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Parenting styles....


Koala

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I was reading the hippie vs. fundie thread. Some of you are describing you/your parents as "strict" or "not strict" and I was wondering what that looked like for each of you. There's such a diverse group of people here, and we talk about parenting so often, that I was just kind of wondering how you would describe your particular parenting style.

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I feel like I don't really fit in a particular style. I do some of the crunchier type stuff like cloth diapering, extended breastfeeding and baby wearing although we use strollers too really depends on what works best for where we're going. However I also do CIO, punish with timeouts when he misbehaves (at 19 months it's mostly for hitting) and he has a mess of noisy plastic toys. We did co-sleep a little when he was a newborn but it wasn't something that my son likes to do. He likes having his space and sleeps better in his crib. We plan on sending him to public schools. So far he has barely ever watched TV but we do own one (we watch a ton after he goes to bed) and when he is older will allow him to watch some TV. I think my husband will be fairly strict since he's has higher expectations already for behavior and his parents raised him in a very strict household with lots of spankings. We will not spank our son although my MIL doesn't believe that it is possible to raise a child without hitting them. I'm not sure if this is what you're looking for or if I missed the idea.

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I didn't start out to be a strict, structured parent. I read up on Attachment Parenting. I was going to nurse until DS was 2, keep him close in a sling, make all his baby food and co-sleep. I wasn't going to have a lot of toys for DS, nor was he going to watch TV. I wasn't going to enforce a routine. HAHAHAHAHA!

Then I had DS. I ended up with PPD, which I chose to treat with meds and therapy. So I stopped nursing and bottle fed so I could take the meds. I had no energy to make his baby food, aside from mashing up a ripe banana. We tried to put him in a sling and he HATED it after the first month. He would wiggle and cry and try to get out. We tried different styles, but he just hated it. He was happier on my lap without being confined or on the floor looking around. We attempted co-sleeping and he wouldn't fall asleep with us in the bed with him. When we got in bed after he fell asleep, he would wake up and not go back to sleep. I tried to be unstructured and flowing in our daily life and he did not respond well. He thrives on a basic routine- knowing what to expect and when.

As he's gone from a baby to a kid, I've realized that he needs swift, appropriate consequences to his bad choices. I do not hit. I will, however, raise my voice if the occasion warrants to get his attention. I will take away beloved toys or books or activities (that's his currency). He also needs his time structured or he will get into trouble (like the time he hooked up the garden hose to both taps int he bathroom and turned them on) because he gets bored and does stupid stuff. A weakness of his is that he doesn't see the outcome of his choices- he didn't think where the water would go when he hooked up the hose to the taps, he just wanted to see what would happen. So now I keep him busy and tired. I don't schedule every minute but he does always have somewhere to go just about every day. Another weakness of his is that he is easily influenced and a people pleaser- he could easily be the kid that does something stupid because one of his friends wants to see him do it. So I monitor his friends and won't let him play at anyone's house until I've met their parents (and like them).

It's not that I set out to be strict, I've adapted my parenting to what DS needs to thrive.

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I didn't start out to be a strict, structured parent. I read up on Attachment Parenting. I was going to nurse until DS was 2, keep him close in a sling, make all his baby food and co-sleep. I wasn't going to have a lot of toys for DS, nor was he going to watch TV. I wasn't going to enforce a routine. HAHAHAHAHA!

Then I had DS. I ended up with PPD, which I chose to treat with meds and therapy. So I stopped nursing and bottle fed so I could take the meds. I had no energy to make his baby food, aside from mashing up a ripe banana. We tried to put him in a sling and he HATED it after the first month. He would wiggle and cry and try to get out. We tried different styles, but he just hated it. He was happier on my lap without being confined or on the floor looking around. We attempted co-sleeping and he wouldn't fall asleep with us in the bed with him. When we got in bed after he fell asleep, he would wake up and not go back to sleep. I tried to be unstructured and flowing in our daily life and he did not respond well. He thrives on a basic routine- knowing what to expect and when.

