What’s Your Parenting Style?


What’s your parenting style? Are you happy with the results you get from your interaction with your children? What about with your spouse? Do the two of you work well together or do you have oppositive ways of parenting that results in arguments and resentments?

This doesn’t have to spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R for your family. Even complete opposites can learn how to work together by focusing on each other’s strengths and compensating for each other’s weaknesses.

Parenting styles can be categorized into four main styles that correspond to a balance of “love and limits” that include:

* Rejecting/Neglecting Style: Low Love and Low Limits.

* Authoritarian Style: Low Love and High Limits.

* Permissive Style: High Love and Low Limits.

* Democratic or Balanced Style: High Love and High Limits.

“Love and limits” are terms that describe a parents discipline orientation. Parents who are oriented toward a “relational discipline orientation” are said to use love as their primary style of parenting. Parents who use “action discipline orientation” are said to use limits as their primary style of parenting.

All parents incorporate both love and limits in their style of parenting. It is the balance of love and limits that determine a parent’s particular style. Only the democratic or balanced parenting style have both high love and high limits. In addition, each style has strengths and weaknesses inherent in them and are learned from the important parental figures in our lives. These figures are usually our own parents.

Parents who use love as their primary style (permissive parents) consider love to be more important than limits. They also use the attachment and their bond with their child to teach right from wrong. They spend a lot of time with the child communicating, negotiating, and reasoning. Their value is on “increasing their child’s self-esteem” or “making them feel special.”

Parents who use limits as their primary style (authoritarian parents) consider limits as more important than love (relationship). They use an external control to teach right from wrong and are quick to act on a discipline problem. Consequently, children are usually quick to react and rarely get their parents to negotiate. The value is on “teaching respect” and “providing structure.”

Parenting styles are defined as the “manner in which parents express their beliefs about how to be a good or bad parent. All parents (at least 99%) want to be a good parent and avoid doing what they consider to be a bad parent. Parents adopt the styles of parenting learned from their parents because

1) They don’t know what else to do


2) They feel that this is the right way to parent.

You can learn how to balance love in limits in your relationships using our Family Healer School ecourse “Parenting Styles: How to Balance Love and Limits” (CLICK HERE). 

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Bossy Children

by Ron Huxley, LMFT

Are you tired of power struggling with your children? Do they believe they are the parent and boss their siblings around (and maybe you too)? Many children have a natural leadership tendency that need parents to direct in a healthy, non-annoying direction. 

Try playing a game I call “Follow the Leader” to create more democratic relationships. Invite children to take turns leading the way or overseeing an activity to give them more focused leadership skills and then allowing the natural, low energy followers a chance to be in charge. If you are taking a walk around the block or going into the store, have one child direct the rest of the group or spice it up and have them walk in a “funny way” that everyone has to emulate. It’s goofy but it will reign in those high energy children by making a daily challenge fun. Perhaps the leader can choose a song to sing in the car on the way to school or pick the board game for the night. Choose a day of the week that each child gets to pick out the book for bed time or the desert after dinner. After a while each child will know what day is there day and the group will manage itself (instead of mom or dad playing mediator). Even the quiet ones will assert: “This is my day to pick, not yours.” As the parent, you can also state: “This is your sisters day to pick the desert. Your day is tomorrow.” This will provide more parenting power. The game/rule/day will be the bad guy, not you. It is easy to argue with you and hard to argue with the “rule.” It also eliminates the dreaded “because I said so” statements. No one wins with that statement!

Strong willed children will still want to dominate but you have to set a new, fairer precedent that allows everyone a chance to pick, talk, control. As the parent, you guide your children with this game/parenting style and step out of the emotional tug-o-war. Use this tactic whenever the bossy child starts to become the dictator. Be creative with the game. Short cycles taking turns might be necessary to prevent meltdowns and don’t let those low energy children give up their turn to the more dominant ones. It is easy for natural followers to let others take charge but they need to be empowered too! 

Parenting Styles and the Effect they have on Children

Parenting is sometimes referred to as the hardest job in the world. Although there are millions of parenting books, your individual child is not born with a “how to raise me manual.”

