couples

"I am every kind of 'parenting style'."

I refuse to label my parenting as any one ‘style’.

Parenting styles are a thing now. In our ultra-savvy, over-marketed world, we feel the need to label everything.

However, I’m calling it.

There are too many labels for parenting styles floating around and I myself refuse to be locked into just one. It belittles everything I do and say and over-simplifies my entire life.

I have no agenda when it comes to raising our kids. Let’s face it, most of us don’t have a real plan. We just take each minute, hour, week and month as it comes, doing our best while ‘experts’ try and label our performance, telling us what’s ‘right’ about it and what’s ‘wrong’.

Off the top of my head, the following parent styles have been discussed in this way. Please let me know if I have missed any. Because there are so many.

Tiger Mums.

Lighthouse Parents (which I think is the same as No-Rescue Parent).

French Parenting.

Helicopter Mums.

Attachment Parent.

Authoritative Parent.

Free-range Mums.

What I want to remind everyone is that WE ARE ALL PARENTING STYLES AT DIFFERENT TIMES OF THE DAY.

We are just parents, no labels required.

I'll give you an example.

Today is a school day, so I Authoritative Parent my kids endlessly. When I say it's time to get up, I expect them to get up. When I tell them to brush their teeth and put their school uniforms on, I expect it done well with no arguments. There is no time for anything else. Our mornings are executed with military precision. Military Parents. Is that a thing yet?

As I drive them to school in the car I am Attachment Parent. (For the 16 things you need to know about attachment parenting, click here.) We spend the entire time talking about school, about their lives, about their likes and dislikes and tell each other how much we love each other a million times. I hold their hands at red lights, stroke their hair and demand kisses and cuddles at school drop off.

While they are at school I am Working Mum. I work from home which means when I take a 'break' from work I am doing housework. There are pros and cons to working from home. I do love that I can hear their school bell from my house. I know exactly when they are having recess and lunch and when they are getting ready to come home.

Here, I am attempting to be a Lighthouse Parent but I am fighting Helicopter urges.

After they arrive home from school, it's Free-Range time. They wander around the house and backyard entertaining themselves, unwinding from the day and just hanging out. I don't interact with them much at this time. I want them to chill for a couple of hours. They walk in from the school bus on their own (it stops at the end of our driveway) and they free-range their way through the front door and get their own snacks, make their own decisions while I tie up any loose ends.

ADVERTISEMENT

At 4.30pm most afternoons, it's time for our many and varied after school activities. Tiger Mum time. (Click here for more on Tiger mums.) We do art, Taekwondo, swimming and soccer. I expect them all to do well. It's not just that these activities cost hundreds and hundreds of dollars, it's that I want my children to strive and achieve, especially when it is something important and something I know they can do well. They are lucky to be able to do these activities so I expect them to put in plenty of effort and get results.

At family functions and birthday parties, I am a Lighthouse Parent. I sit back as they wander off and participate and I only get up for screaming and bleeding. I enjoy watching them make their own choices about what to do, what to eat and where to go. I know when they need me. The rest of the time I hold back.

For homework and after-school activities that can be expensive, it's Tiger Mum time!

At dinner time, I am French Mum. Other meals I'm less strict about. I'm happy for them to eat something reasonable for breakfast, to choose their own after school snack but dinner time is sacred. We sit down at the dinner table together every single night. We eat together. But I don't force them to eat everything. There is no cleaning of the plates. I want them to listen to their own body's signals of hunger and fullness. All I ask is that they try everything, including the broccoli. Then and only then can they be excused from the dinner table. So they are hungry for dinner, they only get to choose one snack after school. We enjoy ourselves, talk about food, share each other's company and reconnect.

At the shops, at public parks, at fetes, circuses and fun fairs, I'm an unashamedly a Helicopter Parent. I hover and protect and defend and completely focus on keeping my children safe. We have fun but I am firm and everyone is suspect.

After dinner, for homework and bedtime I am back to being Authoritative Mum. There is a little window of Attachment Parenting after homework and before bedtime and then I'm done.

Then I'm Exhausted Parent.

When it comes to parenting labels, we are everything and we are nothing. We are just parents. So let's call ourselves that. Let's leave the fancy labels for the more important things like shoes, wine and chocolate.

How many different parent styles do you go through in one day?

Want more? Try:

The longer you're a parent, the more you realise that "perfect" doesn't exist.

The photo that has Madonna being labelled a bad parent.

00:00 / ???