As he's gone from a baby to a kid, I've realized that he needs swift, appropriate consequences to his bad choices. I do not hit. I will, however, raise my voice if the occasion warrants to get his attention. I will take away beloved toys or books or activities (that's his currency). He also needs his time structured or he will get into trouble (like the time he hooked up the garden hose to both taps int he bathroom and turned them on) because he gets bored and does stupid stuff. A weakness of his is that he doesn't see the outcome of his choices- he didn't think where the water would go when he hooked up the hose to the taps, he just wanted to see what would happen. So now I keep him busy and tired. I don't schedule every minute but he does always have somewhere to go just about every day. Another weakness of his is that he is easily influenced and a people pleaser- he could easily be the kid that does something stupid because one of his friends wants to see him do it. So I monitor his friends and won't let him play at anyone's house until I've met their parents (and like them).

It's not that I set out to be strict, I've adapted my parenting to what DS needs to thrive.

I laughed when I read this. My partner was the same way. According to his mom, once when he was about 6 he decided that since it was winter outside and he wanted to go swimming he would make his own pool. Just so happened his sister had a bathroom in her room, so he thought there was a good place. He proceeded to hook up the hose to his sister's sink and fill her bedroom with water. Ruined a ton of stuff, made his sister cry, and his mom for the first time thought about spanking him. Turns out he explained his way out of that one with good logic, and that's when his dad decided to put him in the garage with simple, safe stuff to see if he could put it all together and take it apart. He later ventured, without his dad's knowledge, and took apart the mower, the dishwasher, the pool pump, and several other things. He is now an excellent engineer, and he thanks his parents for keeping him busy.

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I laughed when I read this. My partner was the same way. According to his mom, once when he was about 6 he decided that since it was winter outside and he wanted to go swimming he would make his own pool. Just so happened his sister had a bathroom in her room, so he thought there was a good place. He proceeded to hook up the hose to his sister's sink and fill her bedroom with water. Ruined a ton of stuff, made his sister cry, and his mom for the first time thought about spanking him. Turns out he explained his way out of that one with good logic, and that's when his dad decided to put him in the garage with simple, safe stuff to see if he could put it all together and take it apart. He later ventured, without his dad's knowledge, and took apart the mower, the dishwasher, the pool pump, and several other things. He is now an excellent engineer, and he thanks his parents for keeping him busy.

Yeah, that's what we're thinking. The first thing he does with any new toy is break it so he can put it back together. He's done that since, well, he could hold his own toys. Now we buy him toys that are meant to be broken and put back together (Lego, Playmobil, Snap Circuits, ect.). This past weekend he asked if he could trash some old remote control toys. We said sure, they were on their last legs. He trashed them and put them together in a different way. They even worked after a fashion- the red light came on and the wheels spun a few time before the parts finally gave up the ghost. I'm hoping he gets a scholarship.

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My dad was sooo strict. He has control issues. And I think he thinks people aren't as responsible as he is or something because he always treated my friends' parents like a young child with a knife. At 19 I was at a friend's house. It was late at night and we were watching a movie (this friend lived with his brother and sister-in-law at the time and they were watching with us so it's not like something "bad" could've happened anyway). He calls and says I need to come home and do my homework. I said it was all finished, I had finished it during one of the slower hours at work and said bye and hung up. He called back 4 more times (twice on their house phone after I turned my phone completely off). saying I wasn't being responsible (erm, I was working 35 hours a week and going to college with all As and one B... yeah... irresponsible) with my school work. Hmm... And people wonder why I was contemplating either escaping up to Portland or Seattle, or joining the Peace Corps.

Anyway, I am a lot more relaxed with my son. Of course I say that now when he's only 2, right? ;) But I do plan on letting him do that weird thing called being his own person instead of only allowing him to be what I want him to be.

