The main purpose of the gentle parenting approach is to encourage a partnership between the parent and the child.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on July 8, 2022. It has since been updated.
More often than not, when kids rush to their parents with some wild plan or idea, they're quickly shut down with a resounding no. Most parents fall into this pattern of instantly rejecting any and all unorthodox propositions put forward by their young ones, simply because they're often too tired to deal with the possibly disastrous outcome of the proposed idea. Over time, saying "no" becomes an automatic response. However, Twitter user Lucy Huber recently decided to say "yes" for once. In a Twitter thread that's been liked more than 210,000 times, Huber explained how agreeing to her 2-year-old son's desire to take his Hot Wheels ramp into the bath with him turned out to be a great experience for the both of them.
I saw on a parenting Instagram you should always say yes to things kids ask for if they are a big deal to them but a small deal to you. Anyway, tonight my 2yo asked if we could “take Hot Wheels ramp into the bath” and I’m pretty sure he’s a genius bc this is fun.— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) July 2, 2022
Please don’t comment on his farmers tan, he never lets me come inside.— Lucy Huber (@clhubes) July 2, 2022
Huber's tweet struck a chord with many on Twitter, prompting a number of them to share how they too have tried this gentle parenting method and been pleasantly surprised by the results.
Yes! I ask myself “why not?” & usually there isn’t a very good reason not to do the toddler’s idea. Maybe it’s slightly inconvenient to me personally (like I have to sit on the floor not the couch) but it isn’t unsafe & won’t permanently damage our home so ok sure let’s do it kid— Mackenzie (@mabarrow) July 2, 2022
Love. I always think to myself "why am I thinking about saying no" and if there really isn't a solid, legit reason, I say yes and go with it. The most wonderfully amusing weirdness can come from it. Toddlers are fantastically entertaining people 😆— Gillian Ulrich (@gillianrosenoel) July 3, 2022
if it wasn't clear, what I should have said: "If I can't come up with a reason why they can't, they should get that win"— Elrond Hubbard (@DrewBJameson) July 3, 2022
My kid had a floating one for the bath. Hours of splashy entertainment!— Jacque Gorelick (@jacgorelick) July 3, 2022
According to Sarah Ockwell-Smith, parenting expert and author of the 2016 book "The Gentle Parenting Book," gentle parenting can be defined in three words: empathy, understanding and respect. The main purpose of this approach is to encourage a partnership between the parent and the child. In fact, Irina Matveeva—Ukrainian psychologist and certified NLP specialist—believes that saying "no" to small kids can often negatively affect them.
This is the best, most succinct description of gentle parenting I have ever read. For all the books + experts, I think that’s what it boils down to.— Cassie Carothers (@cassiecarothers) July 3, 2022
"When we say 'No' to a small child, it often negatively affects them," Matveeva told Bored Panda. "If an adult can logically explain the reason for almost any refusal, then the toddler may well perceive that they are being refused because they're either bad or doing something wrong. Some parents and teachers believe that agreeing with the child on everything means spoiling them. Of course, there is such a risk, so it is important to stay on the edge, not fall into coaxing the kid."
I wrote this weirdly but...he wanted me to watch HIM poop in his diaper.— Lynn Bixenspan (@lynnbixenspan) July 3, 2022
My children call that a "pottience." Potty+audience. Kids are brilliant.— Nasty Woman: Hillary was right 💛 (@MedusaResists) July 4, 2022
"But in any case, don't be afraid to approve of their ideas–when they grow up, they will perfectly learn to restrain themselves when it's important. For now, you just develop their creativity. And if the child offers something outstandingly weird–yes, it happens too, maybe just try to switch their attention to something no less interesting," Matveeva added. Here's what some more Twitter users had to say on the subject:
This works with marriage too, tbh.— Chanandler Bong (lower body injury) (@amyisquitebusy) July 3, 2022
Like...let them pick the fabric for the couch.
I promise it means more to them than you, because they brought you 18 swatches and a Pinterest board with 87 Pins on it, and you don't even know what a chevron pattern is.
After working 13 years in a psych hospital I found this to work well for a lot of adults, too.— joel (@no1rwest) July 3, 2022
“Easy yes” - we have implemented this recently and it makes life easier and more fun!— Molly Simpson (@Hasumachi) July 3, 2022
My son wanted to wear this sleeping bag suit at home 😃 pic.twitter.com/C1mbFaCI1P— Fresh Creative (@fresh_georgia) July 3, 2022
Wow I never asked my parents anything since I always had a hunch they would say no … and as I grew older felt guilty for asking anything because of financial insecurity. I’m aware that even the smallest things can really make a difference :)— Rem (@yuzuyuzuyuu_) July 3, 2022
Can confirm. You want to sleep in your favorite dress? K.— LassSquatch™ (@lannytee) July 3, 2022
You wanna listen to a song before bed instead of a book? Aight.
You want to eat frozen berries in the shower? Dream big, little one!
I'm a great believer in "choose your battles". Stand form on the important things, but aye, sometimes it's good to let them "drive".— Talking Tripe (@Tripenthat) July 3, 2022
I hate most parenting advice but this is a huge one for me. Say yes when you can.— Meg St-Esprit (@MegStEsprit) July 2, 2022
It pays off in my experience! My kids are 17 and 18 and we have a close fun relationship. High trust and they don’t feel the need to rebel, we just talk honestly about the pros and cons of choices.— Andrea DeWard (@GoShowLove) July 3, 2022
Why not indeed? We used to take trains & tracks to the park with us to play with, every kid from miles around wanted a turn!— Lizzy Bee 💙 (@LizzyBeeSoraya) July 3, 2022