Parenting Styles – Here we go again!

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This is  a revised version of my guest post at everythingisedible

Parenting Styles – Just do what you feel is right

Parenting styles

Becoming a parent changes your life in many ways, that there really is no genuine preparation we can do. If only we knew how sleep deprived and exhausted we would be, then maybe sleeping lots and lots prior and having a storing extra sleep button in our brains that we switch on once we become parents. Yes, there are many books on parenting so we can read about it, and experts and opinions. Yet until you are living in the world of parenthood, nothing can fully prepare you 100 % for the ups and the downs and the emotional ride we experience once we become a parent.  As parents and especially mothers  we are also constantly  bombarded with what we should be doing, how we should be doing it and how often we should do it and what style of parenting is the best and right way. These are just some parenting styles

Parenting Styles

Authoritarian Parenting

Permissive Parenting

Tiger Parenting

Uninvolved Parenting

Authoritative Parenting

Equalitarian Parenting

Attachment Parenting

Helicopter Parenting

Positive Parenting

 Prior to becoming a mother and as a teacher and even now through my behavioural studies, research and work, I  have possibly read what feels like every book out there on parenting and child behaviour, on my book shelf alone there are over fifty books on this topic, not counting the pile by my bed, the dining table and yes the bathroom too.

books

What have I learnt from all these books ? What have I learnt from hours of  studies and research ? Well fortunately I have learnt one  important factor  “There is no fool proof parenting style or technique, parenting is as individual as you are and as individual as your child.

I am sure we all as parents know this, but we do still search for the illusive answer, that does not exist in just one simple style or technique. There are different behavioral aids I use when I work with children  and most of these are just visual aids, consisting of dodgy stick men drawings.

Parenting Styles –  Don’t be confused

Parenting is an individual as you are and as unique as your child. There will be many days when you feel overwhelmed, exhausted beyond exhaustion, guilty, anxious and stressed and know this is totally normal this is parenting. Even the most perfect family imaginable feels this way at times. We all have moments which are great and downright rotten. We can have off days where everything is just too overwhelming and so can our children. What we experience as adults through our emotions our children experience too. Though children cannot exactly verbalise the emotion they are feeling.

As parents we are the biggest influence in your child’s life, we are helping create who they will be as an adult, that alone is a lot of pressure, but as long as there are more ups than downs, you are on the right path. Loving your child, with all your heart is what parenting is, being prepared to bring up your child to the best of your ability that is what parenting is. Yes there are battles along the way but there are also laughs, cuddles and precious moments that melt your heart.

Parenting Styles and Child Behaviour

Parenting styles and child behaviour are interlinked only in the way that there is no guaranteed style that works.  Parenting styles are not the latest fashion on the catwalk ‘this is the newest style of parenting.’ Parenting is a continuous learning curve, we learn from our children and they learn from us.

Parents with more than one child, will admit that what worked for one child, does not work for the other due to different personalities, likes and dislikes, it is human nature. One child’s behaviour will thrive with a reward chart; another will not give two hoots about a reward chart. One child will eat whatever is served in front of them; another will refuse everything bar milk, cheese and pasta.

This is not dependant on your parenting style, this is a child exerting their choice and of course testing the world around them, imagine your child as a scientist and wanting to know everything right now.

This is what children do; children want to be independent, they want to know what everything does, they want to touch everything, they want to see what happens if they pour paint on the cat, shove a button up their nose and laugh hilariously at the words poo and fart. This is what  being a child is.

cat

 

The passion I have for children and how they see the world has always been with me, hence becoming a  teacher and now as a child behaviour consultant, yet as a parent I still feel the exhaustion that parenting brings.

Parenting  Styles: Do’s & Don’ts

Mums I know how hard its is to stop stressing and  feeling guilty and some days are just like that, if you feel it don’t stress or feel guilty about feeling stressed or guilty  - just go with it, it is a catch 22. It’s a mother’s emotional state it just comes with the mothering role.

  • Don’t read too many parenting books; there is no parenting style that offers a guaranteed happy well -rounded child. Pick and choose what is right for you and your child. Go with your instinct, or throw your hands in the air and chase them round the garden, or have a glass of red.
  • Don’t give your children very long explanations, they switch off. Children need to understand what you are saying at a level they can comprehend. Do not expect young children to internalize everything you say.
  • Children respond amazingly well to visual aids: books, posters, drawings, and puppets.
  • Parenting does have so many fantastic moments; try not to miss them, worrying because you have not folded the laundry.
  • Children rarely do anything with thought-out intention or malice.
  • Parents are as unique as their children. There is no style involved in teaching life skills and values: respect, trust and honesty. Throw in kindness and manners and love them to bits.
  • Do not let the bad days make you feel like it’s the end of the world – it’s day that will pass and your children love you, you are their world. There is always tomorrow and what was a big issue today, is normally forgotten in a few days.