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We were authoritative parents (as opposed to authoritarian or permissive/indulgent). For those unfamiliar with Baumrind's stuff, here is one description of authoritative parenting:

From Wikipedia

Authoritative parenting, also called 'assertive democratic or 'balanced' parenting, is characterized by a child-centered approach that holds high expectations of maturity. Authoritative parents can understand their children’s feelings and teach them how to regulate them. They often help them to find appropriate outlets to solve problems. Authoritative parenting encourages children to be independent but still places limits and controls on their actions. Extensive verbal give-and-take is allowed, and parents are warm and nurturant toward the child. Authoritative parents are not usually as controlling, allowing the child to explore more freely, thus having them make their own decisions based upon their own reasoning.

Authoritative parents set limits and demand maturity, but when punishing a child, the parent will explain his or her motive for their punishment. Their punishments are measured and consistent in discipline, not harsh or arbitrary. Parents will set clear standards for their children, monitor limits that they set, and also allow children to develop autonomy. They also expect mature, independent, and age-appropriate behavior of children. They are attentive to their children’s needs and concerns, and will typically forgive and teach instead of punishing if a child falls short. This is supposed to result in children having a higher self esteem and independence because of the democratic give-take nature of the authoritative parenting style. This is the most recommended style of parenting by child-rearing experts.

Definitions of the two ends of the spectrum can be found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parenting_styles

I did a lot of AP parenting when my children were little just as part of natural maternal instinct, not because I'm any fan of Dr. Sears (I'm not).

In my experience, parenting is a marathon, not a sprint, and the important thing is that the child feels respected, important, and cherished. We always had high expectations for behavior, but they were not arbitrary or capricious. The boys knew if we went to a restaurant and they misbehaved to the extent of potentially annoying other patrons, we would just leave (we'd pay first, of course). Since our kids liked restaurants, it only took one time of us following through on this admonition to never have it happen again. We also were not big on punishments, although we would occasionally take away privileges. We never "grounded" our children, and none have ever had a curfew (although I have no objection to either). We tended to talk things through and with expressed, sincere contrition, we gave forgiveness easily.

We've had our bumps along the way, to be sure. We have used a family therapist for a number of years now, which has been an important part of navigating adolescence for our family. We've had people say, "Well, if you need a therapist just to raise your kids, you must not be a very good parent". They don't use those words, but that's what they mean :lol: . I liken it to our family physician. When we have a health issue, we go to see her. We also do preventive care with her. When we have health questions, we contact her. I think mental and emotional health are just as important as physical health, so it's just part of our family life. It is not my position that everyone needs a family therapist (at all), but I'm just saying what worked for us. Neither my husband or I were raised in emotionally healthy families, and we were determined to break the cycle, and that's just the path that we took.

So far, our young adult children are pretty well-adjusted, pursuing their goals, respectful and well-liked, and making good decisions for the most part. Only time will tell, to be honest. The proof is always in the pudding, as they say. No matter what ever happens, I adore them all.

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I think I'm in the middle. We just go with what works for our family.

I breastfed and bottle fed formula in tandem, switching back and forth with ease, with all of my kids. The longest I lasted was 6 months, with my middle child. We co-slept while I was breastfeeding, and then it was into the crib for the baby-I can't sleep when there's a wiggly little person next to me, and I need my sleep. We used disposable diapers, only used a sling occasionally, and I worked full time from about the time each kid was 6 weeks old. My kids went to daycare- in-home until they were 3, and we had a Nanny for a year when my youngest was born. They go to public school now (except the youngest is in preschool/daycare still).

We belong to a produce co-op and try to buy locally produced meats, but still have Kraft Shells and Cheese on occasion.

My goal as a parent is to raise my kids to be independent thinkers and responsible for their actions. I've always expected them to not need me to entertain them during all of their waking hours. I expect them to figure out how to resolve conflicts on their own- I don't break up squabbles at the first sign of an argument. We have kid-free zones in our house that the kids just aren't allowed to go into without good reason- and this includes our bedroom. If the kids forget to turn in their homework, I don't make a special trip to the school to drop it off. We have strict bedtimes on the week days, and anything goes on the weekends. I expect them to play at least one organized sport until at least 8th grade- even if they hate it- because they need the physical activity. They will never be pageant girls. I put them outside in the backyard for a few hours every weekend unless the weather is way too hot or too cold, and expect them to play out there alone without killing each other, breaking a window or getting in my way. The kids are not allowed to watch TV at all on the week days except for 10 minutes in the morning when I get the weather and local news while I'm brushing their hair.

