S2E13 – Gentle Parenting vs. Child-Centered Play Therapy Parenting: Which Path Leads to Better Outcomes?

May 8, 2024

In this episode, I address a listener’s question about gentle parenting and whether it has gone too far. I discuss the principles of gentle parenting and contrast them with the child-centered approach, highlighting the importance of setting appropriate limits and boundaries while maintaining a kind, respectful, and relational dynamic with your child.

I explain that while gentle parenting aims to build a healthy bond and meet a child’s needs, it often lacks a comprehensive framework for effective discipline. The child-centered approach, on the other hand, is highlighted by a well-researched framework of interacting with children, and empowers them to make choices within clearly defined limits, fostering self-control and responsibility.

I emphasize that the child-centered method is indeed gentle, as it prioritizes preserving the parent-child relationship through understanding, kindness, and respect. By using the four pillars of play therapy, parents can remain in control of their emotions, honor their child’s uniqueness, and respond appropriately to their child’s emotional state, all while establishing boundaries and expectations.

Ultimately, I encourage parents to embrace the child-centered approach as a more effective and complete system for achieving the desired outcomes of gentle parenting.

Ask Me Questions: Call ‪(813) 812-5525‬, or email: [email protected]
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Cochran, N., Nordling, W., & Cochran, J. (2010). Child-Centered Play Therapy (1st ed.). Wiley.
VanFleet, R., Sywulak, A. E., & Sniscak, C. C. (2010). Child-centered play therapy. Guilford Press.
Landreth, G. L. (2002). Play therapy: The art of the relationship (2nd ed.). Brunner-Routledge.
Bratton, S. C., Landreth, G. L., Kellam, T., & Blackard, S. R. (2006). Child parent relationship therapy (CPRT) treatment manual: A 10-session filial therapy model for training parents. Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Benedict, Helen. Themes in Play Therapy. Used with permission to Heartland Play Therapy Institute.

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