With the generational trauma being largely recognized in Black communities, conversation about a form of parenting called “gentle parenting” is starting to take place by parents in Black households. But are Black Families ready for this new gentle parenting style?
Mercedes Samudio, a Black licensed clinical social worker and author of Shame-Proof Parenting has a take on this parenting style. As defined by Samudio, gentle parenting is “bringing awareness to the parenting strategies that you’re using and how those strategies are supporting the development of your child as the relationship you have with your child.”
Moreover, Samudio emphasized that gentle parenting is not merely about a different skill or method in responding to your child, such as putting down the severity of former child-rearing practices that you are typically accustomed to, But gentle parenting, “asks parents to be gentle with themselves as well as with their children.”
By doing so, this will encourage parents to see their relationship with self and their child as the foundation for many parenting decisions. But with the total opposite of gentle parenting to the traditional parenting style that Black families are used to, are Black families ready for Gentle Parenting?
Black Parenting Stereotypes
Well the answer is YES! Samudio says, “Without a doubt, Black parents are ready for this style of parenting.” Who this style of parenting is intended for is the only thing that’s inaccurate, since gentle parenting and related practices are typically marketed toward White, cisgender, heterosexual, two-parent household families, many Black families feel they are incompatible with how they raise their children.
Samudio continued by sharing that, contrary to media stereotypes of Black parents, they have actually been practicing gentle parenting. When it comes to preparing their children for life in the real world, black parents are always having conversations with them.
Therefore, “So not only are Black parents ready for gentle parenting, it’s a practice that was designed to support Black parenting (although it may not be marketed or discussed as such).” Furthermore, Samudio advised that as parents don’t hesitate to start on the things that you only know and admit to yourself that you will learn how to work this things out,
“Start with what you know about the practice of gentle parenting. And if you don’t know where to start, make a declaration that you will work on practicing the strategies you will learn. Gentle parenting is a process that requires practice, patience, and grace with your child and yourself, most of all. You will make mistakes. Ruptures will happen. But embedded in many gentle parenting ideas is the notion that failing is part of the learning process.”Mercedes Samudio, a Black licensed clinical social worker and author of Shame-Proof Parenting