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Mom Is Told Her Child Has Developmental Challenges Because They 'Gentle Parent' And Refuse To Spank

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two women sitting on a couch arguing with each other

Many parents are passionate about their chosen parenting style, whether they embrace authoritarian techniques or prefer the gentle parenting approach. However, sometimes that passion can get in the way of what is most important.

One mom learned this lesson after a difference in parenting styles caused an irreversible rift between her and one of her close friends.

A mom shared that different approaches to parenting ruined one of her friendships.

The anonymous mother shared her story on Reddit because she was “just needing to vent.” She explained that her 3-year-old daughter “is a little slower on developmental milestones, which is normal due to a genetic disease." She clarified that her daughter is not behind, and that they are watching to see if she will need interventions in the future.

One day, the mom was spending time with a friend of hers, who is also her daughter’s godmother. “Friend and I were talking about how we parent and all,” she said. “Friend has three kids. She spanks them, and she knows I do not.”

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Little did she know, this difference would have a huge impact on their friendship.

“I just finished saying how well-behaved her kids are, and about how her oldest is doing well in school,” she said. This line of conversation quickly went downhill.

“She is talking about how surprised she is that my kid is so well-behaved for a three-year-old. I tell her how we are trying gentle parenting and it’s working well,” the mom shared. “Cue the comments of, my kid is going to be entitled, that it’s only because I have one kid, and that she wouldn’t be this way if she had siblings.”

   

   

As if those comments weren't hurtful enough, the mom's so-called friend's final critique was the last straw. “She finally made some comments about her slow development being my parenting’s fault and I left,” she wrote.

Gentle parenting is a parenting approach that has gained quite a bit of popularity as of late.

Cleveland Clinic explained this parenting style, writing, “The goal of gentle parenting is to raise confident, independent and happy children through empathy, respect and understanding, and setting healthy boundaries. This parenting style focuses largely on age-appropriate development.”

   

   

Whereas “traditional parenting styles focus on punishment and reward… gentle parenting focuses on improving a child’s self-awareness and understanding of their own behavior.”

Dr. Karen Estrella, a pediatrician, told Cleveland Clinic, “The idea is to be more like a coach for your kid rather than a punisher.”

Gentle parenting is, in many ways, a way to reclaim parenting. Instead of simply reacting to what your kids do, you hand some of the control back to your children, treating them with the respect you might afford a fellow adult.

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Gentle parenting doesn’t mean easy parenting.

In her Reddit post, the mom emphasized the fact that her daughter’s childhood has not been easy. 

“My kid does not have an easy temperament,” she stated. “A lot of her behavior took consistency and boundaries. But I don’t brag about it, no matter how much I want to. I am proud of her development and the challenges we faced.”

Despite her friend’s insistence that her daughter is coddled or “entitled,” it has not been an easy road for this family. Choosing a more gentle approach to parenting does not make it easier. In fact, removing the concept of quick punishments and rewards based on behavior likely makes it more difficult.

   

   

Regardless of how challenging or easy someone’s approach to parenting may be, it’s never a good idea to judge. Unless you suspect abuse or neglect, letting people do what they think is best for their family is usually the right move.

In an update, this mom revealed that she has already ended her friendship with her daughter's godmother due to her unwanted and hurtful comments. "Just so you all know, I have already cut her out," she wrote. "I am glad my kid is young enough to forget her."

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Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news and human interest topics.