By Carnigee Truesdale

Source: http://www.psychiatry.emory.edu/PROGRAMS/GADrug/effect_on_children.html

Most parents look to their own parents, their friends and parental experts with questions they have on how to be an effective parent. Naturally, every parent has traits that they admire as well as a value system they wish to instill to enable their child to mature into a successful and morally just adult. However, parents partake in different methods to achieve the same goal. Unfortunately, not all methods are conducive in raising a healthy individual and may have a severe impact on child development.

Psychologist, Ron Huxley believes parenting styles are defined as the “manner in which parents express their beliefs about how to be a "good” or “bad” parent.“ He says that parents adopt styles of parenting learned from their parents because they do not know what else to do and because they feel that their way of parenting is the right way (The Four Styles of Parenting-personal communication, June 5, 2001).

There are four basic styles of parenting each having an effect on child development. The first is the rejecting/neglecting style of parenting. The rejecting/neglecting parent rarely sets limits or shows positive affection (Huxley, 2001). Typically, the rejecting/neglecting parent is frequently absent or pre-occupied with social and environmental disruptions (work, divorce, illness, alcoholism, etc.) (Dr. Stein, Impact of Parenting Styles on Children, June 5, 2001). According to Dr. Stein, children of rejecting/neglecting parents may lack the ability to form close relationships, feel unloved, helpless and isolated. Children may even develop bitter, hostile and anxious feelings (Stein, 2001).

The second parenting style is the authoritarian parent who is very restrictive, punitive and shows little positive affection. Authoritarian parents are very strict and encourage perfectionism. Physical punishment is sometimes used for discipline or training. Dr. Stein believes children of authoritarian parents develop self-guilt and self-hatred that could lead to low self-esteem (2001).

The third parenting style is the permissive parent who shows a lot of positive affection but rarely disciplines or sets limits. Within this parental dimension the roles are often switched. The child has control and manipulates the parents, and the parents become the children. Sometimes a permissive parent may shower the child with gifts and certain privileges without regard to the child’s specific needs. Permissive parents may also submit to the child’s demands, temper tantrums or impulsivity to calm the child. Children of permissive parents fail to take initiative, ignore the rights and respect for others and lose responsibility (Stein, 2001).

The last parenting style is authoritative or democratic/balanced. The authoritative parent exhibits high amounts of positive affection and disciplinarian techniques. The authoritative parental style is based on democratic concepts such as equality and trust. Parents and children are equal in terms of their needs for respect and self-worth but not in terms of responsibility and making decisions (Huxley, 2001). Children of authoritative parents feel secure, accepted, have autonomy and find satisfaction in achievement and contribution (Stein, 2001).

It appears that modeling and imitation may have the most beneficial effect on childhood development. Dr. Firestone believes that the modeling effect derived from the child’s daily living with their parental figures who themselves should consistently behave in a responsible manner, is more important than specific training or disciplinary measures (1990). Toxic personality traits in parents not only have a profoundly destructive effect on children directly, but the negative qualities are passed on to succeeding generations through the process of identification and imitation (Firestone, 1990). Instead of turning to everyone else for answers on how to be an effective parent, parents should look within themselves first and become the person they want their children to emulate.

Helicopter Parenting

Helicopter parents think they are protecting their children from harm and are standing up for their child to make sure they get their well-deserved special treatment The truth is that helicopter parents are doing their children more harm than good, are potentially stifling the creativity and emotional development of the children and often embarrassing them.

What is helicopter parenting?

Helicopter parenting was originally described by famed author, child psychologist, psychotherapist and parent educator, Haim G. Ginott (1922-1973). He is known as author of the 1965 best-selling book “Between Parent and Child.” Ginott is credited with the first published reference to helicopter parenting in his 1969 best-seller, “Between Parent and Teenager.” In the book, Ginott mentions a teenager who complained to him, “Mother hovers over me like a helicopter.” Helicopter parenting is described very simply by Positive-Parenting-Ally as parents who “seem to ‘hover’ over their children in an effort of trying to control their lives in order to protect them from harm, disappointment, or mistakes.” They do their child’s daily homework and keep them safe by insisting that they be excused from activities where they could get hurt, in the opinion of the parent. So the child is often left on the sidelines when other kids in the physical education class are playing soccer or are taught gymnastics routines.

