Parenting Style Primer: What Kind of Parent Will You Be?

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With Baby on the way, you’re well versed in baby registries and baby showers, but you may still need to rack up a few diaper blowouts and sleepless nights before you’ll speak fluent “parent talk” at the playground. No idea what a helicopter parent or tiger mom is yet? This is your chance to get in the know before you enter parenthood, and you may even get a better understanding of what type of parent you’ll be. Remember, these categories are the extremes and no matter what styles you follow – you’re going to be a great parent.


Photo: Monica Navarro Aranda via Flickr

The Free Range Parent

You may have heard about the free range parents who get in trouble with the law for letting their kids walk to the park alone, but free range parenting is about more than that. If you value independence in your child and want to nurture that spirit by letting them have experiences outside of the home – and without you – free range parenting might be the ticket for you. In a lighter sense, you might just let your kid play a little farther away from you at the playground, or take a few more chances on the jungle gym.


Photo: Mike via Flickr

The Helicopter Parent

Almost the exact opposite of the free range parent, the helicopter parent is never too far away from the child. These hovering moms and dads are often the ones who stay for group children-only birthday parties, well past preschool and elementary school. Helicopter parents keep their child anxiety-free because the child knows the parent will be around for every need and safety concern.


Photo: Tambako The Jaguar via Flickr

Tiger Mom

Known after a tell-all book published a few years ago got everyone at the playground talking, being a tiger mom is serious business. Tiger moms often are the strict ones, forbidding not just screen time but sleepovers and playdates. If you want your child to get straight A’s as well as excel in the creative arts, and don’t mind being very no-nonsense around your home and kids, you may be a tiger parent. Beware of televisions and other non-academic distractions!


Photo: James Less via Flickr

Crunchy Parenting

Known for their love of all-natural, organic and farm-to-table food that they pull out of their diaper bags at playdates, crunchy parents work hard to keep the amount of sugar and GMOs low in their child’s environment and body. If you want your own chicken coop in the backyard, are serious about banning superhero fruit snacks in all preschools, and could honestly convince your child to eat a vegan diet, crunchy may be your style. Keep your eyes peeled for gluten, doctors who are not chiropractors, and red dye #5.


Photo: makelessnoise via Flickr

We’re Doing the Best for Our Kiddos Parenting

Not one to go to extremes? Try the “We’re Doing the Best for Our Kiddos” style. These parents take things one step at a time. They are focused and in the moment during most interactions with their child, but know that it is okay to have Daniel Tiger babysit for 30 minutes so that they can take a quick call for work or make dinner. These parents cook at home most of the time, but know that pizza night can sometimes turn the entire day around for everyone in the family. Bath times are full of bubbles and singing, and bedtimes sometimes come early when the day has lasted for what feels like forever. Hugs are given freely, and kisses hit fluttering eyelashes and noses and cheeks and lips. Bouncing on the bed is a regular occurrence, but parents step in when child decisions could have unsafe consequences. Books happen before bed and during the day, and walks outside are full of picking up rocks from the neighbor’s driveway and treasures from the park. Hand sanitizer is almost always nearby, but if it’s not, it’s okay. If you love your child, have no idea about this whole parenting thing is all yet, but see it as the adventure of a lifetime and are ready to take it on as a family, We’re Doing the Best We Can for Our Kiddo is a natural fit. You won’t always know the answers, but you will understand that other parents don’t either – and give each other some grace and high fives for making it this far. Welcome to the club, parents.

How would you label your parenting style? Get creative and share it below?

–Haley Buress