Can We Stop Labeling Parenting Styles?
Erin Burt1 comment
I think that most people will agree that parenting is difficult. Whether you have one child or five, a how-to guide was not included on the ride home from the hospital and right then and there you embarked on the learning adventure of a lifetime. It is an ever-evolving process where the main goal is keeping your little ones safe, healthy and happy and how this is accomplished is different for everybody.
By the time they are a year old, I’d like to think that we have some better understanding as to who we are as parents but new scenarios will arise and what we thought we had figured out…well, turns out not at all. What worked for one situation doesn’t for another, and there is no one-size-fits-all for parenting.
Because of this, I find issue with the labeling of parenting styles. The problem with labels is that they box something into a category, and parenting is far from something being so simple. Most people have heard the term “Helicopter Parent” that evokes images of the overbearing and smothering mom or dad that interjects more-than-necessary urging kids in a certain direction. From this, the concept of the “Lawn Mower Parent” evolved and they are deemed as more aggressive by essentially plowing ahead and clearing a path for their child before they even take a step.
Opposing the tenacity of the aforementioned is the supposed “Free Range Parent” where parents let kids have independence and the freedom to make their own mistakes. And let’s not forget the coined “Lighthouse Parent” that is the steadfast beacon providing guidance, but only the right amount, for their children.
There are so many other labels out there and I don’t know about you, but for me I have easily been each of these “types” at least one time or another. Sometimes you have to be your child’s advocate when it comes to matters, at school for instance, where you may have to show some tenacity to get things done. Does this make you a Lawnmower Parent? Or other times, your kid may come home from school upset because they got in a fight with their best friend. As a parent, you may handle the situation by offering some advice and extra snuggles but ultimately you stay out of it and let them work it out amongst themselves. Are you then deemed the Free-Range Parent who lets your kid figure every situation out on their own? Absolutely not; what it does make you is a caring and involved parent who steps in or stays on the sidelines when necessary.
Very little bothers me more than being called a helicopter mom, because though I am at times, it doesn’t define me as a parent. We are all of mash-up of the various parenting styles and figuring it out as we go along. So instead of all the different labels, how about we just keep it simple and knowing that we all have to wear many different hats at many different times we just call ourselves…parents.
Lisa is a baby-wearing, breastfeeding, cloth diapering mama. She loves running, yoga, craft beer and realizes that she has nothing figured out about parenting at any given time but tries her hardest.