Becoming a parent can be one of the hardest jobs you’ll have. Apart from the responsibilities of clothing, feeding, and educating your kids, you’ll also need to be aware of your parenting style. This is important because the way you raise your children can spell the difference between them growing up to be well-adjusted adults or misfit psychopaths. In this article, we show you the 3 parenting styles you may want to think twice about using when raising your kids.
This style of parenting is supposed to make achievers out of children and is derived from traditional Chinese parenting. From what is known, the term “tiger parent” actually came from “tiger mother” or mom. Made popular by writer Amy Chua and her book published in 2011, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, tiger parenting preaches that to have children become accomplished adults, they have to be raised under strict rules.
What rules, exactly? Think authoritarian parenting taken to the extreme; no sleepovers, no grades less than A’s, and always taking first place in any class except for gym and drama. Tiger-raised kids must also be exceptional at playing the piano or violin. All these rules are to be imposed with no exceptions nor conditions.
Harsh rules, tough love, fierce loyalty to family, being emotionally unsupportive and suppressing emotions. These are the basics of tiger parenting. You can see where this can go; children will rebel as they get older. While they could become ambitious as they enter adulthood, children raised in this style may also become unhappy adults who feel alienated from their parents. Studies have shown that children raised this way don’t always become prodigies, and according to assistant professor of psychology at UC Berkeley Qing Zhou, “children raised by authoritarian parents are showing maladaptive outcomes, such as depression, anxiety, and poor social skills”.
Another parenting style you’d best avoid is helicopter parenting. This is a term and style coined in 1990 by Foster Cline and Jim Fay, authors of the parenting book, Parenting with Love and Logic. In a nutshell, helicopter parenting is about protecting children from failure or harm by providing excessive attention. This includes making decisions for them, hovering over them and keeping them from failing, speaking for them, and acting on their behalf instead of encouraging them to be independent.
Helicopter parenting is borne out of perfectionism and fear; parents actually live through their children and deprive them of painful but necessary opportunities to think and act independently. This style blocks a child’s personal growth and development. The consequences of this toxic parenting strategy are plain to see. Any child that has their decisions done for them by their parents develop a sense of resignation and will learn to be helpless.
Studies have also shown that children of helicopter parents have higher levels of depression, less drive, less satisfaction with life, more anxiety, and lower psychological well-being.
Also known as snowplough parenting, this style is a lot like helicopter parenting—only worse. While helicopter parenting means saving children from doing all the work, lawnmower parenting means mowing down all obstacles that get in the child’s way. A lawnmower parent will sometimes go to insane lengths to prevent their kids from facing struggle, adversity, or failure.
Some advocates of this parenting strategy may rationalize that it’s ‘only for the short-term,’ but by repeatedly mowing down any obstacles your children might face, this damages their self-esteem in the long-term.
By making it easy for your children, you’re essentially telling them they can’t be trusted to do things by themselves. Even worse, you prevent them from making their own decisions and rob them of valuable lessons like how to deal with disappointments, hardships, and failures that are part of life. Lawnmower parenting makes children grow into more anxious, more entitled, less resilient and less confident adults.
These toxic strategies are committed by well-meaning parents guilty of one crime: loving their kids too much. Although it’s true that there’s no perfect environment or parenting strategy, a good way to begin as an effective parent is knowing when to relax and leave your kids be.
What To Do Instead
An excellent tip to counteract these lousy parenting impulses is to teach yourself how to raise independent children.
Teach them how to chip in with the household chores when they’re old enough, then increase the tasks from there.
Give them more freedom and responsibility by letting them explore the outdoors more often, and see if their school can offer summer classes or more classes outdoors. These should be good for their mental and social development, and it ought to be safe, as many schools feature school shelter canopies.
Ironically, a better strategy to raise your children and mould them into well-adjusted adults is to get out of their way. Let them make mistakes and learn from those experiences.
Parenting is hard. Don’t make it harder with the extra effort required to be a tiger, helicopter, or lawnmower parent. Science is on your side, so take it easy, relax, and enjoy parenting your kids.