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The Far Reach of Intentional Parenting

An illustration of a Black parent on their knees with a calm face looking into the eyes of their Black child, who looks angry. The parent has locs in ponytail and is wearing glasses. It looks like they are talking to the child calmly. The child also has locs. They are standing outside of a building.
Charnel Hunter

The trend of “gentle” or “intentional” parenting faces plenty of skepticism in the child-rearing realm. But by rethinking the way we communicate and set boundaries with kids, some folks are finding liberation in multiple types of relationships.

Over the past several years, the words “intentional,” “gentle” and “conscious” parenting have been showing up more and more on TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and parenting blogs. Just like the concept has no one name, there’s no specific regimen or set of rules that define gentle parenting. But those who practice it lean away from physical punishment and time outs in favor of age-appropriate communication and empathy to talk about consequences and respect.

And many find that it not only improves their relationships with their kids, but their understanding of themselves, their parents and their partners.

In this episode, guest host Omisade Burney-Scott interweaves her own journey as a parent into a conversation with two other Black mothers.

Destiny Bennett is from Southern California, a mother of three boys and a wife of 10 years. As a multi-viral digital creator, Destiny has shared her life-based teachings on parenting, marriage and overcoming generational trauma as it relates to the two. Destiny is a best-selling author and homeschool advocate with a heart for community and a mission to inspire and heal.

And Trina Greene, a returning voice to Embodied, is the founder of Parenting For Liberation, a virtual community that supports Black people raising Black children through culture, equity and justice. She is also a mama, a lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and the author of “Parenting for Liberation: A Guide for Raising Black Children.”

Omisade also reflects on her three-decade parenting evolution with her eldest son, Ché Nembhard. He is the co-founder of CLIPS Co-Op, a digital media & film group, and he is a senior writer at Instrument, a digital product and brand experience innovation company.

Special thanks to Gabriel, also known as The Indomitable Black Man, and Courtney for sharing their thoughts with us on gentle parenting.

Five Accounts to Follow If You’re Curious About Conscious Parenting

1. @supernova_momma

Natasha Nelson is a Certified Positive Discipline Educator, veteran and mother to two autistic Black girls. Follow her account for examples of how she practices positive parenting and autism acceptance with her kids.

*She also hosts workshops!

2. @untigering

Iris Chen is a “deconstructing tiger mom.” Her account, blog and book, “Untigering,” share resources on peaceful parenting and describe the journey she’s gone on from authoritarian parenting to gentle parenting.

3. @raisingyourself

Shelly Robinson is a certified family wellness coach and mom of two. She helps parents understand their own traumas and vulnerabilities so they can better create the relationship they want with their child/ren.

*Check out her resources on yelling and backtalk!

4. @mrchazz

Chazz Lewis, or “Mr. Chazz,” is a parenting and teacher coach, helping those who educate and rear children to avoid power struggles and frustration with kids and find joyful, effective strategies for communicating and interacting.

*Mr Chazz also makes content for kids on YouTube!

5. @parentingforliberation

Parenting for Liberation is a virtual community offering resources and connections for Black families, founded by Trina Greene. P4L seeks to help Black families raise children without fear.

*Check out their podcast for great interviews on parenting content!

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Kaia Findlay is the lead producer of Embodied, WUNC's weekly podcast and radio show about sex, relationships and health. Kaia first joined the WUNC team in 2020 as a producer for The State of Things.
Omisade Burney-Scott (she / her) is a Black southern 7th-generation native North Carolinian feminist, social justice advocate and creative with decades of experience in nonprofit leadership, philanthropy and social justice.