Helicopter parents demand to speak to the teacher “right now” even after school personnel tell the parent that the teacher is in class. The parent feels entitled to special treatment and should not have to wait for anything. Their child should also not have to wait. Their child should be first in line to receive rewards or to engage in an activity and their child should be seen first at medical or dental appointments, even if there are children who need more urgent care than theirs. Helicopter parents may think they are protecting their children, but they are actually hurting their children, possibly for a lifetime.

Who are the helicopter parents?

Mothers are overwhelmingly more likely to be guilty of helicopter parenting than dads and are also more likely to go to extremes to circumvent rules for their children. Moms more often refuse to let their children make mistakes, be given a bad grade or to perform in the ballet recital without the helicopter mom interfering and complaining. The helicopter parent feels the need to constantly come to their child’s rescue. They complain that their children are not treated fairly, that the child received a bad grade not because of poor effort or incorrect answers but because the teacher does not like their child. Other children are chosen for teams, school plays or recitals because the coach likes the other children better, not because the child of the helicopter mom does not have the necessary skills.

Helicopter parents, particularly mothers, are easily identifiable at an early age and typically interfere by the time a child starts school. There are differences between the types of behaviors exhibited by helicopter moms and helicopter dads. The fathers are so consumed by overall status and career path that they may skip going to the teacher or coach and go straight to the top with his complaints and even threats. Helicopter moms are busy working behind the scenes, manipulating and dominating to get the special treatment for their child that the mother thinks her child deserves, even though none of the other children in the class or on the team get that specific treatment or benefit demanded by helicopter mom. She is likely to threaten teachers and coaches directly, often telling them if they do not give her child what she wants, she will see to it that the teacher or coach gets fired.

Effects of helicopter parenting on the children

The results of helicopter parenting can leave a child with serious deficiency in some life skills and with poor emotional health. The U.K. Daily Mail reported on a study that found children of helicopter parents are “more likely to be depressed,” and to have difficulty getting along well with others. The children have less self-confidence than peers and are more likely to have anxiety issues, according to results of the study. This coincides with other findings on the effects of helicopter parenting. The Family Education Network quotes Ohio State University associate professor of child and adolescent psychiatry, Dr. Hiasako M. Koizumi, who explains that the helicopter mom “interferes with normal child development. She manages their environment to the extent that she prevents them from learning how to handle stress, inhibits healthy exploration, denies the growth of autonomy, limits self-confidence, and nurtures socially isolated and inadequate teenagers.”

Many other professionals stress the detrimental effects that helicopter parenting has on children and that the effects are long-term, potentially affecting the child throughout their entire life. Children of helicopter parents often exhibit a lack of confidence to accomplish anything independently. Some children may grow up unable to make crucial decisions on their own, while others recognize the helicopter parenting and are embarrassed by their parent’s behavior. Other children grow up with a sense of entitlement, stemming from the special treatment demanded by their parents throughout their childhood.

Helicopter parents are always there…always

Helicopter parents bully other parents, teachers, coaches and anyone else who they feel is the cause of their child not having the best grades, not being first in line and not being recognized more than other children. They also display hovering behaviors when a child spends the night at a friend’s house, when their children go off to summer camp or on a school field trip. Even when not physically with their child, helicopter mom is still there…hovering. Some summer camps have actually started hiring staff whose job duties are to deal with all the telephone calls from helicopter parents who call to request special treatment for their child and who demand that staff supply their child with certain items that the other campers are not given.

