We've all been at a store in the mall or a restaurant when a frustrated mother will grab her child, pull them in close, and whisper threatening words into the worried child's ear. The mother is trying to be discrete and forceful at the same time, but each time I see this whispered interaction, I get scared myself.
Parenting styles or methods have changed dramatically in the last few decades. We now have more information than ever before, but that also means we have more options too. The hardest part of parenting is that every person is different, and most importantly, every child is different.
Some of these techniques may seem odd or outdated, but many of them work for certain families. Here are eight parenting methods that you may be using:
1. The adult life
In this method, every child is treated like an adult. Baby-related objects like toys and strollers are too childish and only encourage acting like a baby. These parents don't do baby talk, but they aren't ice cold either. People who argue for this method say that children grow up smarter and more responsible.
2. The hard knock life
These parents are all about discipline, discipline, and discipline. They believe in spanking children in a loving way, setting strict curfews and having charts or rewards systems. This method promotes hard work, but it's not taught in a destructive way—life is still fun, but it's much more structured.
3. The attached-at-the-hip life
Children under this parenting style become clingy: attached-at-the-hip parents believe in sleeping together, breastfeeding for a very long time, and spending every moment together.
In this style, the child gets to announce when they no longer want to sleep together, breastfeed, or stay attached. Some attached parents who don't have many rules for their children lose some of their child's obedience.
4. The spice of life
This is the "wash your mouth out with a bar of soap" parenting style. Others, in more recent years, have used hot sauce to teach their little ones a lesson. Many frown upon this style, but some believe it's the best way to stop a tantrum, swear word, or fight.
5. The lean life
Being healthy and fit is the main focus for this style. Parents are health gurus and put their children on a no-carb, no-sugar diet. Children must exercise often or stay outside for a certain amount of time each day. Athletic families will often ride bikes together or cheer each other on from the sideline.
This method, also called "elimination communication," involves knowing your child's body and signals. Parents avoid using diapers and will place a child on the toilet even from infancy. Knowing the baby's body will help parents eliminate waste in the environment. But some parents don't have the time or desire to stand over a toilet with their crying baby.
7. The bird feeder life
Another food-related parenting style resembles a bird. Some parents will eat a normal meal and chew their food thoroughly. Then, the parent will spit that food into the child's mouth. If babies learn this from a young age, they'll be extra alert when mom or dad has food in their mouth. This method, in public, is probably not ideal.
8. The model life
These parents will do anything for a good photo. Many mommy bloggers or stylists have been accused of using their baby as a prop. Parents will spend hours dressing up their baby, posing them for photos, and trying to make it look as natural and perfect as can be.
I thought I wanted to be this kind of parent until I realized that it's impossible for me to have matching outfits for my children every single day.
Maybe you're proud of one of these parenting styles because it works for you, or maybe you cringe when reading all of them. You may know some people who use one of these controversial methods. Think about what style you and your spouse use, or what you should be doing to bring happiness to your home.
Jenna Koford is on the content team at FamilyShare. She graduated with a degree in Communications—Journalism and a minor in editing. Jenna enjoys painting and calligraphy, planning a wedding, and Pinterest and Netflix.