Big question, many possible responses..and I love a good non-judgemental discussion! It is always nice to reflect gently on the way that we parent, our life values and our hopes for the future. There is no other topic guaranteed to result in more emotional and passionate debate than parenting and parenting styles though. I am not an expert on the various terms and types, I prefer to focus on my own style of parenting and share as many of my learnings as possible. It is such a shame that there is still so much judgment in this area of our lives, besides any obvious abuse or fear of harm I am not sure that we need to be critiquing every little detail of the way other people choose to parent?
I really like the term ‘free range’ as a parenting style, although I feel the need to qualify this a little since the term can often be misunderstood. My parenting is not overly restrictive, it is a little free flowing and based around my hopes of raising a kind, compassionate future leader. The term ‘leader’ can also be misunderstood! I am not aiming for Prime Minister type leaders, simply young people who have the confidence to take the lead on areas of life in which they feel a strong passion and urge to influence.
My type of parenting is a blend of child and parent led, I am most definitely focused on the needs of my child however I am also passionate about maintaining a sense of self and creating an environment in which all of our needs are respected and met where possible. In much the same way that I am not overly enthused by restrictive and extreme styles of eating, I am interested in parenting that is flexible. I am a fairly organised person and although ‘free range’ may sound like a contradiction to that, children do thrive on a sense of routine and the security that it creates for them. It is possible to live with flexibility as well as within some well organised structures.
I would love to think that somehow by sharing my own parenting experience, reflecting on my own styles with only love and respect and honesty that others may be encouraged to do the same. The world (of parenting) needs more collaboration and less comparison! It is important to follow your heart a little, and also use your head as a parent. I have found that a lot of reading that is then recalled when needed rather than simply becoming a manual of sorts works well. There is so much conflicting advice out there so it is really important to test what works best for you and your family.
Here are a few of the things that work well for me as a parent, shared with loving intentions only:
♡ Be gentle with your words and your actions, there is no place for bullying, hitting, yelling and name calling in parenting.
All of these actions leave lasting impressions on our precious little ones, and they are not good impressions in these instances.
♡ Focus on gratitude a lot, when you are gathered at the dinner table ask everyone to share the thing that they were most grateful for that day.
♡ Model the behaviour that you want your children to mimic!
♡ Smile at other parents, sometimes the smallest gesture can make or break someone’s day and parenting is a tough gig!
♡ Take care of yourself too!
Do you have any thoughts about your own style or any parentings tips you can share?