How we parent has a big impact on our kids. Do you hover? Or do you let ’em run? Find out what your parenting style is, plus what it means for your family.
- Written by Genevieve Howland
- Updated on July 02, 2020
Walk onto any playground, and you’ll immediately notice several different parenting styles at work. On the jungle gym, there’s a mama hovering over her child to make sure he’s safe. Another mama watches on calmly from the benches as her barefooted child explores the mud puddles. A third mama races her child on the monkey bars.
We all have slightly different ways of parenting our children. And, interestingly, studies suggest this may have a real impact on our children—both in the short term and the long term.
Types of Parents
So what kind of parent are you? Even if you’re a natural mama, the way you parent can be very different.
- Are you a tiger mama? You are all about a little tough love. Tiger mamas firmly believe that their main goal is to ensure their child succeeds in this world. You believe that a parent should be just that—not a friend.
- A free-range parent? You have no problem letting your kids run a little wild. Who cares if they’re covered in the dirt if they’re happy. And walking to school or playing outside alone? That’s no problem with your book. Free-range parents main goal is to raise strong, independent children.
- Attached to the max? Attachment parents are all about that parent-child bond. That looks a little different for everyone, but it likely means you’re a fan of the family bed, extended breastfeeding, and basically anything that helps you build a tight-knit family—even if it means time for yourself is limited.
- Helicopter parent? Other people might see it as hovering, but you don’t view your style of parenting that way. Helicopter parents just want to do what’s best for their baby and keep them safe, and that generally means staying on top of everything—all the time.
So what type of parent are you? Do you have a hunch? Take our just-for-fun quiz to find out if you’re right!
Quiz: What Kind of Parent Are You?
1. It’s time to head to the park, and it’s looking a little crowded….Crowds won’t keep your baby from mastering those monkey bars!Yikes! Too many people to sit back. You follow your child throughout the playground to make sure they’re safe.The double swing is open, so you spend the morning swinging and singing songs with your little one.Drop the kids off and let them know you’ll be across the street at the juice bar—they’ll be fine.
2. On the preschool drop off line, you kiss your sweet one goodbye and say:“Work hard and learn new things today!”“Be careful and wash your hands before lunch, honey.”“I love you. Have a beautiful day. I’ll be thinking about you all day!”What drop off line? Your child got a quick kiss, then hopped on the bus.
3. You’ve scheduled a playdate at your home, and your friends are starting to arrive with children in tow:You’ve got the morning all planned, complete with obstacle courses followed by alphabet worksheets. No need to miss out on academics just because you’re not technically at school.You let the kids play but check in every 5-10 minutes to be sure there are no squabbles or boo boos.You spend the morning with your baby napping in the carrier while the kids play with sensory bins while sipping kombucha.The kids are out back while you catch up with your friend over coffee.
4. Your child asks you to read a book. You:Grab an early reader book. Time to practice sounding out words!Go with your child and help her pick out the right book. Besides, bookcases can tip!Settle into the couch with a blanket and a stack of books. Nothing cozier!Put on an audible book and let your child chillax…
5. In your house, bedtime is:Strictly 7 pm.Somewhere between 7 and 7:30. It depends how long it takes you to dress your child, brush the teeth, say the prayers, and give the foot massage.When your child starts to look spacey. You lay down with him until he falls asleep.Your child will tuck herself in after a quick hug and kiss. Easy-peasy!
6. Your child is taking dance class. You:Happy to have a little free time while child has some fun!Are so pumped for this Mommy and Me class.Are the one who selected the class. Juilliard here we come!Sit in the front row and watch each and every practice.
7. The kids are getting hungry. Your go-to snack is:Premeasured superfood smoothies with extra omega 3’s for brain performance.Anything that your child wants, but you fix it for them.A plate of fresh fruit and grass-fed cheese slices—to be shared together on the back patio.Anything they can grab for themselves.
8. Uh-oh! Your kids aren’t sharing. You:Decide to switch activities. It’s time to finish homework anyway.Jump right in and settle the dispute for your kids.Use this as a teachable moment, and talk to your child about the right words to use to resolve a conflict.Tell the kids to work it out themselves.
9. It’s nice outside, so you go for a walk. When your child gets a skinned knee, you:Clean up the wound and head to soccer practice.What skinned knee? You caught your child as he fell. Mama for the win!Use an herbal ointment on knee while you help child release trauma.Help brush off the dirt and then send them off to play.
10. How do you manage a newborn and a toddler at the same time?Do Baby Einstein curriculum with baby while the toddler is in bilingual pre-school.Have your mom over to help so each child has direct supervision.One word: babywearing.Your toddler plays freely with dog while baby explores the floor.
11. Date nights are:Spent discussing child’s development while planning extracurricular and enrichment activities.Planned in advance, but you usually call/text your sitter for updates once or twice… okay, three times.A family event since you don’t believe in babysitters.Spontaneous. You drop off kids at neighbor’s house and cruise.
12. Do you spend time outside as a family?We prefer the gym where we can measure our calories burned, distance travelled and keep track our cardio improvements.Only if the weather is good. After all, there is sunburn! And frostbite! And lightning!We forest bathe and camp regularly.Yep. But my kids are the ones who sleep in the tree house.
13. Do you have a family pet?No. We’re out of the house too often.We’re thinking about a small pet. Something that’s easy for a child to feed and care for.Yes, we have a dog and kitten. We even got a bigger couch so we can all fit.The kids collect all sorts of “pets” outside.
14. The radio is blasting. What song is on?ClassicalBaby Shark, obviously.Circle time songs, hand motions, and all. Whatever the kids want to listen to, depends on the day.
15. Summer is on the horizon, and you’re in vacation-planning mode. Where are you headed? A city with a rich architectural history and plenty of museums.Staycation. Traveling with kids is too risky! To the Wild & Free Homeschooling convention.Your mother’s farmhouse—plenty of space for the kids to run around!