Is there a type of parenting term you fall under? A look at the various terms and their characteristics including attachment, helicopter, tiger, lawnmower and dolphin. (Photo: Getty Images)
The latest parenting term to make the rounds is a label called “lawnmower parenting.” Although not a new term, it has made recent news thanks to a viral Facebook post from a teacher who lamented the type of parenting, which has been equated to helicopter parenting.
Are you a lawnmower parent? Or something else? Here’s a primer on parent labels to help you decide:
These parents are called lawnmower parents because they “mow down” a path for their children removing all obstacles that may cause discomfort, challenges or struggles. This parent not only helps their child but probably does a lot of the work for the child or at least checks to make sure that everything is correct.
The tiger parent is known for putting excellence in academics and carefully chosen extracurriculars above leisure time. Parents are authoritarian and have high expectations. This is tough-love parenting where children are expected to respond to challenges.
As close to opposite of tiger parenting as possible. These parents value emotional security and connection. Independent sleeping may may not occur during the 0-5 years. These parents seek not to raise their voices and value encouragement over academic or athletic success.
Parents tend to hover, and this can continue through college. Child-development researchers Foster Cline and Jim Fay coined the term “helicopter parent” in 1990 for parents who may be over-involved and always assessing risk thus preventing children from developing that skill.
Shimi Kang writes in “The Dolphin Way: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Happy, Healthy,and Motivated Kids Without Turning Into A Tiger” that these parents seek collaboration, flexibility and balance. This parenting is further defined by the acronym POD. P for play and exploration, O for others and D for downtime, which includes rest, exercise and sleep.
Attachment parents desire close contact between baby and caregiver through baby wearing, breastfeeding and co-sleeping. These parents use natural closeness rather than the clock to determine their babies’ needs. Parents also emphasize role modeling and positive discipline by using praise and rewards for good behavior and loss of privileges for poor behavior.
These parents allow their kids to walk to school or a nearby playground alone. Young children may be allowed to ride public transportation or shop alone. Free-range parents believe this freedom promotes independence and self-reliance. But it’s not been without controversy as others have seen it as dangerous and neglectful.
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