What is Progressive Parenting?

‘The Shepherdess’ parenting philosophy is based on Progressive Parenting: a phrase I coined in 2005 to describe the parenting approach I advocate.


The progressive parenting theory has its roots in attachment theory, which was originally proposed by John Bowlby who stated that an infant has a tendency to seek closeness to another person and feel secure when that person is present. Attachment theory encourages parents to listen to their babies cues and respond. It argues that any training or controlling over a baby by following a routine (such as controlled crying or sleep training) is damaging to the child and the connection they have with their parents.   Backed up by the latest research in the fields of sociology, zoology, anthropology, child psychology, neurology and psycho-history, Progressive Parenting extends the AP philosophy past the early years, and argues that parents need to continue to follow their child’s cues and unique needs, avoiding all form of discipline and punishment including time-out, rewards, praise, shame, and smacking.


Every day I help parents who want to be more progressive in their approach to move away from control and closer to connection.  Is it easy?  No, not always –parenting is a tough gig no matter what style you adopt.  No denials here.  But what this approach does promise is more joy and harmony with your brood than you ever imagined possible.  Won’t kids end up as unruly monsters?  Let’s be clear here –  parents should keep their kids safe, sociable and respectful.  But there are ways to do that without being controlling to the extent that children don’t have choices and options.  Children are still learning and figuring out their world and to do that they don’t need their requests denied and to be punished when they make mistakes; they need guidance and feedback. They need information and support. They need patience. They need to be listened to, validated and respected. They need a supporter rather than a dictator, an ally not an adversary. A wing-man. A partner. A friend.  They need doors opened to them rather than closed. They need a guide, not a policeman. They need a shepherdess.





Chaley-Ann Scott

About Chaley-Ann Scott

Chaley-Ann Scott is a parenting author, sociologist, counsellor, and mother-of-four. She writes widely on parenting and education for various publications, and is the author of The Shepherdess; A Guide to Mothering without Control.


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