These days there seem to be so many different kinds of parenting styles. Although I can’t say I’ve ever met anyone who actually 100% fits into the extreme version of those styles. Instead, like me, most parents tend to be more of a mixture of each style in varying degrees.
Nowadays there are some pretty crunchy names for the styles of parenting out there that have replaced the more scientifically minded terms that were used in the past. Terms such as Authoritarian, Authoritative, Neglectful and Indulgent Parenting have been replaced by Attachment, Helicopter, Free-Range and Tiger Parenting. Though the exact context of each new style doesn’t fully fit into the old styles.
The Attachment Parent
Attachment Parenting would most likely resemble the old Indulgent Parenting style in that the parent is more attentive to their child’s wants and needs. The parent co-sleeps with their child, wears their child, breastfeeds their child for an extended length of time from the usual 1-2 years and generally attends to their child’s every whim.
The Helicopter Parent
The Helicopter Parent on the other hand doesn’t really fit into any of the old styles very well. My guess is that it very loosely resembles the Authoritative Parenting style. They tend to oversee everything that their child does and restrict them from doing anything dangerous or risky without hands on supervision. Children are rarely out of their parents sight for very long.
The Free-Range Parent
Whereas Free-Range Parenting does the complete opposite to the Helicopter Parent. Rather than strictly supervising their child’s every adventure, they let their child roam and be free to try new things without being fully supervised. The children of Free-Range Parents have an odd independance not found in other parenting styles. They are more confident to try things on their own and without asking for help. This is probably the style most resembling Neglectful Parenting these days going by some of the recent cases in the news of police stopping children from walking to school or the park by themselves.
The Tiger Parent
Tiger Parenting is a bit of a hard one. It most resembles the old Authoritarian style of parenting in that children are dealt with very strictly. The parents have a high standard of behaviour expectations that the children are required to meet for which there are consequences if they fail to meet them.
Putting it out like that, you can see why I don’t really think I fit any one style for myself and to be completely honest, neither does my husband. Instead we are varying degrees of each.
My Husband’s Parenting Style
My husband tends to have more shades of the last three parenting styles depending on what the situation is. The Tiger Parenting style tends to come out of him more when it comes to school work, chores, meals and bedtime. whereas the Helicopter Parenting style shows itself more when it comes to our children’s health or activities he feels might be too hard or risky for the child in question such as Celine riding or scootering to school and home by herself. He actually decided she needed a cellphone for that particular activity for safety. The rest of the time, I think he flows with the Free-Range Parenting style, particularly when it comes to general play around the house and property.
My Parenting Style
Whereas myself I have varying shades of the first three styles. I follow the Attachment style of parenting most particularly in the first year of our babies lives by co-sleeping and baby wearing. While I am more attentive to all our children’s needs than my husband is, I am probably more attentive to our baby’s needs than to our older children’s needs whom I feel are better able to do things on their own. The helicopter style tends to come out in my more Mama Bear moments such as when I feel one of my children has been wronged by another, either their own siblings or a friend or a random unknown child at the park. My husband has stronger Helicopter parenting traits than I do however.
How We Are The Same
Like my husband, I am very much a Free-Range Parent when it comes to the children’s play at home. Our children are free to play anywhere on our property within reason with the only restriction of staying inside our fencing and not fighting too much with each other. They have to ask if they can go to a friend’s house or have a friend come to play at ours. I do not hover over them when they are climbing trees or swinging or jumping on the trampoline although I do look out the window to check on them occasionally to make sure they aren’t getting into mischief and I will go out and help them if they ask for it. Obviously I don’t allow them to play with things I feel are too dangerous. They aren’t allowed in the garage for example or to play with Dad’s tools and equipment. However, this also depends on the child in question. I tend to add more active supervision for Blake and Dani than I would for Celine due to their age differences and maturity levels but I don’t feel that they all need watching 24:7 when in our own yard.
However, when we are out and about, my parenting instincts are different. If we are at the park for example, I will supervise without hovering over them but I don’t let any of my children out of my sight. I will usually position myself where I can see and talk to all of them and will move to make this possible if required as they move around to play themselves.
My Strongest Trait
The Free-Range style is probably my strongest parenting style trait with attachment as a second. I am very much of the old school style of letting children be children. I prefer to allow them to develop a level of independence. But I don’t consider myself an extremist with it. For example, Celine has only just been allowed to go to school on her own this year at the age of 8. Up until now, I would drop her off and pick her up. Either in the car or by bike or I’ll walk with her to school. But with starting work this year, I have allowed her the independence she has been asking for. To ride or scooter to school and to home by herself. With the expectation that she goes straight to school and comes straight home without dallying or stopping to hang out with her friends. I know exactly how long it takes her to get from home to school and school to home. If she is not there in that time frame she knows she will lose that independence. Of course she is not completely unsupervised in this time. There are many nosey neighbours watching along her and other children travelling the same way from the same direction. I also keep an eye out for her when taking Blake and Dani to kindy.
Differences In Style Between Children
In complete opposition to this, Blake will be starting school at the end of this year and I will be taking him to school and back as I did with Celine when she first started. In fact, the first 2 years of Celine’s schooling I used to walk her in and out of school. It was only the third year of school (last year) that I allowed Celine to walk into and out of school from and to the car on her own. I’m not sure how things will work when Blake starts school. Possibly it may depend on Celine’s mood as to whether I drop off and pick her up at the same time as Blake or if she goes on her own steam.
What kind of mix of parenting styles do you think you have?