Recent weeks have brought my parenting style sharply into focus – and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. In any other job you periodically review how you’re tracking, so why not your greatest role of all?
In the need to keep everything neatly squared off, sociologists and marketers have coined terms for three common parenting styles. While we all know that nothing is ever black and white, these terms offer a good conversation starting point:
Helicopter: A parent who continually ‘hovers’ over their children, rarely out of reach, whether their children need them or not.
Lawnmover: Instead of hovering over their children, lawnmower parents get out in front and try to clear the way for them. They attempt to remove obstacles and challenges before their kids face them.
Free Range: The goal of free range parenting is to take a commonsense approach to raise safe, self-reliant and independent children.
By nature I’m a worrier. Team that with an overactive imagination and I sometimes veer into helicopter territory. Pre-rugrat I would have been aghast at the thought of ever being one of those parents, but society’s collective pressures and fears mean it’s easy to fall into the trap of ‘over-parenting’ – even when you only ever have the best intentions.
Last year I had the chance to see the most well known free range mum, Lenore Skenazy, speak. I’m still feeling the ripple effect of this seminar. In fact, recent events have made me very deliberately change tack and consciously let go. I’ve realised that by doing this I can create a space for Alfie to fly higher. And you know what? This new view of the world is just as freeing for me, as it is for him.
What type of parent are you?
What do you like best about how you parent?
Is there anything you would like to change about your parenting style?