Gentle parenting is an evidence-based approach to raising children. The parenting style emphasizes empathy, communication, and understanding. For Black mothers, gentle parenting can take on a unique set of challenges and considerations. That is often due to systemic racism and societal pressures. Historically, Black mothers have been seen as “overly strict” and “mean.” Gentle parenting and Black motherhood may not often be seen as words that go hand-in-hand. Here is what gentle parenting may look like for Black mothers who are trying to raise kids that are respectful, kind and empathetic.
Prioritizing emotional awareness and communication
Black mothers may face additional barriers to expressing emotions. They may need to prioritize creating a safe and open environment for their children to express themselves. Gentle parenting may involve teaching children how to identify their emotions and providing a safe space to share them.
Having to balance cultural traditions and parenting styles
Black mothers may want to balance cultural traditions with their chosen parenting style. For example, traditional Black parenting may involve strict discipline, while gentle parenting emphasizes empathy and understanding. Black mothers may need to navigate these cultural expectations while finding a parenting style that aligns with their values.
Advocating for their children in a society that perpetuates racism
Black mothers may need to navigate racial bias and discrimination when advocating for their children’s needs. Gentle parenting may involve teaching children how to advocate for themselves while also advocating for them in systems such as education and healthcare.
Fostering a sense of pride and self-love
Black mothers may need to actively counter negative stereotypes and messages that their children may receive from society. Gentle parenting may involve teaching children about their cultural heritage and history. As well as fostering a sense of pride in their identity, and promoting self-love and acceptance.
Building community and support
Black mothers may face unique challenges in parenting. Building a community of support can be crucial. Gentle parenting may involve seeking out like-minded individuals and participating in support groups. It may also include finding allies who can help advocate for their children and their needs.