Helicopter parents do not stop when the child enters adulthood

Just because a child graduates high school does not mean helicopter parenting stops. Some grown children feel the hovering even after going off to college or after getting married and living on their own as an adult. The extremes that helicopter parents go to so they can still hover over their adult children is demonstrated in the ABC-News report “Helicopter Parents Hover Over Kids’ Lives,” which states that up to 60% of college students have at least one helicopter parent. The extremes that some parents have gone to includes a confession by one college student who reported that his parents installed a nanny-cam on his computer. Jim Settle, co-author of the study on helicopter parenting of college students stated that the parents installed the nanny-cam “so the parents were able to watch their son 24 hours a day.” Other parents have logged on to their college-aged children’s social media pages to keep track of what they are doing and with whom and have make repeated calls to university administrators over minor disputes and even to complain over the food served to their child on campus.

College is not the only place that helicopter parents hover after their child reaches adulthood. They are right there to “help” their child get a job, which usually backfires when the human resources officer or hiring manager gets a call from mommy. When the adult who has been victim of a helicopter parent throughout childhood does get a job, there are likely to be issues with keeping the job, difficulty accepting criticism or a sense of entitlement, expecting more favorable treatment than co-workers.

Are you a helicopter parent?

Helicopter parents often refuse to admit to being a helicopter parent. They usually see nothing wrong with their actions, as in the case of the mother who called the college dining hall to complain about her daughter being served chicken that was too salty. The mother said making the call was the right thing to do. Other parents do not recognize that they are guilty of helicopter parenting. Baby Zone offers a quick, 10-question quiz so parents can determine if they are a helicopter parent. If you are, back off and let your child be a child and if grown, let the child be an adult. Let the child fall, fail the math test or not get chosen for the lead in the school play. Johnny will learn to dust himself off and go back to playing football and Suzy will learn to study harder for the next test. Children need to make mistakes and learn from them instead of having a hovering parent “protecting” them from living a normal life. Children who learn from mistakes and who learn to make decisions on their own are more likely to develop positive self-esteem and not grow up with a sense of entitlement or lack of confidence.

Source: http://nobullying.com/helicopter-parents/

Parental Punishment Cause Children’s Anxiety

Parents who regularly punish or dismiss their children’s anxieties could be setting their kids up for obesity, warns a new study.

That’s because kids who fail to learn how to regulate their negative emotions – a skill that can be fostered by affirmative parenting – are more likely to turn to food for comfort, which can eventually lead to obesity.

That’s the overarching conclusion of a University of Illinois study, which found a connection between poor parenting skills, defined in the study as “insecure parents,” and a child’s propensity for consuming junk food.

“The study found that insecure parents were significantly more likely to respond to their children’s distress by becoming distressed themselves or dismissing their child’s emotion,” said lead author Kelly Bost.

“For example, if a child went to a birthday party and was upset because of a friend’s comment there, a dismissive parent might tell the child not to be sad, to forget about it. Or the parent might even say: Stop crying and acting like a baby or you’re never going over again.”

Instead, parents should learn to help their children describe what they’re feeling and work on problem-solving strategies with them.

Insecure parenting was also related to “comfort feeding,” as well as fewer mealtimes and more screen time, all known factors that have been linked to unhealthy eating habits and childhood obesity.

For the study, 497 parents of toddlers ages two and three were asked to answer 32 questions that gauged the nature of their relationship to the children. Parents were also asked to rate themselves on a scale that measured depression and anxiety.

They then responded to questions about how they handled their children’s negative emotions, family mealtimes, and the estimated hours of TV viewing a day.

Meanwhile, a study out of The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto released last year also found that preschool children are less likely to be obese if they live in a safe neighborhood and within walking distance of parks and retail services.

Read more: http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/how-parenting-styles-can-lead-to-childhood-obesity-1.1671384#ixzz2sYgP40gj

(via How parenting styles can lead to childhood obesity | CTV News)

Parenting: Don’t Praise Your Children!

Let’s start with the purpose of praise: to encourage children to continue to engage in positive behaviors that produce positive outcomes. Now you can start to see the problems with “good job!” First, it lacks specificity. It doesn’t tell children what precisely they did well and without that information they can’t know exactly what they should do in the future to get the same outcome. Second, “good job!” focuses on the outcome rather than the process. If you’re going to be lazy with your praise, at least say, “Good effort!” because it focuses them on what they did to do a good job.

