gentle parenting

Immediately after announcing a pregnancy or giving birth, after the obligatory oohs and aahs and coos have been inflicted, there will inevitably come the slew of unwanted advice ... from every person you've ever known.
Everything that made my uncle so dear to me can be distilled into a single essence: he was present. He and my aunt made a visible effort to be deliberately present when most people are accidentally absent. They took time out of busy schedules to come and see both of my children when they were just a few weeks old, bringing food, gifts, a listening ear and good conversation.
For you, half an hour seems like an eternity. You can't imagine the day where your baby might play on his own for half an hour while you tend to chores and cook - one less thing you'd have to do in the evening. But he won't play on his own. He needs his mummy to be near. He needs to feel you.
So why do toddlers tantrum so much? Quite simply because their brains are incredibly immature. On top of an immature brain they also live in a confusing world and most importantly a world that they have no control of.
The desire for children to grow up to be confident enough to say "no" is in sharp contrast to the behaviour of many parents, when they make their child hug and kiss relatives against the child's wishes. If body autonomy matters in the teen and adult years, why doesn't it matter in childhood?
The downside of defining different parenting styles is the defensiveness that this can cause. Understandably, when we come across someone who does things differently to us, it can make us either want to defend our own way, or convince the other person to try it out. We all want to feel secure that we're doing the right thing because it's such an emotive issue...