Becoming the best parent possible is an ongoing journey with no single solution that is going to work for every family. Some couples may find themselves struggling with multiple parenting styles hoping to figure out the best for their child while others seem to have an easy time of keeping their kid on the right track. The most important step in this process is to take a close look at all of the personalities and influences in your child’s life to see exactly which approach is going to be the most effective.
Being a “helicopter” parent means something different to every single family just as being a laid-back parent will mean something slightly different to each individual. In order to decide which of these styles is the right choice, families must first agree on what exactly laid-back could mean. Both parents, the child, their siblings, and their teachers could have a different interpretation of what constitutes as hovering or being laid-back. Instead, it is better to think of these styles of parenting more as mindsets than the day-to-day choices that will come as the result of that approach.
Parents must first realize that the world is a different place than it was when they were growing up. Children are connected to their friends, culture, and the world around them on a level that would not have been fathomable a few decades ago, and this means hovering or even sheltering a child has become a completely different animal. Parents that are looking to take the involved approach need to realize that it will require some serious time, dedication, and research. When a child can set down a textbook, pull out their phone, and have immediate access to almost the entirety of all human knowledge, micromanaging can become a different game.
Most parents realize the cons of laid-back parenting and overly-involved parenting. Laid-back parents may be creating an environment in which their children feel no personal responsibility or drive while involved parents could be turning their children into rebels looking to undermine authority wherever they see it. Instead of focusing on the negatives it may be better to look at the pros of each style.
With involved parenting, both the parents and the child know exactly what is expected of them and when it is expected of them. This type of clarity can be beneficial in a world with so little transparency and a lack of responsibility for many. While it may be more work for the parents, children will often be excelling in everything they do as long as they are under their parents’ roof or their direct control. Laid-back parenting, on the other hand, is a system in which parents are allowing children to develop their own moral compass, work ethic, and interests with minimal outside influence in the hopes that their child will flourish in free and lax environment without the need for constant oversight.
In theory, a parent could cherrypick the pros and cons of either style and justify using it in their own family. Unfortunately, the world is a much more complex place than that and there is quite a bit more gray than there is black and white. As an alternative, parents should consider their approach with an open mind and a willingness to adapt. Whenever parents continue to tweak their approach and their responses based on their own abilities and the needs of their child, that is when their children have the best chance of excelling under any condition.
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