I especially liked her post Getting it Wrong: What Gentle Discipline is Not, and I hope she doesn't mind but I wanted to share a short excerpt of my favorite part (it's really worth going over to read the whole thing, but this chart is awesome!)
Below is one of my favorite charts showing parenting styles. I like it because, unlike most quadrant-based charts on parenting styles this skews it on its side so you can see the continuum of effectiveness down the left side and because it shows the shaded blending of the styles. What she is describing is called permissive parenting typified by low levels of expectation and high levels of nurturing responsivness. As you can see in the chart, permissive parenting rates quite low on the effectiveness scale (only slightly higher than being completely disengaged). Authoritarian parenting, where punishment falls, actually has high levels of expectation in common with gentle (nurturing in the chart) parenting.
Gentle parents, like authoritarian parents, care a great deal about the behavior and discipline4 of their children. And, as you can see from the chart authoritarian parenting actually has a high level of effectiveness (as measured by child behavior) as it scales with the level of responsiveness/nurturing.Gentle parents are no more permissive than Authoritarian parents are uninvolved. To assume so ignores the intention and creates an inflammatory divide. I don’t assume you beat your kids. Don’t assume I let mine run wild.
Then I met my Wolf.
Nothing I had been raised with worked with him. He was his own kid and frequently could not be convinced or even coerced into things he didn't want to do--not by anything or anyone. Punishment had little or no effect on his behavior. Attempts at force were usually ineffective. I had to learn something new, and gentle discipline is where I have ended up.
In my younger years when I saw a kid who was out of control, I thought "well if only his mom would set boundaries, or give him a good lecture, or a swat on his naughty little behind..." Over time (due to living with Wolf, reading many books, and talking with other parents) my perspective has shifted.
I am not by any means a perfect "gentle parent." I've used spankings and time outs, I've yelled and threatened and completely lost my temper. Over a year ago I wrote a post on spanking and said I planned to never do it again...um, strike. However I am trying. I think I am improving. For every time I fall down, I get up again--and in my opinion that's the real measure of a good parent (or a good person)--no matter how often they make mistakes, they keep trying again to be better next time. I continue to read and ponder and try to develop my sense of what I want my parenting to be like...and I continue to work on bringing myself closer to that idea.