If you had to slap a label on your parenting style, what would it be? There are plenty to choose from, from attachment to out-sourcing and free range to French – although none are particularly positive. And many sound like options on your Ocado order.
I often start the day determined to
I’m fairly sure I’m not alone in this patchy approach to parenting. I remember my own mother veering between loving cuddles and corporal punishment, but in the early 70s parents weren’t labelled for their failings. They were just doing their best, even if, according to Philip Larkin, it meant they were
Most labels are designed to induce guilt, but they all have a place at some point in our children’s lives.
These days, parenting has become a badge of
Which parent are you?
Most labels are designed to induce guilt, but they all have a place at some point in our children’s lives. I adopt helicopter parenting during playtime if I think one child is being treated unfairly and when it comes to extra-curricular activities I admit I have to quell my inner tiger.
Here are a few of the current labels doing the rounds:
Helicopter: this describes overprotective mums and dads who hover over their children. Instead of allowing them to make their own mistakes, or sort out sibling arguments, the parents step in to ‘help’ (i.e.
Curling: another label for interfering parents, coined by Danish psychologist Bent Hougaard. You know that really weird, but also weirdly popular, Olympic sport where ‘athletes’ (I use the term in the loosest sense) frantically sweep the ice to ensure a clear path for the stones? Well, curling parents do the same for their
Apparently the French are
stricterwith their children, but spend less time curling and more time imbibing red wine and looking fabulous. What’s not to like?
Tiger: it’s all push, push, push with these parents who
Free-range: this old-school parenting style, where children are left to their own devices, is the antidote to all of the above. But be prepared to be judged pretty harshly on this one. Writer Lenore Skenazy was dubbed “the world’s worst mom” for letting her nine-year-old travel alone on New York’s subway.
Outsourcing: another alternative to getting over involved is to outsource your parenting to a paid professional. Also known as working mums trying to get support…. Please don’t judge us – even if you’ve never paid for childcare, chances are you send your child to school and a variety of life-enhancing clubs (yes YOU Tiger mum). Whether you like it or not, this is outsourcing.
All these labels miss one crucial element. Love.
parent and whatever mistakes we make, we love our children and are simply doing our best. However we
Attachment: this one maligns
French: we have long been obsessed with how the French do things (eat croissants and stay slim being the
If you are none of the
Before I go, one final thought… Aside from
With this in mind, I’ve decided to throw a few labels of my own into the mix. These are based on my reality and not some study in a lab, or a journalist looking for a new angle on old copy. Today I’ve been a combination of
Tomorrow is another day, so who knows what kind of parent I’ll be? The one thing I can guarantee is I will always be ‘doing-my-best mum’. That’s the only label I need.
Charlotte Ricca Smith is a journalist and blogger who writes about real health, real women and real life.