• Tue, Dec 31 - 9:00 am ET

Parenting Philosophies I’m Kicking To The Curb In 2014

parentChoosing a parenting philosophy may seem sanctimonious and unnecessary, but it often happens automatically. Many people feel more comfortable identifying with a certain group, like voting Republican or Democratic or becoming Christian or Pastafarian. (If you don’t know what Pastafarianism is, look it up because that shiz will have you lolling.)

So… Whether you like it or not, you might already have a parenting philosophy. And maybe said parenting philosophy isn’t really working for you anymore. The New Year is the perfect time to turn over a new leaf and kick outdated, restrictive parenting ideologies to the curb.

I love reading parenting books and blogs and learning new things, but here are a few parenting styles that I could do without:

1. Authoritarian Parenting

Yes, this is a real, military-style parenting philosophy, very similar to how I was raised. When I became a parent, I wasn’t sure how severely I would discipline my kids, but now that I’ve gotten to know them, I’m leaning more toward enforcing boundaries with respect and straying away from strict punishment.

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2. Helicopter Parenting

I never, ever wanted to be a helicopter mom, but the sheer terror of having a newborn baby on my hands made me a little obsessive. I vow to stop sweating the small stuff and to let my sons get hurt as much as they want to learn a few real-life lessons (within reason).

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3. Permissive Parenting

Like I said, I’m really not leaning toward the authoritarian side of the spectrum, but my husband and I have learned the hard way that my toddler really, really needs boundaries. I know all kids are different, but he seems to respond so well to structure. Case in point, whenever we get a little lax and let him do whatever he wants, massive tantrums ensue for a minimum of three days. Permissive parenting clearly doesn’t work for him.

4. Snowplow Parenting

Snowplow parents try to shield their kids from life’s hardships, and while the trend may sound utterly ridiculous, it’s hard to shake. I really want to let my sons make their own choices and experience uncomfortable situations and emotional pain under my care—even if it’s also uncomfortable for me. Wish me luck.

5. Special Snowflake Parenting

This is a parenting term that may not have been coined yet by psychologists, but it is a real thing if you’ve ever dabbled in Facebook or Pinterest. I am guilty of thinking that my kids are the best thing on earth and wanting to talk about every stupid thing they do, including the color of their poop. This year, I’ll try to remain cognizant of the fact that only my husband cares about them as much as I do, and grandparents come in second. For my single friends, I’ll try to do better to keep my trap shut.

(photo: Getty Images)

You can reach this post's author, Bethany Ramos, on twitter.
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  • Alexandra

    LOL to the special snowflake. I love my friends, but I REALLY don’t want to hear SH*T about their kids. Kids alive? GREAT! Otherwise, please don’t need details. I am going to have to be super-aware of this, about to have my first (two) in March/April and I don’t want to annoy ppl that way. Fortunately gramma will be living with us so the two of us can talk about what special unique amazing miraculous fabulous children they will undoubtedly be HAHAHA!
    Good luck in the new year :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      Thank you – and good luck on your new babies too!! I try to cut down on the overshare, but I recently caught myself telling a stupid story about my toddler to a stranger at a party while drunk. FAIL!

    • rrlo

      Wait a minute! When my non-parent friends get a dog (or worse a cat) – I listen to their cute stories. Or when someone is looking at real-estate – I have to hear about minute detail of their latest purchase. And I can’t even count the number of evenings and bottles of wines that were spent listening to relationship troubles (that keeps recurring…over and over and over again).

      So if my “precious snowflake” does something adorable – my friends and family (and occasional stranger) better listen and not complain – dagnabbit!

    • Bethany Ramos

      Haha I totally agree with that sentiment!!

    • Allyson_et_al

      agree, as long as the “something adorable” does not involve any bodily excretion. Deal?

    • rrlo

      Agreed. That’s just not right… Gross!

  • Zettai

    I have a Special Snowflake relative that posts a lot of youtube videos of her very young kids doing really “awesome!” things. The most normal, boring, “awesome!’ things ever. She also will send videos to us and others going, “Look, ___ said your name!” And the video is 5 minutes of her coaxing the child to say what sounds like, “Kwakdaaaoo.” Or “Bwhhhn.” Or whatever KIDS WHO HAVEN’T DEVELOPED LANGUAGE SKILLS say.

    It’s more sad than irritating though. Is Special Snowflake parenting going to make it on the DSM list one day? Only time will tell.

  • Nica

    I think the take-away here is that you need to use the parenting style that works best for you and your children. I can say, without reservation, my parents were excellent parents and I thank the Lord every day for how they raised me. That said, now that I have children of my own, I’m doing parenting my own way. Taking lots of the good stuff from my own parents and adapting it to the wonderful and unique children I have but also forging ahead in my own ways.
    Parenting is something you most definitely learn only by doing and I’m learning each and every day!

  • Alicia Kiner

    The good side of special snowflake parenting: Every child is different and needs different things. The downside: parents who think their child is better than others and above the rules. I think as long as we “parent” our children, teach them how to be productive, un-ass hole-ish members of society, we done good. Who needs labels?

    • Ddaisy

      Great minds think alike! I was just about to say that I have no kids, but from what I’ve learned from Mommyish, my entire “philosophy” would be, “Teach them to be good people and not assholes, and the rest will follow.”

  • Kay_Sue

    I subscribe to the Louis C.K. version of parenting. Everything I know about parenting, I’ve learned from watching his gigs and interviews…

    ;)

    • Bethany Ramos

      I LOVE HIM!

  • Shannon

    I have a FB friend that posts just about everything her kids do everyday and documents it in multiple pictures. Christ man, I’m a sahm and I am totally cognizant of the fact that that can get pretty ridiculous to others. I cannot understand how people can’t see that they’re being irritating when they do that.

    I’m going to have to block her, which kinda sucks cause she’s so sweet. I’ve never been so sick of someone’s kids before.

    • ElleJai

      You can stop her appearing in your news feed. Gets rid of the overshare while keeping the friend :)

  • AS

    I spent an excruciating Christmas with a ‘not quite family member’ who has been dubbed by her and her significant other “the best parent” in the world. (Obviously, I am not close as I learned through the constant parenting of my child they chose to do without my consent). While I know this person is a great mom (as most of us are), I almost laughed out loud with both people used the fact that she had read a lot of books as the back up for this oh-so-scientific observation. Unfortunately I was out of the room when my husband was asked what parenting philosophy we used, because I would have loved to answer that question! To me, the ONLY parenting philosophy that will ever work is common sense. Do what works for your kid and each of your kids may be different and every day will be different with each kid. Who has the energy for maintaining a particular style!! I’m flying by the seat of my pants and doing a good enough job in my book! :)

    • Bethany Ramos

      I love your attitude. :) And “best parent in the world” – oh, man.

  • TheGiantPeach

    My parenting philosophy is “try not to fuck the kid up if at all possible.” I’m happy to report that so far, so good. I’ll update this comment in about 20 years.

    • Bunny Lucia

      Isn’t that the worst though? Like, your kid becomes a heroin addict because you forgot to tell her she was pretty once when she was a toddler. Hahaha

  • aCongaLine

    I’m a fan of the “My kid is alive and has been fed, and is mostly clean” parenting. It’s a side effect of PPD i think. My toddler and my infant seem okay so far, though. And I my husband still likes me. So far so good!