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Parenting for Dummies: A Beginner's Guide to Parenting Philosophies

by: 
debbie

Parenting philosophies, everybody's got one. 

Actually in most cases, more than one!

Philosophy isn't just a class in college, it's a reflection of our views and values in the way we live our lives.

Finding the right parenting philosophy for your family takes some time and understanding more about the roots of each style can help you better understand which methods are the best fit. It might seem like process of elimination at first but taking your time to decide which direction you and your partner would like to take for your parenting strategy. 

From the moment you find out that you're pregnant, everyone is quick to give you all kinds of advice.

You'll get plenty of advice about how to parent and even more people push an urgency on you to make decisions. One of the best parts of becoming a parent is empowering yourselves and making your own decisions for the best interest of your family. Your style is as unique as you are and you should feel confident to let it shine. 

Our parenting styles and philosophies come from a series of basic principles. These four important aspects of a parent relationship are discipline, nurturing, expectations and communication. Some philosophies will be strong in one area and more relaxed in another and for other parents it could seem like quite the opposite. 

While some of these sound intimidating or not something you can immediately relate to, consider where they fall in each of the parenting principles and which ones are most important to you. That is the best way to decide which style or combination of parenting styles is something that feels right for you.

Authoritarian Parenting

These parents value a higher standard of discipline and feel most comfortable putting rules in place to maintain order around the house or the safety of their family. These rules are set with a higher level of expectation and often the perspective of the child is not considered. For example if a child steals a toy from another, an authoritarian parent might instruct they return the toy immediately and appologize while other authoritarian parents may have firm guidelines about snack, television time or play time outside. They feel most comfortable with the control being at the parent level. 

Permissive Parenting 

Permissive parents often have low demands but higher responsiveness.These are parents that are usually in favor of nurturing creativeness and praising their child to promote individuality. For example, these parents may encourage their children to dress themselves to express the importance of individuality and give them the opportunity to resolve problems in the way that feels most comfortable for them. 

Authoritative Parenting 

This style is a mix of the two in the sense that parents have an estblished set of rules, guidelines or standards but these are open to further interpretation and are more flexible. Discipline is often handled firmly but the sensitivity of the child is considered with each instance. Many authoritative parents have a line that is clear with their children but offer them more choices that encourage more individual thinking or decision making. For example, if they have a rule about snacks but their child asks for food they might offer them options that they are willing to give them that might be an exception to the rule. 

Hardly anyone fits completely into one parenting style and many new parents find themselves changing back and forth to what feels right to them. 

Some partners choose styles they're accustomed to from their own childhood while others decide to parent in the opposite direction. That's the beauty of making choices as you acclimate to your new role as a parent. It all starts with a discussion about which values, expectations and discipline strategies they're used to or ones they want to avoid as their child gets older.

A parenting philosophy is like a pair of shoes, you need to try on a few pairs to find the right fit and when the shoes get worn out you'll find yourself right back at the beginning looking for a better fit. 

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