s time to move on and asks if he would like to skip or hop back to the house.
Sometimes, all it takes is a little patience and creative wording to help prepare our children for what’s next.
One of my favorite quotes of hers is what she says to her children when they’re talking to her “like they pay bills.”
She says, “Your message is getting lost in your mess.”
I’ve stolen this phrase from her, and I often repeat it to my kids when they’re fumbling through all the wrong words. And when I do, you can see the wheels turning in their heads after I’ve said it. Usually, it’s thought-provoking enough for them to pause, take a breather, and reexamine how they want to confront whatever issue is at hand.
Although much of her content is autism-based, it’s important to note that parents of neurodivergent kiddos want to learn how to practice gentle parenting in a way that works for their child, too.
Robin Roscigno, an autistic educator and PhD Candidate, who is raising her autistic child with gentle parenting, provides that insight.
Mary has a way of switching up her wording to avoid conflict and power struggles with children when she needs them to do something. For example, instead of asking a child, “Can you put on your shoes? Can you get in your car seat?” she changes the words to “You can put on your shoes. You can get in your car seat.”
“It changes it from a question to a directive, but not a super harsh directive,” Mary says in a recent TikTok video.
Brought up in a household with strict parents, Tori Phantom takes us along their journey of breaking the cycle of authoritarian parenting. They are raw, real, and provide invaluable ways to practice gentle parenting. Through proactive and realistic examples, Phantom’s content revolves around finding ways to respond, rather than react, to our child’s behaviors. (And they’re fun to watch too.)
Most of her popular videos include teaching kids about bodily autonomy and consent in straightforward ways. But recently, @lackofimpulsecontrol has explained to her viewers how she allows her children to have “little kid” and “big kid” days based on what kind of behavior they may be presenting that day. And it’s nothing short of brilliant.
In her words, “Behavior impacts access.”
“A big kid day means access to things like scissors, glue, markers, taking water away from water receptacles, like the sink in the bathroom or in the kitchen, to have tea parties in your bedroom. It determines how far away you can go from me when we’re outside,” she says.
On little kid days, her children would not get these same privileges.
“It’s not a moral thing; it’s a safety thing. And nobody’s wants supersede the safety of yourself and others,” she adds.
This list wouldn’t be complete without Laura Love.
Love’s little boys regularly employ Love’s gentle-parenting techniques on each other. But like any kid, she lets us know that they have their moments too. In one of her most hilarious videos, we observe her older son yelling at his little brother for breaking a coffee pot, to which she responds to his behavior respectfully. With over 30 million views, Love’s coffee pot video will go down in history as one of the best TikTok videos of all time.
Nobody said gentle parenting is easy. On the contrary, it takes more time, practice, patience, and energy than any other “form” of parenting. But raising your children with these principles in mind will have them feeling respected, heard, and like they have a sense of control. And above all, it will restore the peace in your home.
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