I don't believe in censorship of the written word. If a child has the ability to comprehend a book, they are free to read it, even if the content is questionable. I will censor some movies and TV- just because I don't think kids under 13 or 14 need to watch sex comedies like American Pie or Road Trip or flat out gore like Saw- because they have no redeeming values. But at after 13 or 14, the kids will be allowed to watch what they want.

I expect that my kids will be sexually active while they are teens, and while they are living under my roof (I don't like to think about this, but I have no delusions of reality). While birth control will be accessible, it won't be easy to have sex in my house- their partner of choice will not be spending the night, nor will they be spending the night with them (knowingly on my part, sneaking around behind your parents back is a rite of passage). However, once they turn 18 or go to college, the rules can be re-examined.

We are raising them without religion. If they choose to explore various religions, they will be encouraged to do so, but proselytizing to family members will not be allowed.

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With our first two we were Ezzo parents. Our babies were fed every 3 hours exactly and not a moment sooner. (Give them an inch and they'll take a mile.) They had to come immediately and shout "Yes, mother/father, I'm coming!" as soon as they heard us call. If they delayed for any reason we would spank them. If they had a bad attitude (anything but smiling and marching right away) when we told them to do something they would be spanked. If we had to tell them to do anything more than once then we would spank them. I'm talking about 2 and 3 year old kids here. They behaved beautifully and we always got compliments when we went out but they were mindless and had no natural curiosity and didn't act like other kids. They were robots that just followed drills. Looking back on it that time was not good but it was all we knew. We cloth diapered, breastfed, and kept away from evil medical interventions with home treatments which I'm decently skilled with.

With our next two we were more relaxed. I fed on demand and co-slept for convenience until they slept through the night. We still spanked but not as much because we were done with robot kids. We cloth diapered and kept things as natural as possible. We still gave them chores early like our older two mostly to keep them busy. An active 3 year old set loose with a damp cloth can make a floor shine! lol We allowed more medical treatment with them though still treated most things at home and would have lost one to an illness without medical intervention. (Delay through home treatment was not the cause.)

With the kids after that we have rarely spanked. Usually it's only as a reaction to dangerous situations. Better a quick pop on a diapered butt than 2nd degree burns from trying to touch the woodstove. The rest of the time we distract, redirect, or if they are old enough (3+) explain our reasons for not wanting them to do X. We don't use time outs but do send them to their rooms if they're overreacting for some quiet until they feel more calm. Usually they do that on their own without being sent. We use cloth diapers and the evil disposables depending on which is more convenient at the time. I bottle fed several of them for medical reasons and wouldn't hesitate to do it again for any reason. We co-slept until they were ready to move out and I wore them when they wanted to be held. Our goals are somewhat clean, happy, well cared for children no matter what means it takes to accomplish that. We let them be kids and that means getting dirty, exploring boundaries, and making mistakes. It's so important that they can do that in a safe environment as kids than to be let loose as adults without a grasp on what real world consequences for their actions are. If they aren't allowed to mess up they won't learn.

We have always put our kids to bed awake. "CIO" was a nightmare with the first two. They were hungry or their tummies hurt but we didn't want to spoil them by giving them comfort and so we let them scream. With the others it's rarely turned into a "CIO" session because when they're fed and comfortable they have no problems lying in bed until they fall asleep. We start doing that early so they are used to it and the only time we have problems with crying is when they are overtired and cranky and nothing we can do will make them stop crying anyway.

We homeschool all of them not because teh gubmint skoolz is ebil but because of our school aged kids 3 are gifted and 3 have some learning delays and we can give them each a more individualized approach than they would receive in a classroom.

