Failing Motherhood

11 Reasons Why Gentle Parenting Feels Impossible to Implement

October 10, 2023 Danielle Bettmann | Parenting Coach for Strong-Willed Kids Episode 125
11 Reasons Why Gentle Parenting Feels Impossible to Implement
Failing Motherhood
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Failing Motherhood
11 Reasons Why Gentle Parenting Feels Impossible to Implement
Oct 10, 2023 Episode 125
Danielle Bettmann | Parenting Coach for Strong-Willed Kids


There are likely more than a handful of very legit reasons why doing this hard thing feels even harder for you right now.  

Are you aware of them enough to know how to overcome them?


  • Often underestimated, proven ways your progress has been held back 
  • Why some of the approaches you've been working so hard to implement aren't working at all
  • How learning more in some ways does more of a disservice than a benefit


  • #11- the key to transformation 

IG: @parent_wholeheartedly

Send us Fan Mail over Text.

Support the Show.

Master the KIND + FIRM Approach your Strong-Willed Child Needs WITHOUT Crushing their Spirit OR Walking on Eggshells
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Show Notes Transcript


There are likely more than a handful of very legit reasons why doing this hard thing feels even harder for you right now.  

Are you aware of them enough to know how to overcome them?


  • Often underestimated, proven ways your progress has been held back 
  • Why some of the approaches you've been working so hard to implement aren't working at all
  • How learning more in some ways does more of a disservice than a benefit


  • #11- the key to transformation 

IG: @parent_wholeheartedly

Send us Fan Mail over Text.

Support the Show.

Master the KIND + FIRM Approach your Strong-Willed Child Needs WITHOUT Crushing their Spirit OR Walking on Eggshells
*FREE* -

Danielle Bettmann  0:04  
Ever feel like you suck at this job? Motherhood I mean? Have too much anxiety and not enough patience. Too much yelling, not enough play. There's no manual, no village, no guarantees. The stakes are high. We want so badly to get it right. But this is survival mode, we're just trying to make it to bedtime. So if you're full of mom guilt, your temper scares you. You feel like you're screwing everything up, and you're afraid to admit any of those things out loud. This podcast is for you. This is Failing Motherhood. I'm Danielle Bettmann. And each week, we'll chat with a mom ready to be real. Sharing her insecurities, her fears, your failures and her wins, we do not have it all figured out. That's not the goal. The goal is to remind you, you are the mom, your kids need. They need what you have, you are good enough. And you're not alone. I hope you pop in earbuds, somehow sneak away and get ready to hear some hope from the trenches. You belong here, friend, we're so glad you're here.

Danielle Bettmann  1:14  
Hey, it's Danielle. Welcome back to Failing Motherhood, if you are enjoying these episodes, and go ahead and post it to your Instagram stories or text a friend the link or leave a review, we need more parents out there to know they are not the only ones feeling like they're failing their kids on a daily basis. And that starts with you sharing the link with someone else. So thank you, thank you, thank you for listening and for tuning in and supporting us. 

Danielle Bettmann  1:49  
So again, so glad you're here. The goal of today's episode is for you to give yourself a break for the love. I'm gonna save the expletives. But please, it is not just you, there's actually more going on, you're not crazy. And there's legit reasons for why you might feel like gentle parenting feels impossible to implement. So we're going to break down some of these reasons. And I really, really, really urge you to just sit with it and say, Okay, there's actual fact and evidence here. There's reasons for why I feel like I do. And I'm not the only one and give yourself a break, stop beating yourself up. Okay. 

Danielle Bettmann  2:45  
And if you have the capacity, if you have the financial resources or the time or the energy right now, you can work on a few of these things. But if not, you can actually know why. It's legit, that you feel the way you feel right now. And it's okay. 

