Parenting Styles and Your Child’s Development

a mother does homework with her kindergarten daughter

Have you ever wondered how your style of parenting will affect your child as he or she grows up? Or do you happen to have that one child who doesn’t respond to your parenting in the same way as the others? Decades ago, Love and Logic® parenting coined the terms Helicopter Parenting, Drill Seargent Parenting, and Consultant Parenting. These relevant descriptors are still used today in popular media and commentary on parenting. But don’t let the words fool you. Yes, the names are designed to highlight some of the characteristics and “extreme” nature of these parenting styles, but each of them has both potential weaknesses and strengths.

In our Love and Logic® group classes and private session work with clients, we explore the different parenting styles, what tends to drive the parent into their particular style, and the positive and negative impact of each style on children. The Love and Logic® program offers parents many techniques and guiding philosophies to help bring out the best in your parenting while minimizing the things that can negatively impact the relationship with your child and their long-term development. Love and Logic® helps parents raise effective problem solvers – confident children who take responsibility for themselves and understand the impact their choices and decisions have on themselves and others. We would love to have you join us for a group class, or come in for private parent education and coaching.

Which way do you lean?

Helicopter Parenting
• I think a lot about safety and what can happen if….
• I might “rescue” my child from the natural consequences of their action or inaction.
• Examples: I bring them things that they have forgotten; I speak for them in situations that I think are important to them; I support their “excuses” so they don’t get in trouble with other people.
• I might do things for them to “ensure their success,” such as checking over their work, finishing their work, improving their work, planning their work, etc.
• I offer lots of chances and “stay on them” to make sure things eventually get done.
• I “hover” over aspects of their lives; over-involvement in friendship, interests, problems just to make sure things go well.
• I give my opinion on matters, even when I am not asked.

Drill Seargent Parenting
• I think a lot about structure and efficiency – the right way to do things.
• I tend to organize all the structure for the family or for a particular child and expect/need it to be followed.
• I will tell others how to solve problems. I might even require that it be done this way.
• I micro-manage details of my child’s life or day. I get frustrated if they do not cooperate with how things are set up.
• I might not be loud, angry, and strong, although many times I am; I can also be a drill sergeant in subtle more sophisticated ways.
• I am a perfectionist and require things done a certain way because that way is easiest, fastest, most reliable, or gets the best results. I will lecture or get angry or frustrated if others do not understand this.
• I perceive that getting respect means that others understand and accept my direction.

Consultant Parenting
• I think about the child’s freedom to be who they are and have their own life.
• I accept the child’s description of the situation and elicit their ideas of what they might do
• I may offer suggestions or ideas without the expectation that one particular idea is the one they have to choose, but I share what I know
• I wish them luck/encourage
• I celebrate successes with the child but give them the credit for good decision making
• I am not sure how I am directly involved in the outcome of their personal situation at school, with friends, etc.
• I may sit to the side and let my child navigate their problem on their own
• I may be distracted with my own things and not realize the ways my child is underprepared to face new or complex situations.

If you identified with more than one style, that is very common! Come learn more about parenting most effectively within your own style.