What Exactly Is 'Sturdy Parenting' – And Is It A Good Alternative To 'Gentle Parenting'?

<span class="copyright">SrdjanPav via Getty Images</span>
SrdjanPav via Getty Images

By now you must have heard of a range of different parenting styles. From gentle parenting to permissive parenting and even authoritarian parenting. These terms have appeared all over the internet in the last few months.

To add to the mix there’s a lesser known style called ‘sturdy parenting’. This is about prioritising connection and setting boundaries as a form of discipline.

What exactly is sturdy parenting?

Georgina Sturmer, Counsellor MBACP explains that the concept of ’sturdy parenting’ is all about boundaries and appropriate discipline. The idea is that the parent communicates their expectations to their child, and if their child doesn’t follow the rules that are laid out for them, then the parent will intervene.

“In this intervention, the parent aims to firm and fair. The idea is that this helps children to really understand the ground rules and boundaries that their parents expect them to respect.

“When we offer children firm boundaries, we are giving them a sense of stability and security. A clear understanding of how we want them to behave. This offers children a sense of predictability and safety. That said, while children need a sense of safety and security, it’s important for them to treated with kindness and in an age-appropriate way,” she says.

Psychologist Dr Becky who is the founder of Good Insideexplained it even further in her Instagram post. 

About sturdy parenting, she wrote that parents can effectively embody their authority while staying connected to their kid.

She added that the approach places equal emphasis on short-term wins, like cooperation, and long-term gain, like confidence and resilience.

She explained that the parenting style means parents are able to validate feelings and hold boundaries, stay connected to their kids and build the skills they need to actually change behaviour.

“This is the kind of parenting that builds strong relationships… breaks intergenerational cycles… and truly changes lives,” she concluded.

Who is sturdy parenting for?

Though the parenting style can be effective, like any form of parenting not all kids can benefit from it.

The good thing is you know your child best so you can assess whether implementing sturdy parenting will work.

Georgina says: “I think it could be helpful for those who struggle with the idea of boundaries or discipline or the idea of being ‘strict’.

“It reminds us that when we offer boundaries and discipline in a kind and appropriate way then it can help our children to feel secure. It also encourages us to maintain boundaries in our own personal life too.”

So, do you think sturdy parenting works for your family?