Parenting is becoming inundated with styles and techniques, adding yet more pressures to parenthood. Our parents and grandparents, parented their way, I certainly cannot remember seeing any parenting books on my mum’s bookshelf yet my parents, parented without any particular parenting style label or specific techniques, just good old traditional values,including respect, kindness and they taught me what was right and what was wrong.

“Parenting isn’t taught by reading books, parenting is taught through reading your child”

Or reading some fabulous mummy bloggers posts on parenting and keeping it real, some more here

http://www.woogsworld.com/2011/08/parenting-101-calling-their-bluff.html

http://writingloud.blogspot.com/

http://www.commonchaos.com/

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Nathalie Brown

Child Behaviour Consultant at Easy Peasy Kids
Child Behaviourist and researcher. Creator of "Less tantrums. More smiles". I look at the bigger picture and think outside the box when working with children and their behaviour. Their world is different. As adults we sometimes forget this. Happiness Creator in my spare time. Eater of chocolate and cake.
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Comments

  1. This is so spot on, Nathalie. I think I read too many books the first time around. My bookshelf looks much the same as that!! I don’t think I gained much more than a lot of stress!
    This time I’m going with the flow a little more – finding what works and what doesn’t for us through trial and error! xx

  2. Great post Nathalie. I totally agree that we need to trust our instincts more and listen to the needs of our kids, but it is also ok to seek out help and support when we need it…remembering only to take on board that which fits with our basic values and beliefs on how we want our family life to be. I also agree that what works for one child doesn’t always work for the others. With 5 children people often think I have it all sussed….however each one brings with them new challenges and a need for an ever changing perspective! :)

    • Thanks Martine, totally agree that it is Ok to seek help and support. Many a times mothers feel a lot of stigma or judgement when they do ask for help, yet once they have had the help and support they feel much better. Every family is so different yet we all want the best for our children, so like you say do what you feel is right. You are a real life inspiration and I hope you are enjoying your new addition.

  3. Great post, Nathalie! I absolutely agree – instinct is something a parent should completely trust. I think I range in parenting styles on different occasions and various situations, but I do the only thing I know how to do – my best.

    Sometimes when I’m feeling that mother guilt, my husband says to me, ‘Look at our little girl. See how happy she is? That means you’re doing everything right.’

    Oh, and thanks for the link back too!!

  4. Now you tell me! ;) I should’ve burned my parenting books. They really were the cause of my stress.

  5. I stopped reading the one and only parenting book I ever picked up when I got to the line “If you’re losing your temper, walk away.” Walk away? Most of the time the whole reason we’re losing our tempers is that the child is doing, and won’t stop doing, something horribly destructive either to themselves, to others, or to property real and/or personal. Walking away will compound the problem!

    Your point is well made–be reasonable, treat kids with the same respect as you would anyone else (maybe more since they’re your flesh and blood), and do whatever makes sense.

  6. I love you Nathalie! And I love the balance you bring to parenting. You know, I don’t know I have read (shock horror) ANY parenting books all the way through. I think this quote at the end is gorgeous “Parenting isn’t taught by reading books, parenting is taught through reading your child”
    I’m off to tweet it in fact. x

  7. Great blog Nathalie. Gosh I would not like to say what mine is but would call in gut and natural parenting. I do what feels right for me with the children’s personalities in mind.

  8. It’s funny because I always used to say to my mum when I had my first child, the book says this…the book says that…what do you think? My mum used to just smile and say “I don’t know, I didn’t have any books when I was a first time mum, I just did it”. She was right, reading the books just confused me as I just wanted to get it right. Other mums are the best advice givers, and they give it to you for free.

  9. Lovely post Nathalie. The thing that you wrote that most stood out for me is reminding ourselves that a bad day is not the end of the world with children. Sometimes there are afternoons, or starts to the day that make us cry, and make us doubt our parenting skills – but those times really do pass – and when we look back,they never seem as disastrous as we felt they were at the time. And fortunately children are extremely forgiving :-) We need to learn to be as forgiving of ourselves.