Unfortunately, many parents have been misguided by the “self-esteem movement,” which has told them that the way to build their children’s self-esteem is to tell them how good they are at things. Unfortunately, trying to convince your children of their competence will likely fail because life has a way of telling them unequivocally how capable or incapable they really are through success and failure.

The reality is that children don’t need to be told “good job!” when they have done something well; it’s self-evident. They do need to be told why they did well so they can replicate that behavior in the future to get the same positive outcome.

Research has shown that how you praise your children has a powerful influence on their development. The Columbia University researchers Claudia Mueller and Carol Dweck found that children who were praised for their intelligence, as compared to their effort, became overly focused on results. Following a failure, these same children persisted less, showed less enjoyment, attributed their failure to a lack of ability (which they believed they could not change), and performed poorly in future achievement efforts. Says Dweck: “Praising children for intelligence makes them fear difficulty because they begin to equate failure with stupidity.”

Too much praise of any sort can also be unhealthy. Research has found that students who were lavished with praise were more cautious in their responses to questions, had less confidence in their answers, was less persistent in difficult assignments, and less willing to share their ideas.

Children develop a sense of competence by seeing the consequences of their actions, not by being told about the consequences of their actions. The researchers Mueller and Dweck found that children who were praised for their effort showed more interest in learning, demonstrated greater persistence and more enjoyment, attributed their failure to lack of effort (which they believed they could change), and performed well in subsequent achievement activities. Rewarding effort also encouraged them to work harder and to seek new challenges. Adds the Clark University researcher Wendy Grolnick: “Parental encouragement of learning strategies helps children build a sense of personal responsibility for control over-their academic careers.”

Based on these findings, you should avoid praising your children about areas over which they have no control. This includes any innate and unalterable ability such as intelligence, physical attractiveness, or athletic or artistic gifts. You should direct your praise to areas over which your children have control-effort, attitude, responsibility, commitment, discipline, focus, decision making, compassion, generosity, respect, love, the list goes on. You should look at why exactly your children did something well and specifically praise those areas. For example, “You worked so hard preparing for this test,” “You were so focused during the entire chess match,” and “You were so generous for sharing with your sister.”

Particularly with young children, you don’t need to praise them at all. The best thing you can do is simply highlight what they did. For example, if your toddler just climbed a playground ladder for the first time, just say, “You climbed that ladder by yourself.” Their smile of pride will tell you that they got the message you wanted them to get, namely, “I did it!” Nothing more needs to be said.

As another alternative to praise, just ask your children questions. You can find out what your children thought and felt about their achievement, for example, “What did you enjoy most about your performance?” and “How do you feel about what you just did?” Allow your children to decide for themselves how they feel about their accomplishments, enable them to reward themselves for their own good actions, and encourage them to internalize what they observed about their own achievement efforts.

Or really go out on a limb and don’t say anything at all to your children. As I just mentioned, kids know when they do well. By letting them come to this realization on their own, they learn to reinforce themselves and they don’t become praise junkies dependent on you for how they feel about their efforts and accomplishments.

Here is my challenge to you. First, next time you’re at the playground or a youth sports competition, take note of what parents say to their children. I’ll bet you hear “Good job!” (or some variation) constantly. Next, monitor what you say to your children in the same situations. Then, erase “Good job!” from your vocabulary. We’ve already established how useless it is. Finally, start to praise your children in the healthy ways I just described. When you have broken yourself of the “Good job!” habit, you can then pat yourself on the back and tell yourself, “Good job!”


Can Parenting Style Impact Your Well-Being?

Can parenting be detrimental to our well-being? According to a new study, the answer is: It depends.

Over the years, many studies have evaluated the relationship between parenting and mental health. Admittedly, this topic is complex and the findings have been mixed. Some researchers report that raising children contributes to our happiness and well-being. Others suggest the opposite may be true.

A recent study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies suggests that it’s not whether we’re parents – but how we parent – that may be an important factor to consider.

