There were no definitions, no influx of information. You were raised. Point blank. Nowadays we have so much information at our fingertips that it may seem a little overwhelming. Tiresome to be honest. Being a parent now comes with definitions, titles, explanations, and “how-to” lists.
What exactly are the parenting trends of today? And how do we know if we fit into any of the categories? Let’s explore…
Helicopter parentingWe’ve all heard this term before. Picture yourself hovering over your children, constantly at their sides, taking care of every little detail, making sure there is little to no room for mistakes and bumps and bruises along the way, interfering in all they do. Smothering the life out of them. It is said that children raised in an environment such as this, become too dependant on their parents, never brave enough to venture into the world on their own.
Lawnmower parenting is an excessive form of over-involvement in our children’s lives, with special attention to the need to remove all obstacles from their paths. Picture yourself frantically running in front of your child “mowing” down any obstacle in their way. Protecting them from any form of distress. Smoothing over every rough edge in their way. Children raised in this way become fearful of the unknown, unable to deal with the curveballs that life throws at them, and quite entitled to having problems solved on their behalf rather than by them.
Sometimes I think that this is what parenting must have been like in the “Baby Boomer” days. Just going with your gut and most times just winging it. This was probably set in place by the way we were raised or influenced by what we saw around us. Trusting your instincts to do what you thought was best. Children who are raised in this way may face the risk of becoming impulsive and inconsistent in how they process and deal with difficult situations.
Authoritative parenting seems to be making a come back. Parenting in a way that entails rules and guidelines with the expectations that these need to be followed. However, I do feel that this form of parenting has become rather democratic, parents are more understanding when it comes to the set expectations not being met. They tend to be more responsive in communicating their disappointment and following through with assertive discipline rather than intensive punishment. Children who are raised in this way may well grow up with a tendency to accept authority for what it is and with not as much willingness to question the status quo.
Attachment parenting is all about forming a strong emotional bond. These parents choose to meet their child’s needs immediately, by opening themselves up emotionally to their children at all times. By doing so they hope to raise peaceful, empathetic children. According to some statistics, it is believed that attachment parents advocate strongly for natural childbirth, co-sleeping; and are supporters of the anti-vaccinations movement.
Ever heard of that saying, my child is my best friend? Well, this is where permissive parenting fits in. Parents who adopt this particular style have relatively low expectations/demands of their children. Rarely disciplining and can come across as being indulgent. These parents avoid confrontation and are seen as nurturing and communicative. The dangers, in this case, are that children may grow up to have low expectations of themselves and others and that they may not be able to cope with criticism in the work-place or at home.
Tiger parenting is an incredibly autocratic, strict and demanding form of parenting. Tiger parents are forceful and pressure their children into achieving high levels of academic achievement or success in high-status extracurricular activities. It is seen that there is no rest for children raised in this environment.
So, what parenting style do you fit into?
I personally don’t believe that as parents we can fit into just one of the above-mentioned parenting styles. At most, I think that some of us are a mixture of some of these and that many overlapping points can be seen in parenting today.
We shouldn’t be stressing out so much. We should be helicopter parents, we live in a frightening world, after all. We should to a certain degree help educate our children on how to “mow” the obstacles out of their way. Encouraging them to use their instincts in the decisions they make. Allowing them the freedom to be authoritative in the choices they decide on, all the while keeping the communication open. We want them to be emotionally open and empathetic to others and themselves. Following their instincts through their journey of life. Achieving all they can in life, and setting high standards for themselves.
So, my advice… Parenting doesn’t come with a handbook or an easy-to-follow recipe. Ditch all the labels and try to adopt the best of each parenting style. Forget about all the pressure and just enjoy being a parent. Some days will be perfect, and some days will suck!!!! In the end, your children will know that they are loved beyond all measure, and that’s what truly matters most.
Jacqui Bester is firstly a wife, and mom to five rambunctious children who drive her nuts and fill her heart with unspeakable joy all in the space of a single day. She writes about her day to day adventures and misadventures in parenting, life and marriage. Jacqui is known for sharing a brutally honest account of her MESSY “mamahood”… the joy, the fun, the laughter and the tears. She enjoys a good mystery-crime novel with a lovely glass of red wine, trying out new foods and restaurants with her hubby on the odd date-night, exploring new places, learning new skills, and generally anything else that calls for a more adventurous approach to life. You can find her over on One Messy Mama.