Rachel shares how one can 'gentle parent' their kids through the frenzied toddler phase and impulses with two words 'pretend' and 'gentle.'
Every parenting phase is wild, but the toddler phase is an exceptionally challenging piece of work. With kids learning to speak, spit, throw, catch and a whole host of other behaviors, parents wonder how they can be taught which is good and which needs to stop. A mom named Rachel–who goes by @rachonlife on TikTok–shared that most of these behaviors can be stopped temporarily using a gentle parenting trick. The stay-at-home mom, who has two kids, one a toddler and one an infant, shares tricks on gentle parenting and how to respond to certain developmental child behaviors. Rachel shared how she stops her children from fighting and hitting using just two words.
In her video, she asks: “How do you gentle parent when your child is hitting? How do you gentle parent when your child is spitting? How do you gentle parent when your child is climbing on everything possible?”
She mentioned that when children are at a young age, they wouldn’t understand reasoning and then shared the approach she uses. “This is how I handle all the impulses toddlers have that are undesirable yet completely developmentally appropriate behavior.” She then suggested teaching children the words “pretend” and “gentle.” Elaborating on the same, Rachel said, “Pretend works with biting. So when they’re biting, I go, ‘Ah, ah, pretend.’”
Demonstrating the same, the mom explained how she shows her children what pretend-biting is by holding her hand close to her mouth and making a biting noise but ensuring that her children see that she’s not actually biting. “Sometimes I’m like, ‘Hey Sam, watch mommy bite’ and then I show him and then ask him, ‘Can you do pretend-bite?’” She then moved on to the word: “gentle.” The mom then shared how she encourages her children to be gentle, “Can you show me ‘gentle hands?’” She added that this pattern helps with hitting, petting animals and more. She conveyed, “Gentle parenting doesn’t really look like it’s working until it does.”
Rachel went on to share that things tend to get tougher when the older sibling is hitting the younger one. She said, “It is repetitive, it is a consistent corrective action. Put yourself between the toddler and the baby until it is developmentally inappropriate for those impulses to be happening.” She stressed that these impulses are a part of growing for a child and one “can’t expect them to do it.” Rachel recommended “not giving the child an opportunity to mess up” instead of completely shutting them down or screaming at them. While explaining the same, she mentioned, “Instead of giving Sam a hot wheel when he is 3 feet away from Hazel, I’ll give him a stuffed toy.”
It was to ensure that even if Sam has a certain impulse and throws something, he’s not hurting Hazel. “I’m not giving him the opportunity to make that mistake,” the mom said. She added that the same applied to biting and other impulses. Her video went viral and gained 2 millionn views for her brilliant hack. Fellow parents applauded her reminder about gentle parenting along with her trick. @maybamez said, “People forget that they’re like 3 or 4. They cannot control their behavior.” @alexisjohnice said, “Yes to gentle hands. We say ‘soft soft’ and she immediately switches her behavior.”