Danielle Bettmann  3:02  
So as a quick reminder for anyone that is new here, my name is Danielle Bettmann. I am a parenting coach for families with strong-willed kids, particularly under the age of 10. I am a Positive Discipline certified parent educator. I have a teaching degree. I have two kids of my own been married to my high school sweetheart, we live in the heart of the Midwest in the United States. And I have been doing this company, my company wholeheartedly for four and a half years. And I have been running my group program now for the third year that I'm running it and i is particularly for parents who want to work on their patients who want to level up their communication so that they can speak like a hostage negotiator with their strong willed child and incrementally and permanently improve their child's behavior over time by getting to the root of that behavior and eliminating the need for it completely. And so if that's you then you need to start with my free training, go to and download my training for parenting strong-willed kids without punishments, rewards, threats or bribes so you can break free of power struggles, guilt and self doubt. And on today's episode, we are diving into the 11 reasons why gentle parenting feels impossible to implement. Let's dive in

Danielle Bettmann  4:39  
So, I already said the goal for this episode is to give yourself a break. So as I walk through these possible reasons why gentle parenting might feel impossible right now. I want you to score yourself as go through it like it's an audit, and genuinely keep track of how many of these indicators

Danielle Bettmann  5:00  
As you might have in your current season of life, and use that to inform your not only your self awareness, but the information, you need to know what problems you need to solve, and are ready to solve right now is a tool. And it will bring a lot of clarity, if you can take that personal approach of individualizing it for yourself and your family right now.

Danielle Bettmann  5:28  
So I'm gonna start with number one, these are not in a huge particular order, but you're gonna know if they hit home for you. And the first one is, in my opinion, the most obvious reason why gentle parenting might feel impossible to implement right now. And that is external stress. If you are postpartum, moving, experiencing significant marital stress or financial stress, if you're undergoing a particularly demanding work schedule, or just in general, expecting yourself to do it all and surprised that you can't, then that is going to be hugely impactful to your capacity, to be able to have patience to be able to learn new tools and to be able to implement things, of course.

Danielle Bettmann  6:24  
But it's really hard to actually realize that when everything in your life is one inch away from your nose, and you don't see the patterns and what is actually going on for you right now and how many things are on your plate, and how you got to where you are. So if you take a step back, and you look at the big picture,

Danielle Bettmann  6:48  
is it external stress is that the main thing that is limiting you that is zapping your capacity. The if it is then give yourself a break, right? Of course, you're not going to have the capacity to have patients through meltdowns, if you are sleeping 45 minute increments at a time. Okay, I'm not going to go into this because I feel like I'm preaching to the choir here. But it's worth mentioning, first, really consider the level of external stress that you're experiencing right now. And allow that to inform you and make sense of what you're currently experiencing in your parenting, these things are extremely correlated. So take that all into account. That's number one, external stress. 

Danielle Bettmann  7:34  
Number two, you might be strong willed yourself. Right, all of the positive qualities that our strong-willed kids might have, they have a really strong sense of self. They know what they want, they are determined and passionate. And nothing will change their mind in the moment.

Danielle Bettmann  7:54  
Those are the things that are going to cause you and your child to butt heads in the moment. Because when you set out with a morning routine that you need to get through, there's not a lot that you're willing to get derailed on, right, and you might have a hard time picking your battles. And you might have a hard time articulating, and communicating when you're under stress. And when you're triggered the same way your child does. And the parts of your child that are hardest to parent for you are most likely the parts that are so similar to the way that you're wired.

Danielle Bettmann  8:33  
That's gonna make it pretty difficult. Right? Challenging is an understatement. So take that into account. If you are starting to realize the things you see in your child or the things that remind you of yourself, then let's make note of that. Okay, it's not just you, either, or it might be why your partner is having a particularly hard time, especially if that part of you or your partner was not parented with compassion.

Danielle Bettmann  9:08  
Right? It's gonna be even hard to be compassionate with your child when they get in similar moments. So that's number two, that you're strong-willed yourself.

Danielle Bettmann  9:19  
Number three, the third reason why gentle parenting might feel impossible is that you are learning it in the worst way possible.

Danielle Bettmann  9:29  
If you are trying to learn gentle parenting through social media, then you're trying to pick up bits and pieces. When you're not in the right headspace. You're probably doomed scrolling. You're not committed to it. So you're not really receptive and open minded and curious and asking questions. You're not supported to implement it. So you are essentially just like hitting your head against the wall right away. You're only getting just enough information to have more reason to beat yourself up that you should know better.

Danielle Bettmann  10:10  
That's genuinely worse than not having come across that post at all. And you might be reading blog articles you might be trying to take from different approaches from books on your nightstand, you might have even bought a course, which is better, arguably better. However, they're still going to conflict, they're still not going to talk back to you and answer your questions. If they don't have a deadline to finish them, there's no way that they're going to fight their way to the top of your priority list and be the most urgent thing that gets your best intentions, and energy.

