real life

The parenting style experts say is "the best way to raise your kids".

Move over Tiger Mum, German Mum, Helicopter Mum, French Mum, Elephant Mum and every other style of mum.

We have good news. No matter what your parenting style, it is never too late to do better and the ‘experts’ are more than ready to tell us exactly where we have been going wrong and how to parent in the future.

It is called….drum roll please….Lighthouse Parenting.

What the?

Please explain.

Lighthouse Parenting is the label given to parents who act as “beacons of light on a stable shoreline from which they can safely navigate the world”. At least, that is the explanation given by founder Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg who has released a book called Raising Kids to Thrive. 

Yes, yes, we DO want our kids to THRIVE (and clean their rooms and do as they are told and have good manners and eat their veggies and flush the toilet after they use it).

Lighthouse Parents are like a light that guides the ships at night.

Dr. Ginsburg told the ABC that Lighthouse Mums understand that "kids sometimes learn from failure". He urges us all to forget about extreme styles of parenting and instead step back and let our children grow, sort of like those parents who film their kids falling off things and send the clips into Funniest Home Videos, instead of putting the damn camera down and actually preventing their kids from falling. Subsequently, the child will learn not to climb onto the furniture/rock formations.

Just in case you doubt the effectiveness of Dr. Ginsburg's proposed parenting style, you should note that he wrote the book with his twin teenage daughters. It also includes specific suggestions such as:

* Make sure your children know you love them unconditionally.

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* Set your expectations on their character not their performance.

* Strike a balance between acceptance and guidance.

* Think long-term. "When we raise kids in a balanced way, we're gonna raise kids who are gonna be successful when they're 35," Dr. Ginsberg explains.

It's starting to make a bit of sense, particularly when applied to teens. So mums and dads, you can put down the camera and prevent the kids from falling. Phew.

I am a lighthouse, I am a lighthouse, I am a lighthouse...(mum mumbles to herself, rocking back and forth, as son attempts dangerous stunt).

So parents, it's time to forget about perfection, forget about perfect scores and perfect results. Look at the morality your child displays instead of test scores. Are they good people? Do they demonstrate good social conscience? What have they learned from their failures?

And that's it. That's Lighthouse Parenting in a nutshell. Add it to the list, put it in a hat with the other parenting styles and pick one out or slightly skew your parenting style to be more in line with one that focuses on raising good people who do the right thing, as opposed to over-achievers that step over anyone and anything to get what they want.

We're looking at you Tiger Mum.

Do you think Lighthouse Parenting sounds like a good idea? How would you describe your current parenting style?

Want more? Try:

Move over Tiger Mum. It's the German Mum we all want to be like.

These are 24 of my greatest parenting fails.