What Kind of Parent are You? A Closer Look into Five Common Parenting Styles.
With so much criticism and discussion regarding parenting styles, it’s difficult to know whether one is raising their child to the best of their ability. Child rearing is difficult enough without opening oneself up to the harsh words of others when it comes to important decision making, or even general everyday practices. It’s easy to second guess, or feel inadequate when it comes to caring for those we love most. Parenting is not a clear-cut issue, and while no parenting style is perfect, all have their benefits. The following is a closer look at some of the most common styles of parenting.
Attachment parenting is known for an emphasis on closeness between the parent and child. Often attachment parents are known for breastfeeding their child longer periods of time, co-sleeping, and long-term baby wearing. Attachment parents show their child love and support through more physical, caring contact. In Psychology Today, Susan Krauss Whitbourne Ph.D. writes that this practice was first observed in WWII when psychiatrists studied children in hospitals and orphanages who were separated from their parents. Upon, “recognizing that these children needed not just food but physical contact, the caregivers noticed vast improvements in their development”. While some think this style of parenting is strange, or clingy, there are clearly benefits to emphasizing closeness to one’s child.
Helicopter parents pay very close attention to what their child is doing and learning. A helicopter parent will closely watch their child, perhaps making sure they cannot fall and hurt his/herself at the playground, and sometimes even continue to assist their child with things they are capable of doing on their own. Helicopter parents want to feel certain of their child’s safety and general well-being. An article for Goodtherapy.org explains that children of helicopter parents often feel, “supported,” “seen and known,” and have a good “sense of community and connectedness”.
Snow Plough Parenting
Are you the type of parent who likes remove conflict and take down every hurdle placed in your child’s way? Then you may just be a snow plough parent. In her article on The Conversation, author Rebecca English says a “snow-plough”” parent is one who may have, “nagged the principal for a different teacher or bribed the coach to get your child a place on the team”. This parenting style is one where the parent is interested in helping get their child ahead as best they can by making things, instead of allowing their child to make attempts on their own which could result in possible failure.
Free-range parenting is one reminiscent of days gone by, the days when kids were sent to play in the woods and neighborhoods for hours on end without a lot of supervision. In addition to a more lax attitude, free range parenting often allows the child to make his/her own decisions, and encourages children learning from their own mistakes. One woman featured in a story for the Washington Post said, “I just want to give them the same freedom and independence that I had — basically an old-fashioned childhood,” she said. “I think it’s absolutely critical for their development — to learn responsibility, to experience the world, to gain confidence and competency.” While these days many find this parenting style tough to follow-through with, psychologist David Griffin Ph.D. believes this style of parenting is worth the effort in his piece for the Huffington Post as it is important to children’s development to try things independently, at times fail, and learn from their experiences.
Authoritative parents treat their children as individuals, almost like adults at times. In addition, they tend to reason with their children, and explain consequences for their actions. They set a higher standard for their children, and expect them to make mature decisions. Gwen Dewar Ph. D. for Parenting Science says, that, “Kids raised by authoritative parents are more likely to become independent, self-reliant, socially accepted, academically successful, and well-behaved.” In many ways, this parenting style is a cross between permissive, and helicopter parenting.
It’s easy to pass judgement regarding other people’s parenting methods, but the truth is, when it comes to parenting there is no perfect way. Raising a child is a daunting task, filled with triumphs, failures, questions, and lessons learned. Most importantly, the element all of these parenting styles have in common is that they all stem from a parent’s love for their child, and also, a dedication in maintaining the well-being of their child, which is all that really matters in the end.
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