What Parenting Style Are You?

Yesterday morning, I sat with my 6-year old son as he did his homework. “You’re coloring outside the lines,” “Slow down,” “Start at the top line and go to the bottom,” I said to him over and over. But the voice inside my head was different: “It’s summer, give him a break” it told me. “He’ll learn to write/go slow eventually” and (gasp!) “Are you being a helicopter parent??!”
Then I got to the office and my co-worker was talking about Lighthouse Parents. While another said she’s trying to be a French Parent. And no, neither was French — or a sailor. (See a list of the most common parenting styles defined)
I was left thinking: What happened to being a regular parents? Why is there such a need to classify ourselves and the way we raise our kids? Then when a study comes out about a great new way – or our current style causing permanent damage — we panic. It’s Parenting-Style-Paranoia! Is being a Tiger Mom so bad if it (seemingly) gets great results? Will being a Helicopter Mom on math homework cause depression – if I swear I’ll “Dolphin” on reading!? Will I get arrested for Free Ranging?
Call me Parenting-Style-Phobic, but it’s these reasons I can’t stand parenting books or discussions of parenting styles. So in jest, here are some new parent types I’ve come up with. Feel free to use one of them in the next ridiculous conversation you have about how you’re raising your child(ren).

    Light-phanas Parent
    A combo of Lighthouse (guide when necessary) and Elephant (nurtures, protects and encourages) and bananas because these two styles seem to contradict each other enough that your brain will just go haywire.
    Town Parent
    Gets completely walked all over by kids, parents and in-laws.
    Feed Me Parent:
    Lives to update pictures and quotes of children on social media feeds.
    Botox Parent
    Never shows how they’re really feeling. Might be anxious, surprised, sad, and they still wear the same pleasant face, all day long.
    Grande Parent
    A cross between the over-caffeinated parent who can always be found at Starbucks and the parent who tends to “Love Me Harder” (gotta gotta gotta love me love me love me).
    Buoy Parent
    Seems like they’re drowning but always stay afloat.
    Tight Rope Parent
    Uses the leash on their mild-mannered 2-year old.
    Gore-Tex Parent
    Every issue just rolls right off. And they’re so breathable.
    Umbrella Parent
    Make Your Own Style with a bit of this and a bit of that all rolled under your umbrella- ella- ella.

I suggest we stop labeling ourselves. We’re parents. Period. Let’s just set out to raise good, happy kids. Even better: aim for them to be responsible, productive members of society. The tactic? I honestly think it’s a recipe based on love, respect, firm boundaries, sweet cuddles, solid values and a little healthy fear.
How much of each ingredient parents give will vary for each family. If we have to push them at times, we do it. When they’re breaking down, we hug them. When they talk, we listen – and really hear them (even if we ultimately tell them we think they’re wrong). When they need help, we consider how much. And when they need to let go, we let them to fly on their own. Good luck out there, parents. If it were easy, there wouldn’t be so many theories and styles trying to “help.”



  1. What Parenting Style Are You?
    M.J. Malloy | Thursday,December 03.2015

    Hello I am M.J., I was brought up in Ottawa, very traditional Irish Catholic, Military background,alter boy until I was 19, I believe in some of the aspects my parents employed, though did not agree with some as well. yes I got the belt buckle, not often, but when I did, was deserved, I do agree with treating children as people, they are not stupid and there is no need to speak at them or baby talk, but there is also a fine line between being your child’s friend and parent, and most from what I see don’t comprehend where it ends, You have to be a Parent first, there are so many handing their young teens a cell phone and credit card, then are shocked when they get into trouble, 14 and 15 yr old’s are not adults and should not be treated as such, my son is 26, I never hit him nor needed to, are there times when a child crosses the line and needs a spanking or smack, DAMN right,There is no respect anymore with most teens, because parents do not demand it, and don’t want to hurt their kids feelings, we as a society have gone toooooo far handing children everything and worrying about how its going to make them fee or hurting their feelings when they do something wrongl, A child is a indivdual as we were, treat them accordingly and give them exactly what they deserve, good and bad, stop sucking up, feeling like you have to prove yourself or justify all your actions, there is still one tried and true motto, YOU ARE THE PARENT< and when your kids go too far, I quote,"I Brought You Into This World , I Can Take You Out", not literally, but trust me your kids will understand they have pushed too far. Bottom line as a parent, follow your instincts, nine out of ten times, they are right.I am proud in my pride, upbringing and opinions, feel free to publish this, I have no issues with it.Yours,M.J. Malloy

  2. What Parenting Style Are You?
    Alise | Saturday,December 05.2015

    As a parent- you just did the same thing.. be it in “jest” or not. What a hypocritical article!

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