According to researchers at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia, women who engage in “intensive parenting” are likely to experience negative mental health outcomes like stress and depression. The authors focused on women because they tend to be much more likely to engage in this type of parenting style.

So, what is intensive parenting?

In a nutshell, it’s an underlying belief held by parents (typically moms) that parents should always sacrifice their needs for the needs of their children. These parents also tend to seek their own happiness primarily through their kids. And they always strive to offer stimulating activities to their children without giving kids much down-time or opportunities to entertain themselves. What’s more, these parents often view themselves as more capable than their partners and, as a result, tend to take on too many parenting tasks throughout the day. This may ultimately lead to burnout and resentment. 

In an online questionnaire of 181 mothers of young children, the authors of this study found that mothers who believed that the woman is the essential parent were less satisfied with their lives. In addition, women who believed that parenting is especially challenging were more stressed and depressed. Approximately 23 percent of this sample had symptoms of depression – a number much higher than the estimated rate of depression among adults in the United States (around 10 percent).

If parenting with this level of intensity can lead to such negative feelings, why are plenty of moms engaging in it? The answer is complex. Most likely, women believe that putting their own needs and well-being aside will make them better mothers and, ultimately, benefit their children. Of course, the irony is that this type of parenting may contribute to more negative outcomes for all involved.

Certainly, children are more likely to thrive when their parents are happy and emotionally healthy. And parents are more likely to enjoy the parenting journey when they strike a balance that involves caring for their children and caring for themselves.   

In two parent homes, experts suggest that sharing the parenting responsibilities can enhance each parent’s well-being and feelings of competence. Also, it can be helpful to seek childcare help from trusted family members and friends. Even small breaks like taking a walk, going out for a cup of coffee, or reading a magazine can go a long way in helping parents recharge and feel less stressed.

So how do you find a healthy balance so you can care for your children and yourself? Or is this a difficult challenge?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Are you Parenting Like Your Parent?

Have you ever had one of those moments when something comes out of your mouth that doesn’t sound anything like you? You snap at your partner or scold your child, using words you never use or threats you’d never see through. Afterwards, you stand there stumped for a few seconds wondering, “Where did that come from?” Then, it hits you – you sound just like your mother or father.

For better or worse, many of our parents’ traits live on in us. This can be a good thing; positive identifications with qualities we liked in our parents help us to take on characteristics we respect and admire. Unfortunately, on the flip side, negative traits in our parents, especially those that caused us misery, fear and frustration, can also linger in our psyche and impact our behavior. This is especially the case in present moments of stress in our life today that somehow remind us of our past and manage to set off old triggers in us.

As you may imagine, scenarios that are reminiscent of our childhood are increasingly likely to arise when we ourselves become parents. We may not really remember how our dad used to snap on long car trips until our own kids start bickering in the backseat. We may not recall our mom teasing us when we whined cried until we find ourselves making a sarcastic comment to our own child when he or she gets fussy.

The good news is, by noticing these traits inside ourselves, by identifying where they come from, and by altering our behavior to match our own standards and principles, we can differentiate from negative programming from our past. We can become more and more like the parent we want to be, not necessarily the one we were raised by.

There are several important steps in the process of differentiation. First, you have to become observers of your own reactions. You should try to notice interactions between you and your children that seem out of character or don’t represent a way you want to be. Do certain behaviors or situations trigger you? For example, does helping your daughter with homework spark an unusual amount of frustration or impatience? Do your son’s tantrums make you lose your temper? Think of the scenes and scenarios that lead to negative interactions between you and your child. Is there a pattern?

The second step to this process involves asking yourself the question, “Could I be projecting characteristics or dynamics from my own childhood, reliving or reenacting aspects of my own childhood with my kids?” To figure this out means becoming aware of how you yourself were parented. Were your parents impatient with you when it came to helping you with school work? Were they overly pressuring, complacent or unsupportive? Did your parents ever “lose it” with you when you were having an emotional meltdown?

As you start to piece together memories, you might start begin to see the value of making a coherent narrative about your past. Telling your story, even to yourself, can help you to understand your actions in the present and consciously decide how to move into your future.