  10. Thanks for the blog mention Nathalie. I try to keep my parenting real, as theres no shame in the chaos that happens when kids are involved. May as well embrace it!!! Ive read alot of parenting books, and if i like a particular idea, i note it down. I cant live my life as a mum and run my family by someone elses idea of whats correct parenting. I just try things out that sound good to me and if they dont work, so be it.
    Thanks again, luv jac xox

  11. Lisa W says:

    I love this post! I try not to worry about what ‘parenting style’ i am & just get on with parenting to the best of my ability. I do know we have lots of fun, love & cuddles but i have my boundaries too. And a glass of red never ever goes astray on those more stressful days :p hehe

  12. Hi! Its fun to have to go searching for something to learn about to enter your giveaways! :) I was looking for something totally different when I stumbled on this and it was the perfect time as we are preparing for Baby #2. Though #1 has his moments, I still consider him SUCH an easy kid and I can’t help but compare (ALREADY!! I KNOW!!) and think how I will just do the same. I’ve been making a mental effort to commit to get to know this baby and do what works. This was the perfect encouragement. Oh, and your advice to not read too many parenting books is my number one advise to new moms. Thanks for getting it out there! :)

  13. Great post Nat.

    We practice attachment parenting at our place, but I don’t believe there are ever any hard and fast rules. Every child is different, just as I am different with each one as I gain experience as a mother and as a person:)

  14. I didn’t read a lot of parenting books as I was so sleep deprived the first time round and now the second time round I am so busy that I haven’t read any of the well-known parenting books.
    I am someone who takes snippets from lots of places and use what I like. I don’t think there is one perfect method for being a parent. It changes daily and instinct is the way for sure.

  15. This is a great, informative post. I often question my parenting style and wonder if things might go better if I was more strict, or did things a different way, but at the end of the dau, it comes down to what we, as parents, feel comfortable with.

  16. You are spot on, some really good advice here! Really when it comes down to it, the “answer” is so simple and logical – do your best, and what works for you and yours. Yet we spend so much time searching for the “right answers”.
    Really good point as well about enjoying those special moments rather than worrying about the laundry you’re supposed to be folding. I commented about that exact thing on another blog today! So important.
    Visiting you from DP blog carnival :)

  17. spot on Nathalie. I see so many parents compare themselves to others and feel the burden of expectation. So often I am always empowering parents to believe in themselves, and know that bad days are all ok. Sometimes too many of us feel guilty for having those bad days.

  18. A very balanced and well-researched post. Parents are their own worst enemy. I really like your mantra ‘read your child’. Thanks for joining the DP Blog Carnival. A little late getting through all the blogs but better late than never right? x

  19. I know this is an old one but this is so very true! I remember reading all the books i could get my hands on about pregnancy and birth ( ultimately i birthed with what felt naturally & my pregnancies came with their own set of challenges) then once i was a parent the books were just a perspective. I have learnt very quickly that there is no one way of doing things.

    • So very true, I use many books for reference and studying, yet I learn a whole lot more from the children hands on. Thanks for coming by x

  20. kerry santillo says:

    As a parent I also read alot of books with my first child. With my second it was my instincts, which were spot on. I found a routine worked for me and it was the best way. But other mothers dont and that works for them. Books are a really good reference, you know your child and if there are any concerns see a doctor. If you are not happy with that diagnosis go to another!! This happened to me when my child was finally diagnosed with lactose intolerance.

  21. I love how much we are on the same page with this Nathalie!! No one way, only YOUR way matters to you as a parent! All kids grow up and more than anything, love and consistency are key!

  22. Some days, I have complete faith in myself to 'do the right thing' where my kids are concerned.
    Others, well, I'm at a complete loss as to whether I'm doing the 'right thing' at all!
    Really though, there are as many parenting styles as parents, and as long as we show genuine love, respect and honesty and spend time, being present in the moment with them – we can't go too wrong now, can we?
    Great post. I love the message x.

  23. Debyl1 says:

    I wish I had your posts when my girl was young.
    Your words would have been a warm hug on the days I was so very hard on myself.
    I always had self doubt because all the parenting books painted a perfect picture of mother and child.
    I know I was a helicopter parent at times and I think the best thing is in the end I went with my heart.
    Now my girl is a very independent strong and confident young lady.She says she got that confidence from knowing I believed in her and was always there for her no matter where she was or what time of day or night.
    I think us Mums need to be more gentle on ourselves and on other Mums and know we are all doing the best we can out of pure love for our children.

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