Danielle Bettmann  10:52  
It's just learning it in the worst way possible. We would never expect ourselves in any other aspect of our lives and our roles, to be able to function at a really high level, and be able to implement and integrate hard concepts that work against our instincts and override the way that we're conditioned and unlearn and relearn and teach at the same time.

Danielle Bettmann  11:16  
The way that we show up at work, the way that we volunteer, I mean, we take other ways that we learn much more seriously. And it's not surprising that parenting feels hard when we don't give it that same level of discipline. So if that is the primary way that you've been working to learn how to parent differently than maybe you were parented, give yourself a break, you are trying to learn it in the worst way possible. You're not meant to do it in that way. And you might be doing a disservice to yourself, because you're just giving yourself more ammo, and more evidence that you should know better and do better, and you're not, not helpful, not helpful. That's number three. 

Danielle Bettmann  12:04  
Number four, you're trying to do this in isolation. And then not only do you maybe not have a village, but I'm talking about not knowing anyone in real life. That is either trying to use more positive discipline, or gentle parenting like you are. Or you don't know what family in real life that has a kid as challenging as yours.

Danielle Bettmann  12:31  
Or even worse, you are experiencing real criticism or pressure from extended family, or their teachers or other caregivers or people in your life that make you feel like you're doing a disservice to your child, by not being strict enough by not spanking them by not doing timeouts That's gonna make this very hard. When you feel like you're under a magnifying glass. And you have to defend yourself. And you have to create this case of a debate of why you're doing things the way that you are, when you're still honestly confused about how you're doing them yourself. That's really hard. It's really, really hard to be gentle parenting up against criticism, or not knowing anyone in real life that has a kid like you, or is trying to use these tools like you are. And you could be in areas where that is the exception to the rule, and you are the minority.

Danielle Bettmann  13:38  
So take that into account.  Give yourself a break.  That's number four.

Danielle Bettmann  13:46  
Number five, gentle parenting might feel impossible to implement. If you think that it's permissive parenting, as in what you're trying to do, the scripts you're using and the approaches that you have put together is not actually authoritative parenting, it's permissive, then that's going to feel really challenging, you're going to feel like you have a lot of resistance and a lot of guilt, a lot of resentment building, and you're not going to like the outcome. And that is going to make it feel even harder to parent on the same page, when it's arguably obvious that it's not working. But the fact of the matter is, if you were parented in a very authoritarian way, then you might be pulled to swing to the way other side of the pendulum and be too kind and too gentle and end up trying to prevent meltdowns and tantrums by not wanting to upset them and being walked all over.

Danielle Bettmann  14:56  
Finding yourself asking repeatedly and getting understandably frustrated when they're not listening, and you just find it to be all in all ineffective. Because when you try to be nice, they aren't nice back.

Danielle Bettmann  15:14  
And that's understandable. If what you're doing is actually more permissive, it's too kind, and not firm enough. And that's hard to know where that line is, if it wasn't modeled for you. But just know that that's one of the things that is not only going to make this more challenging, but definitely something to be aware of, and to kind of audit yourself on. And, you know, we can talk more about what that looks like. That's number five. 

Danielle Bettmann  15:42  
Number six, your partner isn't up to speed, it is going to be so hard to not only try to be the main mental load carrier of your parenting approaches in your relationship, but feel responsible for learning everything and then turning around and re teaching it to an equally capable grown up and get them up to speed and in a good get them up to speed with enough competence, that they feel confident and understand the why behind everything that you're doing in a way that it translates through their vibe.

Danielle Bettmann  16:27  
Genuinely, again, not the best way to learn. pretty impossible. There's also a very real dynamic of, you know, the bad cop, good cop, I just had a podcast episode on that, where there's just very real limiting factors that make it almost impossible to be a united front, when one partner has more questions that aren't go unanswered. Or you were just raised in completely different ways. And that is informing how you see your child and interpret their behavior. And if one of you is much farther along in your journey of either self growth and development or understanding these concepts and the other, then you're going to feel sabotaged, you're going to feel undermined, and it's going to affect the effectiveness of your discipline, your kids are going to pick up on that. And they're going to work around that and it's going to be very challenging. So that's number six. Your partner is not up to speed.

