What Kind of Parent are You?

Are you a Helicopter Parent? Are you a Hummingbird parent? Are you a snowplow parent? Are you a Free Range Parent? Even though children do not come with a Manual, styles of parenting seem to emerge in the social and academic world of parenting. Have you reflected on your parenting style?

The Helicopter parent is an obvious illustration. This type of parent is always hovering. Hovering over young toddlers and over their college students. Unfortunately, though it is done out of love, they may be creating a young adult who does not have self-management skills, self-reliability, or resilience. Decision making all on their own can be daunting. Ask yourself could I be a helicopter parent?

The Hummingbird parent is one who swoops in if they see a situation becoming too difficult or challenging for their child to manage. They at least allow their child to try new situations, but if the outcome is not the desired one they will quickly intervene and correct for the best outcome. Ask yourself if you could be a hummingbird parent?

The Free Range parent is a parent that allows their child to make their own choices and withstand the consequences of those decisions. If the child is uncomfortable with the consequences of their decision, they believe it will make them better decision makers in the long run when the consequences are higher as they become young adults. Children have a lot of freedom. Is this more like your style?

Did you see yourself in any of the above descriptions? Some parents are a blend of all of the above descriptions depending on different situations. Psychologists say, however, that we all lean in one direction or the other. Parenting is the most confusing and yet rewarding experience of our adult lives. Sometimes we all wish we had a Helicopter parent to make the decisions for us.

Parenting style can be learned and unlearned. The first step is to be aware of our style, then we can choose to make adjustments.

Viktor Frankl, a concentration camp survivor, wisely wrote,” Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” I have read that pause is about 5 Seconds. It is called the 5 second pause. I have renamed it the Prayerful Pause. Like the Pause button on the remote, we can choose to use that 5 second pause
to choose to pray for wisdom.

May you reflect on your style and in a moment of decision remember the ‘prayerful pause’ and ask for wisdom to make the most healthy choice for you and your child.

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