The generation of toddlers today will never know the opposite of gentle parenting, but their parents do and the nostalgia is nothing but funny.
Gentle parenting as a concept is new and upcoming for parents as well as toddlers. Gone are the days when yelling and threatening kids would work or be a part of parenting. Now, it’s all about empathy, compassion and emotional regulation when dealing with young children. However, the parents seem to be missing out on imitating the parenting that they witnessed while growing up. “Gentle parenting” on TikTok has over 523 million views and parents don’t seem to be running out of content to compare their experience of childhood with their toddlers’ gentle parenting.
Summer—who goes by @followingthefarrars on TikTok—posted a video showing her intense annoyance over how her 10-year-old is living a life so different from her 10-year-old self. She titled the video, “When it randomly occurs to me that I have a 10-year-old and at 10, I was trusted to basically raise my siblings alone.” She sings along to the audio “Ain’t no way." The expression on her face says the shock of it all, that it's unbelievable to see how times have changed and how comfortable it is to be a 10-year-old now.
Another video by Summer titled “The ‘trying to gentle parent when you were rough parented’ anthem” hilariously shows her sipping her drink and swaying to viral TikTok audio by @destini.ann which sings, “Woo SA! Woo SA! I'm not gonna beat his a**. I said breathe in! Breathe out! I'm not gonna scream and shout. I said breathe in! Breathe out!” The second half of Summer’s video shows a small peak of her toddler, who dares to stare into the camera while his mother calms down.
The most-viewed video on “gentle parenting” is posted by Stu Pedasso—who goes by @iamstupedasso on TikTok—titled “Me reminding my kids that I’m a first generation gentle parent and still know how to spare the rod,” which goes along with a video of Vince Vaughn from “Be Cool” saying, "We can handle this s**t like gentlemen. Or we can get into some gangster s**t."
The parents who were practicing “gentle parenting” were once kids who were yelled at and grounded. So it’s understandable when it comes to parenting your own kids that way. No matter how much you are aware of your gentle parenting goals, we all need that outlet sometimes. TikTok user @thatrelatablemama posted a video capturing exactly how some parents control themselves just moments before losing all gentle parenting aspirations. Titled “POV: You're a first-gen gentle parent and committed to not screaming at your kids, so sometimes you have to hide in the pantry and have a mental breakdown before parenting,” the video hilariously shows the mother standing in the pantry and screaming into space without making a sound because, well, “gentle parenting."
The comments on these videos roared with laughter and relatability about gentle parenting. @chantelzp said, “Seriously! My toddler is going through a kicking and hitting-phase right now and often directs that at me. It’s so hard, but I have to break the cycle!” Regarding the generations that didn’t experience any form of gentle parenting, @mzburns81 said, “They have no idea what GenX, Xennials and Millennials have gone through.” While it’s true that gentle parenting is a more evolved form of parenting, it’s also natural to sometimes lose yourself in the flow and imitate the parenting style that you received as a child. However, there is immense educational material and knowledge to become aware of such patterns and do a better job than the generation before.