Have you ever heard that voice inside your head saying that you’re a worthless parent? Or a “bad mom?”
That you’re too soft or too strict, buying too much or working too much, involved too much or not involved enough?
People parent their children differently. Some good, some bad, some not at all, but the bottom line is, we all have our own soundtrack, our own styles when it comes to parenting.
And our parenting style affects everything, from how kids feel about themselves to even how much they weigh. It’s important to ensure that your parenting style is supporting healthy child development — physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Here are some different parenting styles, and what they mean for your family:
The Drill Sergeant Parent
Raise your hands if the following statements are true to you:
- You believe it’s “my way or the highway” when it comes to rules
- You believe kids should be seen, not heard
- You shout, tell off, and punish
If these statements are true, then you’re a drill sergeant parent, also known as the authoritarian, the tiger, or the boss parent. You expect obedience at all times, excellence in every situation, and a child who never talks back. You lead your child with a set of clearly defined do’s and don’ts.
Of course, you often have a good reason for scolding your kids. That’s because you believe it’s your responsibility to teach them what’s right and wrong and to prepare them for life. According to research, however, this parenting type breeds children who have little to no confidence in themselves, and are unhappy and unfriendly.
The Oblivious Parent
This is what oblivious parents, also called permissive parents, often say: “He’s just a kid. That’s what kids do.” They’re basically the parent who’s too busy talking to other parents to notice their kid has pretty much beaten every kid at the playground.
The oblivious parent is the permissive type, who’s very lax and has a lenient attitude toward parenting. They’re known to be indulgent. This type of parent is always there to listen and support their kids, but find it hard to discipline and reprimand them.
While permissive parents are extremely responsive and affectionate, they don’t expect much from their kids. And according to psychologists, they also don’t offer much in the way of advice or guidelines.
Research shows that an oblivious parent leads to kids lacking in self-control and having low academic achievement.
The Prince-Princess Parent
Yes, we can see that your one-year-old can already count to ten on their own. Yes, we can hear your child reciting a poem at the age of six. Yes, we can see that your toddler is no longer in diapers. Good for you.
The Prince-Princess Parent thinks their child is a special snowflake. Yes, your little one is special — but so is every other kid out there. They’re not exceptional enough to skip homework or to not follow school policies.
Your kids are the people you treasure the most. But you must also accept that the policies apply to all children, even yours.
The Helicopter Parent
You’re a helicopter parent if you step in to prevent your child’s every struggle. You are too involved in your child’s education and you frequently call the teacher when things come up, or just because.
Psychologist Foster Cline and Jim Fay, an education consultant, coined the term “helicopter parent” in their book titled Parenting with Love and Logic. According to the book, helicopter parents are confused about the difference between showing love and saving children from themselves.
Also called the no-boundaries parent, this parenting style is a variation of the drill sergeant approach — only it’s less strict, and hands-on parental involvement is taken a step further.
Often, children of helicopter parents become easily anxious and lack resilience.
The MIA Parent
The MIA (missing-in-action) or ghost parent is characterized by a lack of presence at afterschool games, parent-teacher meetings, fundraisers, and award ceremonies. This often makes teachers a bit nervous, because connected parents often make successful students.
Your reasons for not attending school programs can vary — you may be very busy or have other younger children at home who require most of your attention. This is understandable, but it’s also good to take the time to touch base with teachers at parent’s night and to show support to your child.
The Extracurricular Parent
The extracurricular parent is a mom or dad who puts their child into afterschool programs, which are growing in popularity. Afterschool programs include supplementary courses, piano lessons, sports activities, STEM clubs, and dance.
The extracurricular parent is ambitious. If you have this parenting style, you want your kid to excel in multiple intelligences quickly, and you’re supportive of their performance.
This parenting style provides tons of benefits for your child; participation in quality afterschool programs, after all, is associated with better conduct in school and better grades, as well as improved social-emotional skills.
The Free-Range Parent
As a free-range parent, you believe your role is to equip your child with the skills, back off, and simply trust them with their decisions. You raise your children to function independently with little parental supervision. It’s the opposite of helicopter parenting and was popularized by pediatrician Benjamin Spock.
You believe that when you protect and shelter your kids too much, you stunt their growth and their development of their ability to cope with challenges later in life.
The Parenting Footprint: What’s in a Style?
Do any of the listed types describe your approach? Are you happy with your style? Are you repeating the things you once told yourself you’d never do to your own kid?
This article provides you an inside look into your relationship with your child. It might let you realize that you’re using the right approach, or that you need to improve some areas. Either way, it has some important information that will make you more confident as you go on your parenthood journey.
Just remember that as a parent, you’re leaving footprints on your children, the same way you had footprints left you on by your parents. These footprints may be positive, neutral, or negative, or a combination of the three — but we’re leaving our legacy to our kids and our future grandchildren every day.
So it’s not a question of if you’re parenting the right way. The real question is: What parenting footprint do you want to leave?
Pamela writes about anything. Whether it’s cats, tech, food, or why the best burrito comes from places you don’t expect to serve burrito, there’s always something worth to write about in every experience. She perfects strategies for Snakes & Ladders in her free time. Check her work at theurbapear.com.
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