Danielle Bettmann  17:30  
Number seven, for reasons why gentle parenting might feel impossible to implement, You are parenting a strong-willed child that doesn't respond to traditional scripts and approaches.

Danielle Bettmann  17:43  
The things that you've been trying to learn from some of those parenting accounts end up backfiring and up enraging your child end up making you feel like you are beating your head against the wall with punishments and rewards or consequences, threats and bribes and you end up giving up completely nearly because it's not working and you don't know what will.

Danielle Bettmann  18:09  
A good reference is the what not to say to your strong-willed child episode. That was a few months ago for some specific examples of this. But just know if you have not yet realized that perhaps the way that your child is wired and will always be wired is incompatible with some of the traditional approaches and strategies, then it's not you. And it's not them. It's the approaches.

Danielle Bettmann  18:37  
Not everything that's gentle parenting works for strong-willed kids, not at all. So it makes sense, then if it feels very challenging, and it feels like it's not working, you're not alone.  So give yourself a break.

Danielle Bettmann  18:54  
Number eight, you may have very high expectations for yourself because you are an educator, and already work with kids, or you are a counselor, or mental health provider in some way. And you're supposed to know all of these theories. Or you are an OT or PT and you know, have a leg up frankly on other parents and friends because you know how to teach your child emotional coping strategies.

Danielle Bettmann  19:26  
You may be an ER physician or a neuroscientist or have your PhD or be very successful in other areas of your life. And that ends up being even more frustration and disappointment in yourself. When you end up struggling with your own child and not knowing why and feeling like you should do better. And you're not. That's extreme. That's a whole nother layer of guilt and shame that you heap onto yourself because of those circumstances. And those high expectations are not fair. They're not fair to your child. And they're not fair to you. Because no one has parented your child, at this age, through this particular challenge before, you have not been taught that, it doesn't matter how many theories and how smart you are, this is something that is so individualized, that you just need support. And you deserve that support to help you work through it in a way that helps it make sense to you. When it doesn't make sense, it's going to make it very hard. So those high expectations of yourself can make it even more challenging.

Danielle Bettmann  20:46  
Number nine, you're not able to get individualized feedback and talk through how to apply it to the circumstances you find yourself in. You need individualized feedback, books, don't talk back courses don't talk back to you, you will not even understand how silly sometimes the conversations go in our live q&a coaching calls. Because what is originally asked or written down as a question, and what the ultimate answer is, or the process that we go through to get to that answer, we end up somewhere completely different, we end up figuring out the backstory are finding a pattern, or getting to the root of the motive behind that behavior. And then we find ways to prevent that. And we end up talking about the fear that was underlying that parents response, or the sibling and how much they're playing into things. It's always so complex. And when we can uproot all those things and talk about it back and forth.

Danielle Bettmann  21:58  
There's so many realizations, there's so many A-HA breakthroughs, that would never be possible when you think you're looking at one problem. And it's something entirely different. But how are you supposed to know that? How are you is possibly supposed to know that when you look at it from your one lens, that's super, super up close to the problem.

Danielle Bettmann  22:20  
That's the reality of not being able to have the support you deserve working through those things. So of course, you're going to come up short, of course, you're going to find yourself stuck and confused. And feeling like things are just volatile, and unpredictable. And, again, doesn't make sense. That makes sense to me. But give yourself again that credit and realize how important it is for you to have somebody that gets you knows your kid knows all the other dynamics at play, that you trust, that you feel like their values and their approaches with parenting aligns with you. And to feel really safe and understood and have this the support and the space to really check it out. There's nothing like it. So that's number nine. The individualized feedback. 

Danielle Bettmann  23:23  
Number 10. You're only working on one thing at a time, it might be therapy, for your emotional regulation, it might be your marriage, going through marriage counseling, it might be trying to pick up and learn some new scripts and trying to sub in some new tools, or new way to discipline, it might be that you are talking to your child's teacher or working with an OT.