Reflecting on and putting together your story can be painful. Sad memories are sure to arise. The realization that your parents were human, and therefore, imperfect, can be tough to accept. We have a natural tendency to want to protect our parents. We even unconsciously identify with their critical attitudes toward us and often take on their disparaging points of view as our own. This internalized parent is what we refer to as one’s “critical inner voice.” It can feel threatening to separate from the people who we once relied on for care and safety. Yet, by having compassion for our child selves, we can extend this feeling to our children. We can differentiate from our parents’ less desirable attitudes and traits, while maintaining qualities that we admired in them.

Once we make the connection between past events and our present behavior, and once we have feeling for ourselves and the struggles we endured, we become much stronger in our effort to challenge the negative traits we have as parents. We can question critical or indulgent attitudes and behaviors toward our children that don’t seem to fit the situation. We can recognize that, just as we are not our parents, our children are not our child selves. Thus, we can become more attuned to what’s really going on in our kids. We can start to separate from the parents we don’t want to be and become the people we’d like our kids to one day imitate.

Join Dr. Lisa Firestone for the free Dec. 4 Webinar, “How to Raise an Emotionally Healthy Child. ” Learn more or register here

To read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone, visit PsychAlive.org

The new parenting lingo

Parenting lingo B+S

The new parenting lingo ranges from the serious to the ridiculous. Picture: Supplied Source: National Features

MEET the new types of mums and dads and see if you recognise anyone.

With the ever-growing pile of parenting resources and information out there, mums and dads may need to wrap their heads around the latest lingo, some serious, others not.

+ Authoritarian vs authoritative styles

There may be just a few letters separating these parenting styles, but they are worlds apart. Authoritarian parents are all about strict discipline and following rigid rules with punitive consequences for bad behaviour. Authoritative parents have a loving, democratic style with strong but flexible boundaries and fair, consistent and understandable discipline.

+ Attachment parenting

This is in vogue again since the recent Time magazine cover of a woman defiantly breastfeeding her three-year-old. In general terms, this is a parenting philosophy involving babywearing (see below), long-term breastfeeding, co-sleeping and immediate responses to a child’s needs.

+ Babywearing

It may sound like an odd fashion trend, but according to Babywearing International, the term simply means holding or carrying a baby or young child close to the body using a cloth baby carrier. Essentially it is a form of baby transport which, supporters claim, has psychological benefits for parent and bub.

+ Cotton wool kids

Also called “bubble wrap kids”, these over-protected offspring are usually raised by helicopter parents (see below). At the opposite end of the scale are the “free-range kids”, who are given the tools and skills by their parents to become independent and solve their own problems.

+ Elimination communication

This is a term for a toilet-training practice which can start from birth. Basically, a parent uses timing, signals, cues and intuition to know when their child is about to poo or wee, thus eliminating the need for nappies.

+ Helicopter parenting

These are parents who “hover” around their kids, protecting them from real and imagined problems and dangers. They share similar principles with the “lawnmower” parents, who mow down all obstacles in their progeny’s path.

+ Parental presence

This is a fairly new term, coined by NSW parent education organisations Karitane and Tresillian. It involves a parent sleeping with their baby until the child learns to self-settle at bedtime and during the night.

+ Slow parenting

This is a bit like free-range parenting (see above left) except even more pared down. This style encourages less structure and organised activities for kids, allowing them to explore the world at their own pace. TV is a big no-no.


Once just an acronym used in parenting forums, it now seems to have crept into the spoken language in childcare and preschool car parks. It stands for “trying to conceive”.

And the top terms are…

A 2011 poll of 2000 UK parents came up with a list of new parenting terms.

+ Dummy mummy: A woman who loses the ability to talk about anything other than babies after giving birth. Also said to be suffering from “pramnesia”.

+ Dadmin: Domestic tasks particularly suited to fathers.

+ Pump and dump: When mums express breast milk in preparation for a big night out.

+ Baby Gaga: A little show-off, or child performing prodigy.

What words would you add to this list? Share…