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The promises of ‘gentle parenting’

Children play at the opening of artist Carsten Holler's installation 'Gartenkinder.'
Children play at the opening of artist Carsten Holler's installation 'Gartenkinder.'

The pantheon of classic American parenting techniques is vast. There’s the good old time out. Favorite toys can be withheld. Some Americans were spanked over bad behavior growing up.

But parenting changes over time, even if its difficulty stays the same. And many families choose to tackle that difficulty differently.

A popular trend in child rearing now is “gentle” or “respectful” parenting. Instead of punishing or correcting a behavior, gentle parenting focuses on acknowledging a child’s feelings and understanding how those feelings affect their behavior.

How much does parenting style affect the outcome of a child’s life? And where does “gentle” parenting land on the wide spectrum of approaches?

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