Spectrum of parenting

Betcha thought I was going to talk about Asperger’s (again) when you saw the word spectrum in the title. No. I am talking about the spectrum of parenting styles that range from helicopter on one end to free range on the opposite end. I have to agree with Katie about the damage that helicopter parents inflict on their children:

“Another pitfall of overprotection is a heartbreaking irony: Because over-parented children are taught to obsess over themselves, they don’t learn how to connect with others. Helicopter parents, who think they are drenching their children with love, are raising lonely sons and daughters. The kids’ constant self-focus, developed under the tonnage of unending parental intervention, handicaps them in every social setting.
Self-focused kids—whether they’re shy and withdrawn or brash and mouthy—do not reach out to other people. They’re not friendly, so they don’t make friends well. Their near total self-consciousness appears to others as self-absorption.”

Free range parenting doesn’t mean not parenting children. It means not being your child’s constant companion. It means allowing children to get completely filthy and track that grime in the house without repercussions. It means trusting your children to spend the night at friends’ houses or outside in a tent. It means allowing children to climb and fall out of trees. It means letting your child make mistakes, take chances and be themselves. Free range parents care more about their children’s health and happiness than about controlling and manipulating their children. Hovering over children is easy. Letting go of children is hard. Parenting isn’t supposed to be easy.

3 thoughts on “Spectrum of parenting

  1. I don’t know if I agree with that or not. I believe you need to be somewhere in the middle of those two extremes constantly upgrading your parenting style to be the best parent possible. Just my opinion of course but I think you hover when they are very young and gradually put in some distance parenting as they become more confident and able to stand on their own. I think it makes children more confident in trying new things if they know you are there if they need you but also know you aren’t looking over their shoulders every minute.

  2. They still need to understand it’s not ok to track mud in the house. Getting dirty outside is fine. Bringing it indoors is not. If it can be helped, that is.

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