I'm writing of the various methods we have used to tell the lurkers that all of our children have turned out the same. They all have very good work ethics for their ages. They all love each other. They all follow directions. They are all happy and healthy. We get more compliments on them now than we did at our strictest because they do adorable kid things while still being civilized in public. All of them love to help people. Yes my kids are the ones you see taking a baby out of church to entertain them or even change their diapers but it's because they ask to do it and want to help out not because they've been told to do it. I still have never child proofed my house even with the kids that I rarely spanked. Saying no and redirecting is just as effective as spanking and accomplishes more in trust and relationship building.

Edit: riffles

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I used to spank, more than a decade ago.

I have gradually evolved to be at the more extreme end of attachment parenting, with a few exceptions. My youngest hates the sling, so I carry him in my arms during the day and use a stroller on walks. That will sound reasonable to those of you who are not familiar with the AP community, but I have a friend who was in tears over the stroller issue.

I don't generally get between my children and their natural consequences. I won't let them run in the road or anything, but if they get detention for chewing gum they are on their own. I do expect good moral behavior, but I tend to ignore normal childhood junk like toddler tantrums, etc. If they will outgrow it and it does not hurt them or others, I frankly don't give a damn. I do remove them from public places if they are being obnoxious, but it only takes one time for them to get the idea so I have not had to do it routinely.

I rarely yell or impose consequences that do not follow directly from the behavior (like time out). We talk about things that I consider moral issues and I try to teach them to choose the right way. I consider teenaged experimentation with sex, alcohol and marijuana to be fairly typical within certain boundaries (not at school, be safe, etc). If I had a child who was defiant, doing drugs, etc I would take them to a therapist rather than punish them.

I demand awesome grades because my children can easily get them, and school is their day job. I expect that as they grow older, they will be involved in sports and hobbies, and also that they will volunteer or do something similarly helpful to society. I have never had to make one of my kids do any of those things, so I am not sure how I would react if they objected.

I guess my parenting philosophy can be summed up as: punishment is over-rated.

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I don't have a parenting style, I just have a vision of how I want my life and my child to be, and I am open to trying different things to try to realize that vision, within reason. However, I will say that reading this board for the past few years definitely turned me from a 'spanking is ok as a last resort, or when it is something really serious, like running in the street' person into a 'spanking is never necessary for any reason and we will never do it' person.

Beyond that, I am just at the beginning of being a parent, and I've already thrown away some of my biggest 'rules'. I was going to exclusive pump because I find breast feeding sort of icky, and I was never going to co-sleep because I am a very deep sleeper and worried about crushing my kid. Those both went out the window the first day. Ah well.

We're trying to encourage our baby to do things that will make our lives easier (for example, we try to put her down awake as much as possible, so she can learn to fall asleep on her own) while avoiding doing things that stress her out (if she's upset, she gets picked up, if she's hungry, she gets fed, if she's having a rough day, we cuddle and let her sleep on us). It works for now, and hopefully it will result in a toddler that feels secure about her needs being met, while having acquired self-soothing and other skills that let her be independent of us.

The important thing to me is to always strive to be fair to her and to us. To try to be balanced, and set appropriate boundaries and expectations, and be consistent, but not rigid. We can't give her everything always, it's not healthy for her or for us, but we also can't expect her to do things by our rules and schedule, or to be considerate or easy or rational. Not now, and not for years maybe. When she gets old enough to start to be aware of her parents as people with their own needs and desires, we can work on helping her learn how to respect us and others, and communicate her own needs and desires appropriately.

I have a theory that the more I behave toward her as if she were an adult, with her own agency, and worthy of respect rather than coddling or dictating, without necessarily expecting her to actually act like an adult, the better things will go. But it's just a theory.

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I have a theory that the more I behave toward her as if she were an adult, with her own agency, and worthy of respect rather than coddling or dictating, without necessarily expecting her to actually act like an adult, the better things will go. But it's just a theory.

That is my theory as well. A word of warning, you won't always like their choices as they get older. That is when it gets hard. My personal opinion is that most kids screw up anyway, but the ones who are treated without excessive judgment tend to turn to their parents first for advice and help. Even so, there are times when I wish I could live blissfully in the dark like other parents :lol:

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