What is my parenting style? What type of parent am I? It’s a question I have asked myself from time to time in the three years I’ve been a parent and I don’t really know. Labels don’t hold much sway with me and I don’t think I can definitively put myself in any one parenting box.
My husband and I are alert but laid back, impatient but patient: we follow some routines, we discipline, have rules, use a lot of the theories of gentle parenting and are awed at the sometimes sanity-saving techniques of playful parenting.
What I am coming to realise, however, is that this doesn’t make us parents without labels – instead we are covering ourselves with labels in an exuberant and scattergun fashion, like a toddler let loose with a sticker sheet…
So let me give you a flavour of just some of the ‘techniques’ that we use in what is actually a veritable pick and mix of parenting boxes:
Lazy Parenting – this is normally required in times of parental discomfort such as extreme tiredness or illnesses. There are a variety of practices that make this style work and I have covered them all in a previous blog post here.
Positive Parenting – Forget what you might already know about this acknowledged technique. Our definition is lovely and simple and involves saying yes. This technique normally occurs due to two reasons. Firstly, parental tiredness – the ‘I can’t be arsed to parent so just, yes, have whatever you want’ moments. And secondly, conversely perhaps, parental joy – the ‘I’m so giddy with love and wish I were a toddler that, yes, let’s all have whatever we want’ moments.
Double Parenting – this involves both members of the parenting team engaged in one task on one child: perhaps one parent is putting the shoes on and the other is simultaneously applying the sun cream. This is not entirely useless and often creates a little wry humour as you self-consciously acknowledge the ‘over-parenting’. Please note that I believe this is almost entirely unique to parents of one child.
Separation Parenting – almost completely opposite to the above, this is where a parenting team is out and about and one parent wanders off without warning. There will be no communication just a gentle meander from one party to look ‘over there’. If you are the parent wandered away from this is an incredibly annoying technique. If the wanderer takes the child then it is infinitely less annoying and these little moments of peace and quiet should be cherished and viewed as a small life success.
Anarchy Parenting – when both parents are in situ but there is no clear leadership. Both parties feel disinclined, almost stubbornly so, to step up to the leadership plate; decisions and questions are left unmade and unanswered. As the parenting team becomes rudderless, the child becomes increasingly feral and the domestic environs uncontrollably shambolic.
Panic Parenting – this, by its very nature, will be required when you are least expecting it. One moment you are relaxed with your child, perhaps enjoying a little stroll round the park when: ‘What does dying mean? How did the baby get in your tummy? What’s that dog doing to that man’s leg?’. Your tone is even and calm, but your brain is entering a heightened state of EMERGENCY. Panic Parenting will be fully engaged shortly afterwards, requiring great fortitude and bluffing skills to see yourself and your child through the situation without lasting damage to either party.
Detachment Parenting – ‘It’s time to leave the playarea. It’s really, really time to leave the playarea…You need to get out of the car, you can’t stay in there forever…No I won’t be buying that giant cuddly Twirly Woo…’ As you physically prise your child’s hands off the play equipment and the giant cuddly Twirly Woo or their entire body out of the car you will find yourself fully embracing detachment parenting.
Bed Parenting – one of my favourites. See how much entertainment you can direct from your prostrate position in bed. This is perfect for early mornings and sleepy afternoons. It works particularly well if you have a small supply of stickers, books, soft balls, dirty (or clean) washing that you don’t mind being moved around and a list of ‘things’ the child can fetch from other rooms.
Helicopter Parenting – this is one I aspire to. Indeed anyone who can deliver this technique successfully is a model of parenting prowess in my opinion. Involving a complex twirly arm movement, fast running and a loud whirring noise, most parents settle for the more achievable but less catchy aeroplane technique.
Peaceful Parenting – ahhh…a sigh of relief is almost mandatory with this technique which occurs any time when your ‘I’ve got lots of energy’ child is, shhh, sleeping.
I’d love to know what techniques you implement in the parenting of your children, do let me know!