I always find the ways that people choose to parent their children really interesting, not in a judgemental “my ways right and you’re wrong” type of way, but just because most people’s parenting types are different and I love to see what works for others.
When you search the internet for parenting styles, there are 4 basic styles that come up: “authoritarian, permissive, uninvolved and authoritative”. However, I don’t feel that these are the only styles of parenting anymore. It’s also a case of not just having one clear type of parenting, and picking and choosing elements from different ones that work for you!
So what’s our parenting style?
In terms of the 4 basic styles, we’re definitely more authoritative. This is characterised by high responsiveness and high demands and authoritative parents tend to be more responsive to children’s emotional needs.
Although we identify with a lot of authoritative parenting, we also identify with gentle parenting. Gentle parenting encourages partnership with your children, there are a number of parts of gentle parenting that I don’t agree with but there are also some really positive parts of it that I’ve loved when parenting Grayson.
We try to focus a lot on Grayson and his emotions, we comfort him when he’s upset or having a tantrum, and let him feel a certain way rather than shutting those emotions down. If Grayson is particularly upset about something, before anything I’ll ask him for a hug and them go on to explain what he’s done wrong and get him to apologise. We also teach him right and wrong, but I wouldn’t say we’re ‘strict’. We’re aware that Grayson is a toddler and he’s learning all these new behaviours and emotions, and so although we tell him no, we try not to get angry with him because he’s just learning.
We always allow Grayson to make decisions whenever he can: we ask him what he wants to do, what he wants to eat and wear – if we can give him an option then we will! One of my favourite aspects of gentle parenting is negotiating limits. An example of this is if we take Grayson somewhere and we want to leave, we’ll tell him he has a few minutes left and that we’ll come back soon and he’ll put his shoes on, say goodbye and then we’ll be off to the next place.
Attachment parenting has a lot of mixed opinions, and while it might not be for everyone it’s been incredible for us when we do use certain aspects of it.
Don’t get me wrong, we have our days where we get frustrated and impatient and Grayson can be extremely testing but I definitely think that these parenting styles have helped us to raise such an incredibly kind and thoughtful little boy.