“Helicopter”, “Free Range”, “Tiger”, “Gentle” and other parenting labels are floating around the parenting world. In my estimation, none is the right way to parent, and many have methods that characterize good parenting.
Now, someone has introduced yet another label, “submarine parenting”. Do we need another label?
To me, good parenting is a conglomeration of some of each of the methods mentioned above. They have some or all of the following:
1. Kids are loved and valued.
2. Parents want to raise caring, responsible adults.
3. Kids are encouraged to do well in school.
4. Kids’ play is supervised so they avoid harm.
5. Kids are encouraged to explore and learn about their world.
6. Parents are teaching kids manners and life-skills.
7. Parents are spending time with their kids having fun.
8. Parents are doing their best to balance work, home and child-raising in the best way they know how.
9. Parents are seeking answers from qualified sources when they encounter a problem and they don’t know what to do.
Let’s face it. Trouble is encountered when there is a lack of balance. If there’s too much protection, or too much emphasis on attaining good marks, or too much freedom with too little supervision, or too little time with the kids, then problems arise.
I don’t think that another label will help parents who are confused enough by the existing labels. Each so-called method has some positive points and some negative. There will never be a perfect parent and, certainly, never a perfect child – or human being, for that matter.
Parents: stop comparing yourselves with your neighbors, friends, Facebook friends and people you see in the world around you. Comparisons can be very hurtful, and you don’t know what goes on behind the closed doors of those you wish to emulate. Stop looking for the perfect “way” to raise your kids.
Also, don’t beat yourself up if you’ve made a mistake, or have embraced an idea that isn’t working. You’ll make mistakes and learn from them. Help is always available when needed from a book, a parenting coach (like me) or a friend.
You don’t need a label to be a good parent. Love your children, teach them, and be a good role model for them. Continue to learn, but realize that there is no perfect way to bring up your kids. Just do your best and give yourself a pat on the back for being who you are, the best person and parent you know how to be.
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