The other day I was at the park with the kids and I couldn't help but notice how different we all parent our kids. You had the moms and dads who were running after their kids with wipes to clean them up every time they touched a slide or swing (or, heaven forbid, the dirt); the moms who were drinking coffee sitting on the bench while their kids ate dirt; and the moms who were somewhere in between (no dirt-eating, but no obsessive compulsive cleaning, either).
As I looked around at all the different types of parents, I couldn't help but think about how we all spend so much time figuring out what type of parenting style works for us, how we instill the values and discipline we want in our children, and how despite perhaps coming from the same places, we end up parenting really differently (I'd love to hear you guess what type of parenting style I have, from the three examples above!).
Observing different parenting styles has always been interesting to me. Besides the fact that I'm a mom myself, I also work with moms, day in and out, at Parent Tested Parent Approved, so I have the pleasure of meeting thousands of different types of moms from all around the world.
Whenever I read mom blogs or chat with them at our Twitter parties, I feel like I get a glimpse inside their homes -- even if I'm still sitting in mine. I get to see first-hand what we're doing with our kids and it's made me wonder: does parenting style matter?
For years, psychologists, doctors and, of course, parents have debated the impact of a parenting style on a child's emotional and intellectual development.
• Does a particular parenting style make children more likely to succeed in the world?
• Does it matter if we judge other parents for parenting differently than we would?
Over 50 years of research has revealed there are four main parenting styles, ranging from authoritative to hands-off. So, why the big range? The way we parent relates to the values we want our kids to have -- the things we want to instill in them most.
I believe parenting style does matter -- but not in the way you might think.
At the end of the day, you have to find what works for you and your child -- not what society expects you to do (and if you want to breastfeed until your child is five, maybe we shouldn't be so quick to judge -- although, five is a bit old, don't you think? Sorry, judging is habitual).
I think the reason why parenting styles matter is because we all want to feel true to ourselves and understanding your parenting style and why you do what you do -- and why it's important to you -- gives you the validation you need that you are a good mom or dad and that you're doing the right thing for you (something that we could all get used to hearing more often).
So, what parenting style are you?
I've put together this fun quiz to help you find out your true parenting style -- I love the questions about what to do when your eight-year-old says he has a girlfriend (leave your answers in the comments below, too!) or what to say to your teenager who says he/she doesn't want to go to college anymore.
You can take the quiz here and then you can wear your parenting style label proudly!
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