Danielle Bettmann  23:55  
But if you're only doing one of those things, it's in a silo. And you're working on things within a kind of echo chamber. And you are going to come up short inevitably, because all of the your patience, their behavior, your relationship dynamics within your home, the language that you use, all of those things are so interconnected, that it's nearly impossible to work on only one aspect and see the outcomes that you're looking for and see it translate the all these other areas.

Danielle Bettmann  24:34  
You need to build momentum, you need a comprehensive approach, because that's what actually unlocks the success in other areas and allows that change to translate and transform those other areas. Your patience and their behavior are inextricably linked. One thrives off of the other. If you're not working on both at the same time, then you're really spinning your gears 100%.

Danielle Bettmann  25:07  
And that brings us to number 11. The last but certainly not last, in general, last of this episode, reasons of why gentle parenting might feel impossible is that you are trying to follow the letter of the law but not the spirit of the law.

Danielle Bettmann  25:28  
Gentle parenting or positive discipline or parenting in a responsive child centered approach requires you to not just learn or know what to do differently, but actually embodying it. In order to become the calm, confident parent that your kiddo your specially your strong-willed Kiddo needs, you have to actually change who you are as a parent.

Danielle Bettmann  25:58  
And in order to do that, you have to feel safe. To do that. You have to feel supported through the inevitable emotional highs and lows and two steps forward one step back progress in a container that's designed exactly for that purpose for that transformation, making that possible for you. But if you don't embody that change, then it doesn't matter what language you use, or what scripts you're trying to use, or what discipline you end up using. Your child sees right through it. If you are still, if it's still coming from like a very manipulative place, if they feel like you're being hypocritical, if they don't feel safe or understood by you, then it's all an act, they're not going to respond well to it. Because it's so much of our communication between our kids is nonverbal. And without that embodying peace, without that true grasping and understanding of things and feeling confident in the why. And being able to take the tools that you're learning in that recipe and make it your own.

Danielle Bettmann  27:15  
You're not embodying it. So it's just the letter of the law, rather than the spirit of the law. And your child can truly see it for what it is. And that is always going to show up short.

Danielle Bettmann  27:29  
So, how many of those 11 things do you feel like apply to you right now?

Danielle Bettmann  27:38  
If it's more than a handful, please, for the love. Give yourself some grace. Give yourself some benefit of the doubt and the credit, that you are trying something that is arguably and proven to be very challenging. And you have a litany of things, making it even more challenging. So of course, you're going to feel like you're failing, of course, you're going to be losing your mind and losing your patience on your kids. And you're going to be finding yourself using desperate measures when put up against your backs against the wall.

Danielle Bettmann  28:17  
However, when you're ready to take on a comprehensive approach, in a safe container, designed for that transformation that allows for you to work on your patience, and your communication style, learning positive discipline tools, and improving your child's behavior by getting to the root of it, filling their cups of attention and control and becoming a different parent on the other side of that journey.

Danielle Bettmann  28:52  
Then apply to be a part of my program, Wholeheartedly CALM.

Danielle Bettmann  28:57  
That is exactly what it's designed to do. And it allows you to learn alongside your partner. At the same time hearing the same language, asking questions and having the space to truly work through things.

Danielle Bettmann  29:14  
And you're able to learn how to walk that line of being kind and firm at the same time. You're in the headspace to learn it thoroughly. You're able to find all of the troubleshooting and tweaking you need for your kiddo. And you come out a different person on the other side.

Danielle Bettmann  29:34  
And I'm so honored to do this work and to allow you the opportunity to do this sooner than later. Because that's the support that you deserve. So go to Find my masterclass, apply to my program to learn more, and I cannot wait to meet you to cheer you on and to truly get to know your family and have a front row seat to your transformation.

Danielle Bettmann  30:09  
I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.

Danielle Bettmann  30:16  
Thank you so much for tuning into this episode of Failing Motherhood. Your kids are so lucky to have you. If you loved this episode, take a screenshot right now and share it in your Instagram stories and tag me. If you're loving the podcast, be sure that you've subscribed and leave a review so we can help more moms know they are not alone if they feel like they're failing motherhood on a daily basis. And if you're ready to transform your relationship with your strong-willed child and invest in the support you need to make it happen. Schedule your free consultation using the link in the show notes. I can't wait to meet you. Thanks for coming on this journey with me. I believe in you, and I'm cheering you on.

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