The age of information and technology has brought about the ability for people to connect like never before. The world has become very small. Yet with all the connections, we have today, we are still grasping for information and answers – particularly when we are parenting our little ones.
For many new parents, their relatives are far away and there isn’t much of a support system in place as they navigate the murky waters of new parenthood. So they reach for resources and information online or through parenting books. Many of the advice that can be found on parenting today can be narrowed down to several “types” or “styles”.
Personal philosophies, parental upbringing, religious influences, and cultural expectations all play into the way a parent relates to, disciplines, and interacts with their children. Parents today may fall into any one – or two – or ten – parenting style(s). Most parents fall into one or more of the parenting styles listed below.
This philosophically based style focuses on recognizing that each child is unique. Helping children find their personal path is seen as the best way to go, as opposed to giving them a set mold to try and fit into. This philosophy believes that being true to the self will produce happy and secure individuals.
Attachment parenting has become popular in recent years. It is based on the idea that a child’s solid emotional attachment to their caregiver produces a healthier and more well-rounded child in the long run. There has been much research on attachment theory, and findings support a strong attachment to a caregiver as a child grows.
This style of parenting believes that traditional methods of discipline, rewards, and positive reinforcement teach a child that love is conditional. In this approach, parents show their children love and acceptance regardless of their behavior or actions. They try to limit enforcement of disciplinary measures to curb poor behavior, and they use rational discussion instead.
Spiritual does not mean “religious parenting” in the orderly sense. It is based more on an eastern style of spirituality that focuses on being fully present in the moment. It says that formal instruction is not as effective as simply being the role model of what you want your children to become, so they learn by example. In essence, become what you want them to be.
Many parents today may fall into this particular approach. It combines an expectation of obedience from the child with warmth and comfort from the parent. Children are expected to be respectful and responsible, while given the freedom of still being children within certain safety boundaries.
Conversely, authoritarian parents provide boundaries and expect obedience, but without the relationship and connection that children desperately need.
Permissive / Indulgent Parenting
Parents who are labeled “permissive” are sometimes criticized because of their lack of boundaries and discipline. Conversely, they tend to give their kids extra attention and comfort.
Uninvolved / Neglectful Parenting
These are parents who, true to the title, neglect their children. They provide no boundaries or structure and no emotional support for them and as a result, the children suffer.
The name is just as it sounds. These are parents that hover and smother. They tend to place their children in a bubble to keep them from harm. Helicopter parents have a reputation for doing everything for their children rather than expecting them to independently take care of their own age appropriate responsibilities. As a result, these children grow up rather spoiled and unprepared for the real world.
Do any of these seem relatable? Does anything seem to fit? Do you see yourself in one or several of these? Do any of them make you feel uncomfortable?
Finally, how were you raised? Examine your feelings about your own parents’ styles when you were raised. As parents-to-be, define a parenting style that aligns with your values, personality, and your child. Consider areas such as discipline, food, sleep care, age appropriate responsibilities as children grow, etc.
Call it what you want – give it a label if you wish. At the end of the day, let’s just call it the adventure of parenting.